The Focus Program (FOCUS)

Focus students in NY in front of fountain

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 (FOCUS) is one such opportunity.

The Focus Program is an interdisciplinary learning and living experience with benefits that last a lifetime. Students in the program work together with faculty to apply multiple disciplinary perspectives on a common theme or topic within a cluster.

In FOCUS, you are

  • Exposed to many disciplines and topics right away to help you consider different majors
  • Placed in a unique residential opportunity that nurtures collaborative study in small communities of students
  • Given non-classroom experiences through service learning, field trips, and other activities

But the opportunities FOCUS provide go well beyond these. You’ll kick-start your college career, forge life-long friendships with your fellow students, gain mentoring from FOCUS faculty, and so much more.

Are You a FOCUS Student?

The Focus Program admits about 20-25% of the incoming first-year Duke class. Students accepted into the program are:

  • Intellectually curious. They are looking for answers to deceptively simple questions. They strive for excellence and choose active involvement over passive learning.
  • Open to an interdisciplinary approach to study. They seek to understand how scholarly disciplines interconnect, and how they have an impact locally and globally.
  • Seeking to develop as scholars. They understand that learning is a process, not a result, and that the traits developed early in college will shape future academic and career endeavors.
  • Self-motivated. While the small class size allows close interaction and attention from the professor, FOCUS students work both independently and collaboratively. They are responsible for their individual academic pursuits and for contributing to the overall intellectual experience of their seminar group.
  • Eager to work closely with faculty. Our students participate with professors in research and welcome scholarly challenges.