Your First Year

This is Going to be Great

The first year as a Duke engineering student isn’t just a course schedule, it’s a carefully curated experience.

A Signature Experience

We’ve designed a set of courses that immerse you in real-world, hands-on design and programming. Not only will you get to impact the community from your first day, the challenge will build skills critical to all engineers—critical thinking, efficient communication, grit and resilience.

And you won’t have to do it alone. Our approach to advising provides a set of mentors including faculty to upperclassmen to help steer you through any bumps in the road.

The Design Pod

The Design Pod is a 5,000-square-foot maker space specially built for Duke’s First-Year Design Experience. FYD teams also meet in The Foundry, another awesomely equipped design lab at Duke.

Course Schedule

When you begin building, you start with the foundation. That makes sense, right? Your courses in the first year set up a sturdy base of fundamental knowledge and skills you’ll use throughout your time at Duke—and the rest of your life.

Fall SemesterSpring Semester
The First-Year Design ExperiencePhysics
ChemistryIntroductory technical course or Biology
Digital computationAcademic writing
Note Well:
  • The table above assumes no Advanced Placement (AP) or International Placement (IPC) credits in math, chemistry or computer science. Talk to your academic dean for guidance
  • You may be assigned an academic writing course in the fall. If that happens, you’ll take digital computation in the spring

Suggested First Engineering Courses

Prospective Major Introductory Technical Course
UndecidedBiology 201L, or any of the below
Biomedical EngineeringBiology 201L
Civil EngineeringCEE 132L
Electrical & Computer EngineeringECE 110L
Environmental EngineeringCEE 132L
Mechanical EngineeringEGR 121L

Your Academic Dean

Working with your advising team, you and your academic dean will craft your roadmap—an academic plan. You’ll consult with the same dean throughout your time at Duke, creating a strong professional relationship.

More First-Year Resources