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Degree Requirements, Engineering

Degree Requirements

The BSE degree is awarded to students each May, September and December. Students who graduate in September or December receive their diplomas by mail, but they are welcome to take part in commencement exercises the following May. In the fall, the Dean's Office asks each senior to complete the "Apply for Graduation" function in Duke Hub during fall registration. It is the student's responsibility to complete the "Apply for Graduation" when the email information is released with explicit instructions on how to do so in order to be included on the graduation list. A copy of each student's final grade report is sent for review to the Director of Undergraduate Studies of the major department immediately before final graduation lists are prepared. Certification for graduation is made by the Assistant Deans and the Director of Undergraduate Studies of the department of the student's first major. In order to graduate a student must have passed 34 semester courses (within a period of 10 academic semesters of enrollment), and must have obtained grades of P, C-, or better in 32 semester courses. In addition, all the curriculum requirements of the Engineering School and the major department, as set forth in the University Bulletin, must be met.

General Requirements

Writing (1)
This requirement is met by completing a University Writing Course.

Mathematics (5)

In Fall 2021, the required engineering math sequence formally changed to the following:  Math 111L, 112L or 122L, 218D-2, 219, and 353.  Students approved to skip one of those math courses (for example, if you had the equivalent of Math 219 in high school, but were not able to transfer the credit to Duke as college credit, and were also assessed and approved by the Math dept) then you will be required to take an additional upper level math course. Any approved Math, Statistics, or Data Analysis course may be used in place of a skipped math course.  Consult each departmental handbook for a list of acceptable math classes, as they may differ by major.  This math sequence was changed for students to take Matrices & Vectors (Linear Algebra), 218D-2, prior to Multivariable Calculus (Math 219).  

An alternative set of Math courses for engineering students who are double majoring in math (or who started down that path): Math 111L, 112L, 221, 222, and 356 (or 353 may be taken instead of 356). 

FOR STUDENTS MATRICULATING IN FALL 2021:  The new math sequence is Math 111L, Math 112L or 122L, 218D-2, 219, and 353. 

Natural Science (4)
This requirement is met by completing Chemistry 101DL, Physics 151L and 152L, and an elective course in one of the natural science departments which presents fundamental knowledge about nature and its phenomena, preferably including quantitative expression.


To satisify the Physics Requirement, students must take PHYSICS 151L & 152L, and at least one physics course must be taken post-matriculation.  

If you have AP credit for PHY 25 and 26, you should take PHY 153L.  If you are not comfortable taking PHY 153L, you have the option of taking PHY 152L, PHY 163, 264, 320, 361, 362, or 567 as your Physics course post-matriculation. 

You do not have the option of taking PHY 151 and then using AP for PHY 26--unless the only Physics AP credit you have is for PHY 26. 

NOTE:  If a student enrolls in a course that uses PHY AP as a prereq, the student therefore is unable to take the AP equivalent course as his/her one Physics post-matriculation.  For example, if a student enrolls in a course that uses PHY 26 AP as a prereq, the student can no longer take PHY 152 as their one physics post-matriculation after that particular semester.

Natural Science Elective (1) (Varies by department)

Each department maintains a list of allowed courses that will satisfy the Natural Science requirement. Consult those department websites and/or departmental offices.

Social Science and Humanities  (5)

Students in the Pratt School of Engineering are required to have a minimum of 5 full-credit (1.0) courses in the social sciences and humanities (including foreign languages).  More specifically:

  1. At most, 2 of these 5 course credits can be met by any combination of 2 from the following options*:
  • Advanced Placement (AP) Credit
  • International Placement Credit (IPC)
  • Duke-offered courses that are only offered on a Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory grading basis.

