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2023 programs are now live! Applications are open as of November 7, 2022. The deadline to apply is January 18, 2023.

All applicants to international programs are urged to have a valid passport in hand before February.

See this page for dates, deadlines, and more information about info sessions and drop-in advising.

Because we’ve been asked…

We understand that students are anxious to know whether any international DukeEngage programs may be cancelled this summer due to COVID-19 restrictions. We wanted to share that, due to the volatility of the global landscape, we will be holding off on making any decisions on cancellations until the spring (most likely in the middle of March).

At that time we will base any decisions on the guidelines set by Duke’s Global Travel Advisory Committee (GTAC), which makes decisions about the safety of international travel for the entire Duke community. While there are currently countries with COVID-related travel advisories, we anticipate the list will change frequently and unpredictably between now and then.

DukeEngage works closely every year with GTAC, Duke’s Corporate Risk Management office, and each of our program directors to assess the risks inherent in our programs and to develop robust risk mitigation plans. This year’s process has already begun and includes a rigorous COVID-19 risk assessment for all programs.

We understand that uncertainty about the trajectory of the virus makes planning difficult. We’re hopeful that by delaying any cancellation decisions, we’ll be able to run all 2022 DukeEngage programs.

FAQs: Application process

You can submit applications for one or two programs, only one of which can be international.

Once you have started two applications, you can use the “Update Ranking” button at the top right corner of your applicant home page in the system, and move programs up or down to order your choices.

Screenshot of the applicant home page

You will only receive one offer. If you are selected for both programs you’ve applied for, you will be offered a spot in the program you ranked as your first choice.

Think about:
  • Which social issues matter to you? Use the filters on the group program page to consider what excites you or connects in meaningful ways to your journey.
  • What type of work do you want to do? Work directly with community members, such as teaching, tutoring, or outreach? Capacity-building work such as fundraising, marketing, or evaluation? Policy-level research? Work with your hands? Read group program profiles carefully.
  • What type of community do you want to be immersed in? Rural or urban? U.S. or international? Is there a culture or language you have been studying? Seek out articles, films, speakers, events, and resources on campus to learn more.
  • Can you make a contribution? Consider how your skills and background relate to the program that interests you. Program leaders aren’t always looking for previous experience, but think about what you have to offer.

Learn more:
  • Read program profiles carefully.
  • Attend DukeEngage Days information sessions for any program you are interested in. If you can’t attend, write to the program director with your questions.
  • Talk to students who have participated. Start with the DukeEngage guiDEs. If we don’t have a guiDE who participated in the program you’re interested in, contact the program leader or DukeEngage and ask for a name.

The application consists of a series of short essays, about why you are interested in the program or project, how your background makes you a good candidate for that program, and what your personal strengths are.

Don’t wait until the last minute and risk missing the deadline:

  • Reach out to us (on a business day) before the deadline with any questions
  • Compose your responses in a separate document
  • Submit well ahead of the deadline

Language ability is assessed and evaluated by each program director. If you have questions about your level of proficiency, please contact the program director for more information.

If you intend to apply for an international program, you’ll need a passport that is valid at least six months after your return. (Most countries will not permit a traveler to enter without this.)

If you don’t have a passport, apply before or at the same time as you submit your application. Your application will be accepted without the passport in hand – but if you don’t have a valid passport by mid-February, you may not be able to participate in DukeEngage.

If you do have a passport, check the validity, and apply for renewal if necessary.

  • Important: We’ve heard from the State Department that the standard passport application process is taking much longer than in the past – up to 12-18 weeks.
  • Also note: Your passport may also need at least two consecutive blank pages, depending on the country you’re traveling to. Consult Duke’s Global Administrative and Travel Support office for more information.

DukeEngage does not cover the cost of applying for or renewing student passports.

Participants must be in compliance with the Duke COVID-19 vaccine requirements (absent a medical or religious exemption).

Some countries and/or programs may have additional vaccine and/or testing requirements necessary to enter/remain in country and/or to participate in a given activity.

Applications are read, and students are selected, by each program’s directors.

You’re welcome to submit the same answers on both applications to the extent that your answers are relevant to both programs.

Of course, you’ll want to answer at least the first question (which asks why you’re interested in that specific program) differently.

Many program directors, but not all, interview some portion of their applicants. Interviews can take place any time during the application review period. Not all program directors conduct interviews at the same time, nor do they all send out interview invitations at once.

You are free to withdraw your application at any time before being accepted and committing to the program, without penalty, by simply writing to If it’s after the application deadline, write to the program director as well.

FAQs: Acceptance

DukeEngage has traditionally been selective, with an overall acceptance rate of approximately 50%.

The individual programs with the highest application rates change from year to year. Some programs attract a broad swath of students, while some appeal to specific interests. The real question is: Do you bring motivation, skills, and/or personal qualities for the programs you’re interested in? Your chances of being selected increase when you apply to programs that match your skills and interests.


All applicants will be notified about the status of their applications by email on a specific day. (See Dates and Deadlines for this year’s dates.)

Applicants will either be selected, not selected, or designated as an alternate.

No, but if you remain a student in good standing and meet all eligibility requirements, you’re welcome to reapply in a future year. Reapplication does not guarantee preference or acceptance.

If you’re selected you’ll be given a short time, typically one week, to commit to the program.

You’ll sign a participation agreement, register for the DukeEngage Academy, submit health and travel questionnaires, and supply a US Social Security card or ITIN, among other requirements.

For international programs you’ll be asked to submit a scan of your valid passport, complete an additional medical questionnaire, and submit visa application materials (if necessary).

All applicants to international programs are urged to have a valid passport in hand by February.

If you withdraw after committing to the program, it’s likely you will have prevented another student from participating, and in some cases, left a partner organization without an anticipated volunteer. As such, students who withdraw after committing to a program are not eligible to apply to DukeEngage in future years.