Hudson Hall at Duke University Pratt School of Engineering

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Admitted Master's Students

Congratulations on your admission to Duke Master’s Programs in Engineering!

We are excited for you to join our Duke Engineering master's student community and look forward to assisting you with enrollment.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) - International Admitted Pratt Master's Students

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

 

1.       I’m a newly admitted international graduate student, and I’m concerned that I won’t be able to get a visa to travel to Duke in time for Fall 2020. What options do I have?

There are currently three possible options, although not all options are available for all graduate programs at Duke.  Your program’s Director will let you know which option(s) are available to you.

(a)    If available for your degree program, take the necessary Duke coursework remotely for the Fall semester, with a plan to come to Duke for the Spring semester. Note that you cannot begin a course remotely and then physically transfer to Duke in the same semester. You will need to wait and transition at the start of the next semester. In the Pratt School of Engineering, this option is available for Biomedical Engineering (BME), Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE), Financial Technology (FinTech), Master of Engineering Management (MEMP), and Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science (MEMS MS, MEng ME, and MEng MSE).

 

(b)    For a few programs, we are working to enable face-to-face teaching at Duke Kunshan University (DKU) in China. DKU is also a Duke off-campus instructional site. For these programs, this option would allow Chinese students, and possibly some other international students who are able to secure visas to study in China, to begin classes (in Kunshan) and join the Duke program (in Durham) at the start of the spring semester. If you are a student in a program where this option is available, you will be contacted separately. If you are not contacted, the option is not available. In the Pratt School of Engineering, this option is available for Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE).

 

(c)     Request a deferral and begin your Duke studies in either Spring 2021, Summer 2021, or Fall 2021. Programs may differ as to whether they are in a position to grant a deferral, and if so, whether a semester or a full year deferral makes more sense.

 

2.       I’m a continuing international graduate student, and I’m concerned about continuing my studies in the form of face-to-face or online courses at Duke. Are there any updates here?

 

We do not yet know when Duke will reopen its Durham campus or what form that re-opening will take. Before the pandemic, federal regulations stated that an international student could enroll for only one (1) online course per semester. COVID-19 instructions changed this regulation to allow international students in the U.S. to continue their studies online through Spring 2020. These changes were identified as temporary. At this time, we do not know if there will an extension of the change in policy allowing online courses. We will provide updates as we have them.

 

3.       I’m an admitted international master’s degree student without a U.S. visa. I have a teaching assistantship (TA) or a research assistantship (RA) as part of my package. Can I start the program remotely? And can I work remotely as a TA or RA and receive funding?

 

Please see answer to question #1 regarding remote classes.

It is not legally permissible for Duke to pay international students who do not have a valid U.S. visa. You will not receive any payments until you have a valid visa, arrive at Duke, and complete the necessary paperwork. No monies will accrue over the time you are outside of the U.S.

 

4.       I’m an international student and am wondering about the Immigration paperwork necessary if I begin (or continue, if I am a current student) my coursework online.

 

(a)    New students: The start date on your I-20 must reflect the start date of the first semester after your arrival in the U.S. If we have already issued an I-20 for Fall 2020 with a Fall 2020 start date, but you cannot arrive into the U.S. until Spring 2021, then we must change the start date and issue a new I-20 with the Spring 2021 start date. If we did not yet issue the I-20 for Fall 2020 and you start in Spring 2021, we will issue the I-20 with the Spring 2021 start date.

(b)    Continuing students: If you have a current I-20, we are not required to issue a new I-20 if you requested a travel signature before departure. If you did not request a travel signature, we will send a letter that can be used with the I-20 so that you can enter the U.S.

 

5.       Is the tuition less for students who will take classes remotely than for students who will take the classes on the Duke campus?

 

No, tuition charges are the same.

 

6.       I’m interested in the possibility of starting my master’s degree at DKU and going to Duke when my visa is approved. Can you tell me more about this possibility?

 

We will not be able to accommodate all master’s degree programs that would like to start classes at DKU in Fall 2020. We are working now on which master’s programs can be accommodated at DKU. We will notify admitted students about these programs as soon as possible. If you are not notified, this means that we are not able to accommodate this program at DKU. In the Pratt School of Engineering, this option is available for Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE).

 

If we are able to accommodate your program at DKU, we anticipate offering face-to-face instruction as well as housing. Tuition charges will remain the same, but housing and board costs will differ. As a result, your total cost of attendance will change, and we will apprise you of the revised amount.

 

7.       I’m an international student who will graduate in May. What if I have trouble getting back to my home country? Is it ok if I stay past the allowed grace period? 

Duke cannot approve an overstay of your visa because of COVID-19. We know that SEVP is discussing this issue.

