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The policies below apply to all independent participants. Please talk with a DukeEngage advisor if you have any questions.

  • Students may apply to DukeEngage group programs OR to an independent project, but not both.
  • According to University policy, merit scholars may apply for DukeEngage group programs but they are not eligible for independent project funding.
  • Undergraduate student travel is governed by Duke’s International Travel Policy. Refer to the Duke Restricted Regions List to ensure the location you are considering is approved for undergraduate travel. According to the Global Travel Advisory Committee, to conduct a project in a restricted location, undergraduate students “must formally, and individually, petition for a waiver of the Duke University restriction on travel.”
  • All DukeEngage projects must take place during the summer and last a minimum of 56 consecutive days (eight weeks), exclusive of travel to and from site. Students may design longer projects, however all participants must return at least three days before the beginning of the following academic year at Duke.
  • DukeEngage projects must be designed to address existing needs of a partner organization. Students should aim to provide service to their community partner and may not design projects that are purely observational or educational in scope. Shadowing, taking courses or conducting research that is not requested by a community partner may not constitute a DukeEngage project. In addition, providing medical care to patients and proselytizing are activities not permitted for DukeEngage participants.
  • Research conducted at the request of and in partnership with host organizations (community-based participatory research) is suitable and encouraged for DukeEngage participants. Some projects may require that students obtain approval from the Duke Institutional Review Board (IRB). It is not necessary, however, to seek IRB approval before applying to DukeEngage. If your project is accepted for DukeEngage funding, you will work with the office of Undergraduate Research Support in the spring to obtain IRB approval.
  • Students may partner with one, nonprofit organization in the U.S. or abroad. B-corps are acceptable partners, while for-profit organizations are not. Partner organizations can be NGOs (non-governmental organizations) or government-affiliated organizations that do not have a partisan agenda, such as schools, community centers or community development programs managed by local governments. Hospitals and clinics may be suitable community partners, however, DukeEngage participants may not provide direct medical care to patients. Students may partner with organizations that have a religious affiliation, however, their project activities should not involve proselytizing.
  • Students should conduct work primarily in one location. Travel at the request of the community partner (for example to conduct outreach, surveys or work at satellite offices) should be limited to the local community. Students who plan to travel for work farther than one hour away from their supervisor’s location must obtain approval from DukeEngage.
  • DukeEngage participants are required to work in support of host organizations full time (35-40 hours/week). Students may work on a single project or support a variety of initiatives depending on the organization’s needs.
  • Up to three students may collaborate to develop an independent project and work with one partner organization. Each candidate must submit an individual application and each will receive separate consideration.
  • Independent project candidates must meet with a DukeEngage advisor at least once before submitting their application. Students are welcome to meet their advisor multiple times as they design their projects. Students who collaborate on a project may hold advising appointments together or individually.
  • Each independent project candidate must have a Duke mentor. Faculty or staff with a Duke affiliation may act as mentors for independent project participants. Students who collaborate on a project may work with the same mentor, or identify different ones.
  • Students may apply for independent projects organized by Volunteer Sending Organizations (VSOs). Candidates who wish to conduct independent projects through VSOs with which DukeEngage partners for group programs may not apply to work at the DukeEngage group program location. Independent project candidates may explore working with the same organizations at other sites.
  • Students working with a VSO or partner organization that has an application for volunteers must be accepted by their program no later than in time to submit a DukeEngage statement of intent in late February.
  • Each independent project participant is required to submit a Capstone upon completing their project. Capstones are due each year in September.
  • Deadlines for submitting applications, mentor forms and partner verification letters are firm. Note: applications received without mentor agreement forms or submitted by students who did not hold advising meetings will be considered incomplete.
  • Verification letters and, where required, IRB approval must be obtained before admitted students can receive DukeEngage funding.