Graduate & Professional

Scholarship Overview

Graduate and professional school University Scholars receive the equivalent of one year’s tuition as calculated by the Graduate and Professional Schools. The scholar’s individual department or professional program determines how the funds will be distributed and what eligibility standards accompany the funding, if any.

Graduate and professional school University Scholars are expected to remain involved in the University Scholars Program for the duration of their tenure as students at Duke to ensure continuity of mentoring as well as sustained commitment to the intellectual development of the USP as a whole.

Click on the tabs below to learn about additional benefits of USP.

Each year, graduate or professional school University Scholars who have already utilized departmental or school funding for one conference may apply for funding for up to $500 to support a second presentation at an interdisciplinary conference or a conference outside of their primary discipline.

Students who are not yet eligible for departmental or Graduate School funding (prior to passing their preliminary exams) are also eligible. Students must submit a conference paper abstract and a budget to the director for approval of the use of USP conference funds.

All graduate and professional school University Scholars who have completed their first year are eligible to apply for a position as a Graduate Consul with the program. Graduate Consuls receive a generous fellowship of $4000 per year and the opportunity to substantially shape the program’s development.
Graduate Consuls may reapply to serve for more than one

year and are encouraged to do so. Grad Consul responsibilities include
coordinating mentor relationships, working with undergraduates who need advice, organizing coffees, coordinating and attending USP seminars as their schedules allow, supervising symposium committees, and assisting the Director with other requests.

These informal seminars, held every two weeks, bring together graduate and professional school University Scholars, undergraduate scholars, and interested faculty, as well as distinguished visiting scholars, scientists and artists. There are typically six seminars per semester, and topics depend on the guest speakers’ areas of expertise.  Students of all levels are encouraged to lead a seminar on their own work-in-progress or on a topic of particular interest to them. Faculty and student seminar hosts share their ideas with a lay but intellectually engaged audience from a variety of disciplinary backgrounds and discuss how interdisciplinary perspectives can impact the issues presented.

Each year, University Scholars will showcase their research and scholarship in a symposium to which the entire university community is invited.  Symposia feature a keynote speaker invited by the University Scholars and group presentations featuring undergraduate, graduate and professional school scholars working together to present their ideas. 
Previous symposia include:
  • “Reflection” (2020)
  • “(In)dependence” (2019)
  • “Masquerade” (2018)
  • “Progress” (2017)
  • “Relativity” (2016)
  • “Fundamentals” (2015)
  • “Reason(s)” (2014)
  • “Futures:  See What Lies Ahead” (2013)
  • “Puzzles” (2012)
  • “Taste:  Determining, Modifying, Consequences” (2011)
  • “Legacies:  Commemorating 10 Years of the USP” (2010)
  • “Two Cultures: 50 Years Later” (2009)
  • “Recycling:  Ideas, Materials, & Experiences” (2008)
  • “Interdisciplinarity in Practice” (2007)
  • “Cities in Evolution: Imagination and Reinvention” (2006)
  • “The End of the World (As We Know It)” (2005)
  • “Truth Lies Within <-> Within Lies Truth” (2004)
  • “We Will Remember It For You” (2003)
  • “Exposing Privacy” (2002)
  • “Perspectives on Political Change: South Africa and USA” (2001)
  • “From Faust to the Future: The Costs & Rewards of [too much?] Knowledge” (2000)

USP Breakfasts bring University Scholars together once a month in the casual setting of campus cafés to talk about matters ranging from the practical to the esoteric.

An informal, intellectual mentoring program offers interdisciplinary research possibilities, helps to shape multidisciplinary interests into an interdisciplinary program, and encourages collaborative thinking and intellectual risk-taking.  Mentoring also allows for more informal advising and conversations about life experience and development.  Mentoring in the USP is a student-driven endeavor.  Relationships are established between pairs of graduate or professional school students and undergraduates.

Each undergraduate University scholar has two mentors who are students at Duke’s graduate or professional schools. All mentors/mentee pairs meet at least twice per semester, if not more frequently.

The University Scholars Program has begun an outreach initiative called Bull City Scholars. Students involved in Bull City Scholars work in partnership with Neal Middle School, part of the Durham Public School system.  Students can gain or hone leadership skills through officer positions in the club.  Outreach opportunities at Neal include tutoring, leading after-school clubs, mentoring, and college access workshops.

Any graduate and professional school University Scholars who have completed their first year are eligible to apply for a position as a BCS Consul with the USP. Graduate Consuls receive a generous fellowship of $4000 per year, provide assistance to the outreach initiative, serve as advisor to the undergraduate Bull City Scholars club, and help with the BCS undergraduate house course.