Focus students in NY


The Focus Program (FOCUS) is an exciting opportunity for first-semester Duke students to be exposed to ideas from the vantage point of different disciplines across the Humanities, Natural Sciences and Social Sciences. We offer 18 interdisciplinary clusters that nurture your intellectual curiosity and sense of academic adventure. Each cluster provides a range of interrelated seminars and features a community element while fulfilling your Duke curriculum requirements.

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Listen to the Focus Program Anthem and learn more about how the Anthem and Video were created.

Contact Us

Dr. Edna Andrews, Director of FOCUS
Phone: (919) 660-3142, or
(919) 660-3140

Dr. Yana Lowry, Assistant Director of FOCUS
Phone: (919) 684-9371

Denise Leathers, M.A., Senior Program Coordinator
Phone: (919) 684-9370

For Students

Your first year at Duke will include many experiences. To help you navigate through these, we offer a number of signature opportunities that promote active inquiry and engagement. The Focus Program is one such opportunity.

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For Parents

Our program is an excellent way for incoming students to get acclimated to campus life, explore a variety of disciplines, experience in- and outside-of-classroom learning, engage with faculty, and position themselves for future success.

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For Faculty

Duke Faculty find that teaching in the Focus Program is a rewarding experience. If you would like to be a part of this innovative program, or you would like to teach in a particular cluster, we would like to hear from you.

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The Duke FOCUS Application Process - A Step-by-Step Guide

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Visit our website ( before May 25th and click on the Apply Now button! 
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Select 4 clusters to apply to and enter your information, including your student ID number 
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Write an essay for each cluster. Focus on it being an accurate reflection of you! 
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Submit application and receive a confirmation email.*

(*if you don't receive your confirmation email, check your spam folder!) 
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Receive your FOCUS placement within 2 weeks

For more detailed information, visit How to Apply. And if you have any questions, email us at

Alumni Stories

"My FOCUS classes opened my eyes to a whole new perspective on the world and how we use our knowledge and education to give back to society. Being a part of FOCUS means that you will take classes with amazing professors and because of the small size…
"The Middle East & Islam in Global Contexts FOCUS cluster unequivocally shaped my Duke experience in profound ways..."
FOCUS has empowered me to pursue meaningful questions while building lifelong relationships. Analyzing educational inequities alongside the students in my cluster (Knowledge in the Service of Society) moved me to examine how similar issues might be…
"The KISS program motivated and supported me in my passion for teaching and educational equity my very first semester at Duke..."
"Being a part of such a community (FOCUS) allowed me to transition into Duke with great enthusiasm for the academic, social, and extra-curricular opportunities that were in store for me. It equipped me with the confidence in the classroom necessary…
"I wanted a university where I could explore my interests, test my values, and chart a course for a future after college. With a strong public policy program, renowned science departments, and distinct interdisciplinary spirit captured by programs…
"FOCUS broadened my understanding of a completely new area: the arts. As a PreMed student and Biology major, I was more comfortable with cell cultures than with creative writing. Being in FOCUS stretched me and challenged me, providing me with a…
"I came into Duke with a strong interest in healthcare, biology, and the government and struggled to reconcile my seemingly disparate interests. The Science and the Public cluster helped me broaden my interests and celebrate the interdisciplinary…
I wouldn’t be in my current profession without the inspiration and training FOCUS provided in my first year at Duke. My career path began in the Medieval and Renaissance FOCUS Cluster: classes on Shakespeare, Renaissance women’s writing, and…
"As a freshman arriving at Duke in 2001, I simply could not know how significant my experiences in the *Humanitarian Challenges at Home and Abroad* FOCUS Cluster would be for my future academic and career choices."
"FOCUS was electrifying. Thinking back on my time at Duke, FOCUS remains the strongest catalyzing force of my success..."
"Coming into Duke, I was unsure about how the Focus Program would affect my transition to college life. It was easily the best decision I made in my career thus far. I loved having all of my classmates living with me in the same dorm and being…