Please see response to #11 below about grace periods.

 

8.       I’m an incoming international student in a Duke two-year master’s program. I am thinking of starting the program online. I hope to be able to get to Durham in Spring 2021 for face-to-face instruction. I very much want to do CPT or OPT in summer 2021. Will this be possible?

 

Practical training (CPT or OPT) is typically only authorized for F-1 students who have been enrolled in a U.S. institution on a full time basis for one full academic year.

 

(a)    Curricular Practical Training (CPT): Current information per U.S. visa services indicates that you would not qualify for CPT unless you have completed two full semesters on campus as an F-1 student. For CPT, exceptions to the one academic year requirement as an F-1 student are only provided if you are enrolled in graduate studies that require immediate participation in curricular practical training.

(b)    Optional Practical Training (OPT): Current information per U.S. visa services indicates that you would not qualify for OPT unless you have completed two full semesters on campus as an F-1 student.

 

9.       When are international students eligible to return to Durham, or to come to Durham for the first time?

 

This answer depends on at least three factors: (1) what is the status of the Durham campus, (2) what is the visa status of the student, and (3) where is the student.

(a)    Duke University has not made a decision as to when the Durham campus will reopen for face-to-face classes. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (USDHS) has also not made any announcement on this issue. DHS may allow individual schools to make this determination.

(b)    If you are a new international student who will need a visa to enter the U.S., the consulates are closed and have not posted the date they will reopen. Keep in mind there will be a backlog of visa requests when the consulates reopen.

(c)     If you are an international student who is transferring from another school or university in the U.S., and you did not leave the U.S., the current school can transfer the SEVIS files to Duke and you can start classes in Durham when Duke University reopens.

(d)    If you are a continuing international student and you did not leave the U.S., you can start classes when Duke University reopens.

(e)    If you are a continuing international student, and you left the U.S., and your visa is valid for reentry, and you are not subject to the COVID-19 quarantine country policy per the President’s proclamation, you should be able to re-enter the U.S. and start classes when Duke University reopens.

(f)      If you are a continuing international student, and you left the U.S., and you need a new visa to reenter, you will likely face the same problems that a new student with no visa will have. In addition, if you are subject to the COVID-19 quarantine, there will be an additional delay.

 

10.   Are there international students currently residing in the U.S. who will need their visas renewed in order to stay?

(a)    A valid visa is not required to remain in the U.S., so no one should leave the U.S. just to get a visa renewed. A valid I-20 or DS-2019 is required to stay in the U.S. and is valid based on enrollment in a degree program.

(b)    F-1 students graduating in May have a 60-day grace period to remain in the U.S. after graduation. These students can also apply for work authorization which will allow them to stay for an additional 90 days to seek employment and 12 months if they find employment before the 90 days end.

(c)     Some students may have received admission from other U.S. schools (for example, to enter graduate school) and can request that their SEVIS file be transferred to the new school so they can stay in the U.S. during the summer.

(d)    J-1 students have a 30-day grace period after graduation and can apply for Academic training before graduation (if they can find employment). The transfer option to a new academic program is also available.

Fall 2020 Orientation for Campus Students

All students starting in Fall 2020* will participate in a mandatory orientation in August.

Importantly, students should aim to be in Durham, North Carolina, at least a few days before orientation. Please keep this timeline in mind as you start to plan your journey to Duke. Arriving a few days early will give you time to adjust and get settled in Durham before orientation begins.

When to Arrive – International Students

All international students should arrive in Durham by August 10.

Please keep this timeline in mind as you start to plan your journey to Duke, so that you have time to adjust to the United States and get settled in Durham before Orientation begins. You may arrive in the United States up to 30 days before the first day of classes (July 25). Classes start Monday, August 24.

When to Arrive – Domestic Students

Domestic students should arrive in Durham by August 14 for Pratt Master's Student Orientation.

Fall 2020 classes start Monday, August 24.

* Note: Students starting programs in Summer 2020 are encouraged to contact their department for detailed arrival information. Online students should follow their program's residency requirements. Back to top

 Explore What Duke Offers


Learn More About Duke

Degree-specific information especially for admitted students

See your program's Admitted Student site for information on next steps.


Join a live Q&A Session

Register for our live interactive events

In our Interactive 'Q & A' Sessions, we:

  • Have a live, interactive discussion with you
  • Provide instant answers
  • Provide links to further information

Find sessions for your department and all admitted students below, or see all virtual admitted events.

