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Forming Academic Connections with DukeEngage

It’s our hope that students will connect their DukeEngage experience to their academic interests by choosing a program that allows them to put academic knowledge into practice, learn more about a particular population or region of the world, or further their study of a foreign language. Some programs have courses or skills prerequisites that significantly enhance a student’s preparation, and serve to closely link the program to academic life at Duke.

“A combination of FOCUS, DukeEngage and Bass Connections had catalyzed the development of critical thinking and analysis skills, introduced me to research and deepened my enthusiasm for civic engagement.” — Sarah Rapaport (’18)

We’re proud of the fact that almost all DukeEngage programs benefit from the leadership of Duke faculty members. These faculty leaders are well-positioned to recommend courses that students might take following their DukeEngage experience to further their learning. Many DukeEngage experiences have also led to independent studies and honors theses or have been used to fulfill experiential certificate requirements.

Sanjeev Dasgupta discovered a passion for refugee and displacement issues during DukeEngage-Serbia. He built on that new-found interest through participation in DukeImmerse: Deconstructing/Reconstructing the Refugee Experience and dug even deeper conducting research with the Kenan Refugee Project. — Sanjeev Dasgupta (’18)

French & Neuroscience major Kira Panzer ‘18 describes how Global & Civic Engagement DAE Kelly Cohen-Mazurowski helped her connect her language studies to the community by volunteering with French-speaking refugees in Durham and participating in DukeEngage-Togo.

Curricular Connections

In recent years, more and more students have begun utilizing DukeEngage to fulfill a curricular requirement. Below are the majors, minors, and certificates in which we believe DukeEngage is most commonly utilized.

Students: If you have connected your DukeEngage experience to an academic program not listed here, we would love to hear about it!

Public Policy

All Duke students majoring in Public Policy must apply their skills in a real world context by completing an internship. DukeEngage experiences can fulfill this internship requirement if there is clear public policy content in the student’s placement, and if the placement is project-oriented rather than direct service-oriented. Students applying to DukeEngage programs should discuss with the DukeEngage faculty director whether this type of placement is possible early in the application process. The PDF below outlines which DukeEngage programs are expected to meet Public Policy internship criteria. Both group program and independent project students should consult with Sanford Career Services staff regarding whether their anticipated DukeEngage placement will meet the requirement.

DukeEngage Programs Meeting Public Policy Internship Criteria

Global Health

Students majoring in Global Health must complete an eight-week, full time experiential learning activity that addresses a global health question, context or challenge. The PDF below outlines which DukeEngage programs are pre-approved, and which require a petition. The DGHI Education Team can advise further on the likelihood that a given project will be approved.

DukeEngage Programs and the Global Health Experiential Learning Requirement

Environmental Sciences

Students completing a B.A. or a B.S. in Environmental Sciences/Policy are required to complete a Field Experience or Internship. Students should contact the Nicholas School Undergraduate Program Office to discuss whether their DukeEngage experience might meet this requirement.

Environmental Science & Policy Undergraduate Program 

Civic Engagement

Students earning an undergraduate certificate in Civic Engagement and Social Change are required to complete two experiential learning activities working with organizations that promote civic involvement, civic responsibility, and social change. Projects should respond to needs identified by a community partner organization, and embody principles of collaboration, cooperation, and reciprocity.

Civic Engagement & Social Change Certificate Program


Students completing the experiential version of the Ethics certificate must complete a non-credit community-based field experience exceeding 300 hours, as a part of crafting their own coherent pathway focused on one of five program areas. Interested students should contact the Kenan Institute of Ethics for more information.

Study of Ethics Certificate Program

Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Students earning an undergraduate certificate in Innovation and Entrepreneurship are required to complete two immersive co-curricular experiences exposing them to innovation or entrepreneurship, in order to gain real-world knowledge and hands-on learning. DukeEngage projects can often be connected to concepts of social entrepreneurship, as DukeEngage students are often involved in generating, implementing, or learning about innovative solutions to social problems.

Innovation and Entrepreneurship Certificate Program 

Science & Society

Students earning a Science & Society Certificate must complete two approved research experiences consisting of either two semester-long independent study courses or one semester-long independent study course plus one approved summer research experience.

Science and Society Certificate Program


Students completing the undergraduate certificate in Sustainability Engagement must complete two different experiential learning activities that are thematically related to the pathway the student has laid out. Each experience must integrate at least two of three primary dimensions of sustainability (society, economics, and environment). The experiences must be undertaken in response to needs identified by community partners and must embody principles of collaboration, cooperation, and reciprocity.

Sustainability Certificate Program 

Global Development Engineering

Students completing the Global Development Engineering certificate must complete an experiential component in which they design and implement a solution to an identified need. The component is typically a month-long experience within the United States or internationally, where the student teams with a community partner to identify, design and implement their idea.

Global Development Engineering Certificate Program


Michael Bleggi ('17) reflects on connecting his academics to his DukeEngage experience in India.