2.  All 5 courses must have at least one code of SS, ALP, CZ, or FL.

3.  At least one course must have an SS Area of Knowledge code.

4.  Two courses must be in two of the other Areas of Knowledge of ALP, CZ, or FL.

5.  Courses must be taken for a grade, and not on a selective S/U graded option.

6.  A student must show depth in one subject area by taking two courses with the same department subject code--and one course must be at the 200-level, or above. For departments grouped together such as AMES, Art, Art History, and Visual Media Studies, or Classical Studies (just to name a few), the depth requirement is satisfied by taking two courses in the same department, i.e., two Chinese courses or two Korean courses, but not by taking a Chinese course and a Korean course.

*Note for Spring 2021:  Normally, courses taken to satisfy this requirement are not allowed to be taken on an elective Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory grading option.  In Spring 2021, Social Science and Humanities courses taken to fulfill this requirement are allowed to be taken on an elective Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory grading option.  This will NOT count against the two minimum combination allowed in Spring 2021.


Non-social science and non-humanities departments (including engineering courses and other depts) assign SS, CZ, or ALP codes for some of their courses.  Effective Fall 2013, the Pratt school requires that SS/H courses must be taken from or cross-listed* with one of the following departments or programs:

  • African & African American Studies
  • Art, Art History, and Visual Media Studies (includes ARTHIST, HCVIS, ARTVIS, VMS)
  • Arts of the Moving Image
  • Asian and Middle Eastern Studies (Arabic, Chinese, Hebrew, Hindi, Japanese, Korean, Persian, Sanskrit, Tibetan, Turkish, Urdu)
  • Canadian Studies
  • Cinema 
  • Classical Studies (Greek, Latin)
  • Cultural Anthropology
  • Dance (only 1.0 credit courses, with a code)
  • Documentary Studies
  • East Asian Studies
  • Economics
  • Education
  • English
  • Ethics
  • Gender, Sexuality & Feminist Studies
  • Germanic Languages and Literature
  • Global Cultural Studies in Literature
  • History
  • Innovation and Entrepreneurship
  • International Comparative Studies
  • Islamic Studies
  • Jewish Studies
  • Latin American Studies
  • LSGS
  • Linguistics
  • Markets and Management Studies
  • Medieval and Renaissance Studies
  • Music
  • Philosophy
  • Political Science
  • Psychology
  • Public Policy Studies
  • Religious Studies
  • Romance Studies (Creole, French, K'iche' Maya, Italian, Portuguese, Quechua, Spanish)
  • Science and Society
  • Slavic and Eurasian Studies (Balto-Finnic, Polish, Romanian, Russian, Serbian & Croation, Ukrainian, Uzbek)
  • Sociology
  • Swahili
  • Theater Studies
  • Visual & Media Studies
  • Women's Studies

*EGR 305 and ECON 212 are EXCLUDED from satisfying the SS/H requirement even though the course is cross-listed.  In addition, Writing courses that carry course codes do not satisfy the SS/H requirement.

AP credits do not carry course codes, however, in the Pratt School of Engineering we attribute the following Areas of Knowledge to these AP exams**: 

  • History (CZ)
  • Psychology (SS)
  • Political Science (SS)
  • Language Courses (FL)
  • English (ALP)
  • Economics (SS)

**AP exams which have the Duke equivalent as a 200-level course will NOT count as the Pratt depth requirement. 

Consult an academic dean for any question on how AP credits count toward the SS/H requirement.


Engineering and Sciences (4)
This requirement is met by completion of one course from each of four of the following seven areas: digital systems, electrical science, information and computer science, mechanics (solid and fluid), materials science, systems analysis, and thermal science and transfer processes. Students are expected to have acquired digital-computer programming capability before their sophomore year. The programming capability is satisfied by Engineering 103L (53L) or CompSci 201.

Departmental Requirements (15)
The department administering the major field of study will specify this requirement. In general, it will consist of both required courses and electives to be planned in consultation with the departmental adviser. Including the 4 credits in engineering and applied sciences listed under general requirements, a total of 13.0 credits in engineering work are required.

Total Minimum Requirements: 34

Last updated: AUG 2, 2023