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Independent Project Application

The DukeEngage online application opens this year on Monday, October 1, for the following summer. Independent project applications are due January 23, with interviews and candidate selection concluding in February.

The following criteria are used as part of the evaluation process for independent project applications:

  • project plan, timeline and goals
  • understanding of community
  • preparedness
  • interest
  • health and safety

Annual Dates & Deadlines (2018-2019)

The timeline below will give you a sense of what’s involved. We encourage you to use it to stay on track as you build your application. Most steps are optional, and you may complete them in any order that works for you. Requirements and firm deadlines are highlighted.


  • Begin considering what service themes and locations are of interest to you.
  • Begin researching Duke mentors and potential community partners, including volunteer sending organizations (VSOs).


  • Attend a “How to Apply to DukeEngage” session to learn about basic application and candidate selection information.
  • Attend a DukeEngage Information Session about independent projects to learn specifics about project planning and watch project alumni presentations.
  • Make a list of potential community partners/VSOs and mentors.
  • Schedule your DukeEngage advisor meeting (one meeting, either in person or via Skype, for off campus students, is required before applying and must take place by January 11, 2019).


  • Begin working on the Profile section within the DukeEngage application.
  • Continue researching locations and exploring project options with preferred partners/VSOs.
  • Select your mentor and meet to discuss your DukeEngage goals.


  • Select community partner/VSO, identify project goals and build a project plan.
  • Meet with your mentor to discuss your application and Capstone.
  • Add Spring Semester classes related to your project work, or find other ways to prepare for your project.


  • DukeEngage advisor meeting deadline: January 11, 2019
  • Independent Project mentor’s name and NetID due in application system: January 15, 2019
  • Independent Project Application Deadline: January 23, 2019, at noon EST


  • Community Partner Verification Letter deadline: February 1, 2019
  • Independent Project Interview Period: TBA
  • Independent Project Admission Notification: February 15, 2019
  • Independent Project Statement of Intent Deadline: February 21, 2019


  • Attend training sessions and advising with independent participant cohort.
  • If required, obtain IRB approval by March 1, 2019.
  • Finalize housing arrangements at project location (required before Registration).
  • Attend DukeEngage Registration on March 20 or March 21 at Smith Warehouse (study away students may register online). Passport is required for international projects.
  • Attend assigned Student Health appointment (required for most international projects).
  • Flights booked by DukeEngage


  • May 7-8, 2019: Attend Fortin Foundation DukeEngage Academy (required). If you are abroad, you will complete online training modules.
  • Stipend checks issued by DukeEngage after successful completion of the DukeEngage Academy.


  • Capstone submission deadline: September 6, 2019