Duke University

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#22, overall score 70.17/100

Fun Fact:

In order to snag tickets to important sports games, students pitch tents on the grass near Cameron Indoor Arena the night before. The university has installed Wi-Fi service and Ethernet ports in light poles so students don’t fall behind on schoolwork while camping out.

Why should Jewish students attend Duke? Duke University offers something truly special, far beyond the “typical” college experience — superior academics, yes, but also boundless opportunities, lifelong connections and a diverse and inclusive community. Duke is a place where Jewish students can thrive academically, socially, and culturally while enjoying a meaningful Jewish experience. It’s no secret that Duke students are exemplary — they possess remarkable talents and have extraordinary impact, while continuously striving to do more, learn more, and be more. To that end, Jewish Life at Duke delivers an ever-expanding variety of enriching programming; knowing that today’s Jewish students will be tomorrow’s leaders, we offer a wide range of opportunities for students to learn, to be inspired, and to flourish. — Lena Wegner, assistant director for external relations, Jewish Life at Duke


  • Location: Durham, N.C.
  • Region: South
  • Campus type: Small city
  • Public/Private: Private
  • Undergraduate enrollment: 6,609
  • Jewish undergraduate enrollment: 730
  • Jewish population share: 11%
  • Student origin: 15% in-state / 85% out-of-state
  • Student newspaper: The Chronicle
  • NCAA Division: I
  • NCAA team: Blue Devils
  • Ultimate Frisbee teams: Brimstone / Swerve

COST & AID Score: 7.5/15

  • Score: 7.5/15
  • Tuition: $53,744
  • Room & board costs: $15,500
  • Average annual scholarship/grant package: $7,400
  • Average loan debt: $22,256
  • Starting median salary: $65,300
  • Scholarship for Jewish students: No

ACADEMICS Score: 20/20

  • Score: 20/20
  • Acceptance rate: 10%
  • Student/faculty ratio: 6:1
  • Median SAT range: 1390-1580
  • Jewish Studies program: Yes
  • Jewish Studies major: Minor
  • Hebrew major: Yes

ISRAEL Score: 16/20

  • Score: 16/20
  • Size of Birthright trip: 106
  • School-approved study abroad program in Israel: Yes
  • Israel Studies center: No
  • Israel-related clubs: DIPAC, Duke Friends of Israel, TAMID, J Street U
  • Jewish Agency for Israel fellow: Yes
  • BDS vote in last four years: Never introduced

SAFETY Score: 5.67/11

  • Score: 5.67/11
  • Anti-Semitic incidents in 2017: 1
  • Campus crime rate: 5.85/1,000 students (medium high)
  • City crime rate: 5.85/1,000 people (low)
  • LGBT center: Yes

JEWISH LIFE Score: 21/34

  • Score: 21/34
  • Hillel: Jewish Life at Duke
  • Chabad: Chabad of Durham/Chapel Hill
  • OU-JLIC: No
  • Jewish fraternities: AEPi
  • Jewish sororities: None
  • Can you get kosher food on the school meal plan? Yes
  • Chicken soup hotline: Yes
  • Active Hillel clubs: 8
  • Hillel Friday night services: 2
  • Average Shabbat attendance – Hillel: 55
  • Synagogues within 10 miles: 3 (1 Orthodox, 1 Conservative, 1 Reform)
  • Eruv: No
  • Most famous Jewish alum: Mike Posner
  • Most unique/noteworthy club: The Coalition for Preserving Memory welcomes all Duke students to memorialize Holocaust and genocide victims from the 20th and 21st centuries in a way that is relevant and meaningful to future generations.
  • Where do Jewish students come from? All over the United States and the world.
  • Kosher food details: Kosher food is included at no extra cost on the Duke meal plan. Hot, all-you-can-eat dinners are served Monday through Thursday at the Freeman Center for Jewish Life and students can always find kosher grab-n-go options on campus. Friday night Shabbat meals are served at the Freeman Center free of charge.

Do you attend this school? Do you want to tell us more about what life there is like? Take our survey here, and your feedback could be featured in next year’s guide! And if you’re a student or campus professional, join our online community Jewish Campus Confidential, and apply to become a Forward Campus Ambassador.

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