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Independent Project Application

The DukeEngage online application will open October 25 for summer of 2020. Independent project applications will be due January 14 at noon EST, 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 (2019-2020)

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 1, 2020).


  • 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 1, 2020.
  • Independent Project mentor’s name and NetID due in application system: January 10, 2020.
  • Independent Project Application Deadline: January 14 at noon (12pm EST).


  • Community Partner Verification Letter deadline: February 3, 2020.
  • Independent Project Interview Period: TBA.
  • Independent Project Admission Notification: February 14, 2020.
  • Independent Project Statement of Intent Deadline: February 20, 2020 at noon (12pm EST). 


  • Attend training sessions and advising with independent participant cohort.
  • If required, obtain IRB approval by March 1, 2020.
  • Finalize housing arrangements at project location (required before Registration).
  • Attend DukeEngage Registration: March 18-19 (study away students may register online). Passport is required for international projects.
  • Attend assigned Student Health appointment (required for most international projects).
  • Attend two pre-departure meetings (TBA).
  • Schedule follow-up appointment with DukeEngage advisor.
  • Attend DukeEngage Convocation: March 22 (3:00-6:00pm).
  • Flights booked by DukeEngage.


  • Stipend checks issued by DukeEngage.


  • Attend DukeEngage Reunion 2020: August 30 (1:00-5:00pm).


  • Capstone submission deadline: September 11, 2020.