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Graduate Communications and Intercultural Programs

Graduate Communications and Intercultural Programs is here to help engineering master’s and PhD students with a variety of communication and intercultural needs across all departments of the Pratt School of Engineering. We teach classes, facilitate workshops, and work with students in one-on-one appointments.

Welcome to the Pratt School of Engineering! The Duolingo English Test (DET) requirement has been added to the Enrolling Student Portal.


Generally, the DET is required for students who have not completed at least 4 years of study in a program delivered in English-only instruction and in an English-immersive environment. However, Graduate Communications and Intercultural Programs (GCIP) reserves the right to require an English language assessment for any international student at any point in their program if there are concerns about English proficiency.


Please refer to the following Frequently Asked Questions about Pratt School of Engineering requirements regarding the DET. If you have additional questions, please contact Sue Mathias at


1.        If I have already taken another language test for admission, do I still need to take the DET?

Yes! Pratt School of Engineering uses a formula that combines your total DET score with production sub-scores and literacy and conversation sub-scores to determine the need for language support classes at Pratt. You may be required to take an oral communication course, a writing course or both.


2.        How high do I need to score on the DET to test out of taking language classes?

As mentioned above, the formula uses a combination of DET sub-scores, but generally scoring above 125 in total will likely exempt you from course requirements. This a general guideline and should not be considered binding.


3.        If I completed a joint-institution degree that started in my home country and incorporated 2 years of study at a partner school in an English-speaking country (also known as a 2+2 Program), do I have to take the DET?

Students who have completed 4 years in a program of English-only instruction and in an English-immersive environment do not have to take the DET. Some students in a 2+2 program (or similar) may be exempt if they can provide evidence of English-only instruction and English-immersive environment for the entire 4 years. However, we strongly advise taking the DET to see if you might benefit from language classes, as we are here to ensure that you are well-supported throughout your graduate study program. There are no fees for GCIP courses.


4.        If my scores are lower on the DET and I am placed into language classes, am I being punished?

Absolutely not! As mentioned in FAQ #3, Pratt wants to ensure that all of our students are successful and well supported while they study with us. GCIP courses are designed to help students, not only in improving their communication skills, but also in being better prepared to study in a graduate program in the United States, by understanding cultural expectations that come with a different style of education.


Students who take language support classes with GCIP report very positive experiences, as noted here:

“[A]s an international student, I would like to take this opportunity to express how much GCIP has inspired and engaged me since I entered Duke University. I have significantly benefited from all the efforts GCIP has put into helping us integrate into this new culture, which is totally different from what we are used to.”

5.        As an international student who has spent a lot of money preparing my application and taking English Language Tests, I am concerned about the cost of the DET. Do I still have to take it?

Yes, you do have to take it. However, at USD65, DET is a fraction of the cost of other leading language assessments, offering reduced test time and convenient, secure, at-home exam sessions via the Duolingo dashboard. If cost is a barrier, please complete this brief survey:


6.        By which date do I need to take the DET?

You are required to submit Duolingo English Test (DET) scores by June 17, 2024. Please make sure to submit your scores to “Duke University Graduate Programs: Graduate School; Divinity; Engineering; Environment; Public Policy; Duke Kunshan” when you take the test.


7.        If I have already taken the DET but have not shared my scores with Duke University, will I need to do that myself or does Duke know my scores?

If you did not include your DET score with your application, you will need to contact DET and submit your scores to “Duke University Graduate Programs: Graduate School; Divinity; Engineering; Environment; Public Policy; Duke Kunshan.”


8.        If I have more questions about the Duolingo English Test (DET), should I contact Duke or is there somewhere I can find more info?

Please contact Duolingo directly. If you have any questions about the test, please see this guide to taking it.


9.        I have shared my DET scores with Pratt, but the checklist item is still there.

It can take several days for your DET scores to be certified and shared with us, and it may take some additional time for our student portal to be updated. We appreciate your patience. If it has been more than two weeks since you submitted your ceritified scores, please email Sue Mathias.



Regardless of any potential language course placement, GCIP provides a variety of communications and intercultural programs, and we are looking forward to working with you throughout your time at Duke! Welcome!


Workshop Topics

Academic & Intercultural Skills
  • Academic Notetaking
  • Time Management
  • Classroom & Team Participation
  • Managing Stress with Koru
  • Intercultural Conflict Styles
Speaking & Presenting
  • Pronunciation Feedback
  • Small Talk
  • Managing Presentation Anxiety
  • Designing Effective Slides for Presentations
  • Introduction to Research-Based Papers
  • Tips for Strong Writing
  • Executive Summaries
  • Professional Bios
  • Crafting SOPs for PhD Applications
  • Using Corpora to Improve Writing Skills
  • Shine with a Strong LinkedIn Summary

1:1 Coaching Topics

  • Academic Writing
  • Academic Presentations
  • Conversations/Small Talk
  • Pronunciation
  • Intercultural Conflicts & Questions
  • SOP Feedback

1:1 PhD-Focused Coaching Topics

  • Dissertation Writing
  • Journal Article Writing
  • Qualifying & Prelim Exam Preparation
  • Defense Practice
  • Overcoming Imposter Syndrome

Ongoing Programs

  • PhD Writing Group
  • SnackChat Conversation Group
Don’t see what you want? Email us at with a new idea or request. We love trying new things!

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