Departmental Sessions

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Biomedical Engineering

Q&A Live Online Chat for admitted Biomedical Engineering master's students
  • Recorded Wednesday, February 26, 2020
  • 10:30 AM until 11:30 AM Eastern Standard Time UTC -05:00

Watch

Civil & Environmental Engineering (CEE)

Q&A Live Online Chat for admitted Civil and Environmental master's students, including Computational Mechanics and Risk Engineering
  • Recorded Friday, March 20, 2020
  • 9:00 AM until 10:00 AM Eastern Daylight Time UTC -04:00

Watch

Financial Technology (FinTech)

Q&A Live Online Chat for admitted FinTech master's students
  • Recorded Tuesday, March 17, 2020
  • 10:30 AM until 11:30 AM Eastern Standard Time UTC -04:00

Watch

Electrical & Computer Engineering (ECE)

Q&A Live Online Chat for admitted Electrical & Computer Engineering master's students
  • Recorded Wednesday, March 18, 2020
  • 9:00 AM until 10:00 AM Eastern Standard Time UTC -04:00

Watch

Mechanical Engineering & Materials Science (MEMS)

Q&A Live Online Chats for admitted Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science master's students
  • Recorded Friday, March 20, 2020
  • 10:30 AM until 11:30 AM Eastern Daylight Time UTC -04:00

Watch

Live Chat with current Duke MEMS students

  • Took place on Thursday, April 9
  • 1:00pm until 2:00pm Eastern Daylight Time UTC -04:00
  • was not recorded

 

Master of Engineering Management-Campus

Q&A Live Online Chat for admitted Engineering Management master's students
  • Recorded Tuesday, March 17, 2020
  • 9:00 AM until 10:30 AM Eastern Standard Time UTC -04:00

Watch

MEMP Student Services Presentation/Q&A

  • Recorded Friday, April 3, 2020
  • 9:00 AM until 10:00 AM Eastern Daylight Time UTC -04:00

Watch

MEMP Professional Development Presentation/Q&A

  • Recorded Friday, April 3, 2020
  • 10:30 AM until 11:30 AM Eastern Daylight Time UTC -04:00

Watch

 

 

Master of Engineering Management-Online

One-on-One Virtual Meetings with Dr. Murray for students admitted to Duke's MEM Online program
  • Ongoing
  • Times vary

REGISTER

Photonics & Optical Sciences

Q&A Live Online Chat for admitted Photonics & Optical Sciences master's students
  • Recorded Wednesday, March 25, 2020
  • 9:00 AM until 9:30 AM Eastern Daylight Time UTC -04:00

Watch

Sessions for All Admitted Students

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Engineering Admitted Students Open Office Hours

  • Friday, April 10, 2020
  • 9:00 AM until 10:30 AM Eastern Daylight Time
  • Was not recorded

 

  • Monday, April 13, 2020
  • 9:00 AM until 10:30 AM Eastern Daylight Time
  • Was not recorded

Career Services for Master's Students

Comprehensive career resources, including pre-arrival engagement, professional development, and special events, plus student outcomes

Q&A Live Chat for all admitted students

  • Recorded Thursday, March 19, 2020
  • 9:00 AM until 10:00 AM Eastern Daylight Time UTC -04:00

Watch

Graduate Communications and Intercultural Programs

The GCIP team isn't just here to assess students' skills. They're here to support you as you become the total package: an engineer who can communicate effectively.

Q&A Live Chat for all admitted students

  • Recorded Friday, April 10, 2020
  • 10:30 AM until 11:30 AM Eastern Daylight Time UTC -04:00

Watch

A Vibrant Community: Life in Durham

Explore Durham, North Carolina, rated as one of the best places to live in the United States. We'll address questions on Food, Fun, Sports, Outdoors, Housing, Safety, and Transportation.

Q&A Live Chat for all admitted students

  • Recorded Thursday, March 19, 2020
  • 10:30 AM until 11:30 AM Eastern Daylight Time UTC -04:00

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Steps to Securing a U.S. Student Visa

A step-by-step review of the process of obtaining a U.S. student visa. For all admitted students who will need a visa to study at Duke

Q&A Live Chat 

  • Recorded Thursday, April 2, 2020
  • 9:00 AM until 10:00 AM Eastern Daylight Time UTC -04:00

Watch


Admitted Students Day


Community Update

Admitted Students Day has transtioned to several online events—Admitted students will receive an updated invitation


March 16 - April 15, 2020

During our online Admitted Students Events, you will:

  • Engage with faculty, staff, and students
  • Learn about our professional development, career, and student services

Questions: Send an email to pratt_masters@duke.edu


Take a Virtual Campus Tour

We encourage you to explore our website and social media channels to learn more about Duke Engineering—and visit Duke’s YouVisit page to take a virtual tour.

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