Skip to content

Peer Coaches

Coach Training

The peer health coaches are just that: your peers. They are a group of students who have been personally moved by the power of mental health. Whether it has been through the motivation of personal afflictions or experiences with others, they are committed to improving the community’s mental health via DukeLine.

All coaches participate in a semester-long course to learn about appropriate responses to a wide variety of issues. Through the advising of practicing psychologists, campus resources, and community intervention groups, the coaches have been trained to respond to situations ranging in severity, from crisis to needing to vent.

Application Process

All students are required to complete a semester-long course to become a peer health coach. The course is offered by the Duke University Psychology Department as “PSY 319S: Peer Health Coaching” during the Fall semester. To enroll in the class, students must obtain permission numbers from the instructor and lead researcher, Dr. Nancy Zucker ( She will conduct interviews and evaluations to select next year’s cohort. Please contact Dr. Zucker before your Fall course registration window if you are interested or have further questions about the opportunity.


How do I become a coach? 

Please contact Dr. Nancy Zucker ( if you are interested in taking her course and becoming a coach. All students must participate in an interview before receiving a permission number to enroll in the course. 

What is the time commitment for being a coach? 

The course meets once a week for 2.5 hours of training in the classroom. There are also various projects and exercises built into the curriculum over the course of the semester to help prepare students. Upon completing the course, students will become acting coaches in the Spring, typically “on call” around 6-8 hours per week. 

How long do coaches typically participate? 

Coaches are required to spend a minimum of a year and a half in the program. They will take the 1.0 credit course in the Fall, participate in a 0.5 half-credit Practicum in the Spring as they become active coaches, and finally act as an active coach for at least one semester. 

Who can apply to become a coach? 

All sophomores and juniors are encouraged to apply! The team is an incredibly diverse, compassionate group that is always looking for new perspectives