Our Story

Engineering Excellence in Service to Society

The Pratt School of Engineering ranks among the top 10% of its peers thanks to a community of scholars that defines engineering excellence in education, research and societal impact.

Duke Chapel and Abele Quad at Duke University

A Leader in Engineering Education

The rigorous engineering education we provide to students at all stages of their lives is the center of who we are as an institution.

A Duke Engineering education leads to lives of purpose and integrity that are as rewarding as they are impactful.

The work begins in the very first semester. Our First-Year Design program is a transformative experience for students, instilling reserves of grit and resilience while inspiring students to continue their engineering journey.

Duke first-year students work on team projects together with oversight and guidance from faculty during a new Engineering Design Pod class. The program is part of a new initiative designed to give all engineering students project- and problem-based experiences right from the start. One of the projects involves developing a prosthetic arm for nursing students learning to put in IV lines.
An audiologist adjusts a patient's cochlear implant.

A Legacy of Impact

From a classical engineering course first offered in 1851 to our position in the 21st century as a leading research enterprise, Duke Engineering’s rise has paralleled Duke’s.

Our legacy includes discoveries with significant impact. Patients all over the world have benefited from our expertise in medical imaging. Real-time 3D ultrasonic scanning was invented at Duke.

It was a Duke faculty member (also an alumnus) who invented the signal processing strategies that underpin the cochlear implant (pictured)—a technology that bestows hearing to individuals with profound deafness.

And, it wasn’t Hogwarts wizards, but a Duke researchers who produced history’s first invisibility cloak—a metamaterial that renders an object undetectable at microwave frequencies.

Our research expenditures, second only at Duke to our colleagues in the medical center, are nearing $100 million per year.

Service to Society

We exist to serve. An engineer’s purpose is to imagine solutions that make peoples’ lives better—and then to lead teams to design and build those solutions.

Our faculty, staff and students are inventing that better future by making fundamental discoveries, identifying human needs and designing effective solutions that are equitable and sustainable.

These innovations often lead to patents and, for our growing community of entrepreneurs, new ventures—at a pace of about five per year.

two students in hard hats sit on a partially constructed cable bridge in Esawatini
Photo of Jungsang Kim (right) and Chris Monroe (left), wearing protective sunglasses and looking at a computer screen.
Photo of Jungsang Kim (right) and Chris Monroe (left), wearing protective sunglasses and looking at a computer screen.

Time to Take a Shot

A professional school only since 1939, Duke Engineering is young, scrappy and hungry. We aren’t afraid to place big bets on emerging ideas with the potential to make life better.

Just one example: We’ve recruited physicists, theorists and engineers to form the Duke Quantum Center. Its focused on developing quantum computers with the potential to revolutionize entire sectors of the economy. To date, this team has already received more than $170 million in funding and performed $100 million in contract work for public-sector clients.

Another: Drawing partners from across North Carolina, we recently secured up to $52 million in funding from the National Science Foundation to understand and engineer the microbiomes in our homes, workspaces and other built environments to improve human health.

With such audacious ambitions, it should come as no surprise that our faculty includes nearly a dozen members of the prestigious National Academy of Engineering. Plus, more than 20 Duke graduates have earned that honor.

And we’re just getting started.

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