How to Apply for Duke University Scholarship: A Comprehensive Guide

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Duke University is one of the most prestigious and selective universities in the United States. It offers a variety of academic programs, research opportunities, and extracurricular activities for its students. Duke also provides generous financial aid for students who demonstrate academic excellence and financial need. One of the ways to receive financial aid from Duke is through merit scholarships.

Merit scholarships are awards that cover the cost of tuition, mandatory fees, room, and board for four years of full-time undergraduate studies. They also include a stipend for a summer study away program and opportunities to meet with other scholarship recipients. Merit scholarships are highly competitive and are awarded to a small number of incoming first-year students each year.


In this article, we will explain how to apply for Duke University scholarship, what are the types of merit scholarships available, and what are the benefits and expectations of being a merit scholar at Duke.


How to Apply for Duke University Scholarship

The good news is that there is not a separate application for most merit scholarships at Duke. All students who apply to Duke as incoming first-year students are automatically considered for merit scholarships based on their complete credentials, including essays, academic work, extracurricular activities, and recommendations. There is no additional essay or interview required for most merit scholarships.

The only exceptions are the Robertson Scholarship and the Nakayama Scholarship, which require a separate application and/or nomination. The Robertson Scholarship is a joint program between Duke and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill that seeks to attract students who demonstrate leadership potential, intellectual curiosity, and commitment to service. The Nakayama Scholarship is a need-based scholarship for students of Japanese descent who have demonstrated academic excellence and leadership.

To be considered for these scholarships, you need to submit a separate application by the specified deadline, which is usually in November or December of your senior year. You can find more information about these scholarships and their application process on their respective websites.


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What are the Types of Merit Scholarships at Duke

Duke offers several types of merit scholarships to incoming first-year students. Some of them are funded by Duke alumni, while others are funded by external organizations or donors. Here are some of the most prominent merit scholarships at Duke:

  • Alumni Endowed Undergraduate Scholarship: This scholarship is established by the Duke Alumni Association to recognize the achievements of children or grandchildren of Duke alumni accepted for undergraduate admission to Duke. The scholarship recipients must demonstrate some financial need as determined by the director of Financial Aid.
  • Trinity Scholarships: These scholarships are funded by Duke’s alumni in the Carolinas to honor Duke’s origins as Trinity College in Randolph County, North Carolina. They are awarded on a rotating basis to attract some of the most gifted students residing within specific geographic areas of the Carolinas.
  • A.B. Duke Scholarship: This scholarship is named after Angier Buchanan Duke, one of the original benefactors of Duke University. It is awarded to students who demonstrate exceptional academic achievement, intellectual engagement, and leadership potential.
  • Benjamin N. Duke Scholarship: This scholarship is named after Benjamin Newton Duke, one of the founders of Duke University. It is awarded to students from North and South Carolina who demonstrate academic excellence, leadership, and commitment to community service.
  • Karsh International Scholarship: This scholarship is funded by Bruce and Martha Karsh to support international students who demonstrate academic excellence, leadership, and financial need. It is open to students from any country except the United States and Canada.
  • Reginaldo Howard Memorial Scholarship: This scholarship is named after Reginaldo Howard, the first African American student body president at Duke. It is awarded to students who identify as Black or African American and who have demonstrated academic achievement, leadership, and community involvement.
  • University Scholars Program: This scholarship is funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to support students who have exceptional intellectual ability and interdisciplinary interests. It is open to students from any academic discipline and any country.
  • Baldwin Scholars Program: This scholarship is funded by the Duke Women’s Studies Program to support women who have demonstrated leadership, academic excellence, and commitment to women’s issues. It is open to women from any academic discipline and any country.


What are the Benefits and Expectations of Being a Merit Scholar at Duke

Being a merit scholar at Duke is not only a financial benefit, but also an academic and personal enrichment. As a merit scholar, you will have access to:

  • A network of faculty mentors, alumni, and fellow scholars who will support you throughout your academic journey and beyond.
  • A curriculum that challenges you to explore your interests, develop your skills, and pursue your passions across disciplines.
  • A summer study away program that allows you to experience different cultures, perspectives, and opportunities around the world.
  • A community of peers who share your values, goals, and aspirations, and who will inspire you to grow as a leader, a scholar, and a citizen.

As a merit scholar, you are also expected to:

  • Maintain a high level of academic performance and integrity.
  • Participate in the activities and events organized by your scholarship program and the Office of Undergraduate Scholars and Fellows.
  • Contribute to the intellectual and social life of Duke and the broader community.
  • Seek out opportunities to learn from and collaborate with others who have different backgrounds, experiences, and viewpoints.
  • Reflect on your personal and professional development and goals.



Duke University scholarship is a great opportunity for students who want to pursue their academic dreams and make a positive impact in the world. If you are interested in applying for Duke University scholarship, you should start preparing your application materials as soon as possible and submit them by the deadlines. You should also research the different types of merit scholarships available and see which ones match your interests, strengths, and needs. You can find more information about Duke University scholarship on the official website or contact the Office of Undergraduate Scholars and Fellows for any questions or concerns. We wish you all the best in your application process and hope to see you at Duke soon!

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