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Forming Academic Connections with DukeEngage

It is our hope that students will connect their DukeEngage experience to their academic interests by choosing a program or project 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 are proud of the fact that almost all DukeEngage programs and projects 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 group programs should discuss with the DukeEngage program director whether this type of placement is possible, early in the application process. Both group program and independent project students should consult with Sanford Career Services staff to ascertain whether their anticipated DukeEngage placement will meet the requirement. The PDF below outlines DukeEngage programs that may meet the internship criteria.

DukeEngage Public Policy Internship Criteria Info PDF

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 DGHI Education Team can share information on DukeEngage programs and projects that have fulfilled this requirement in the past, and advise on the likelihood that a given project will be approved.

Experiential Learning for the Global Health Major

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 the 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 


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

The possibilities for connecting your DukeEngage experience to your academic life are many and varied – and up to you!

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