How to Apply

Application Process 

The Focus Program (FOCUS) selects students by online application only and accepts on average 32 students per cluster. Early-decision students may start applying to the Focus Program in February and can apply until the deadline. Regular-admission incoming first-year students apply to the Focus Program during April and May. 

  • The online application for Fall 2024 clusters will open February 1, 2024 and close May 25, 2024.
  • FOCUS is rolling admissions, you will hear back about your placement within 2-3 weeks of applying.
  • The final date for all applicants to be notified of their placement status is June 15, 2024.

The application process is simple. In the online application, you will select four clusters (including course preferences) and answer a one- to two-question essay about your interest in the clusters. The Focus Program makes every effort to accommodate applicant preferences. You do not need to choose a discussion course because, if accepted to the cluster, you will be automatically enrolled in this course.

Students will be informed of the status of their application within two weeks of its submission. While early applications have the opportunity for early placement, places will remain available in all clusters for students who apply by May 25th.

Unfinished Applications

If you must close your application web page before you have completed it, you will need to log back in and start over entirely. Your application is not complete until it has been approved by you in Step 4 of the online process. All earlier work will be archived.

Application Instructions for 2024 

Starting the Application

Start the application process by going to the application

Student ID Number

The Student ID is a seven-digit number starting with 2. It can be found in the “Confirmation of Enrollment at Duke University” email that is sent within 24 hours of a student completing the online enrollment process. Students are given access to the online enrollment at the same time they access their admittance letter online.

Please contact the Duke University Admissions Office (919-684-3214) if you are unable to locate your seven-digit Student ID Number.


Please enter your preferred email address. You can use your Duke email address or another address. You will receive notices regarding the Focus Program and your application status at this address.

Cluster Choices

Please review the information and descriptions for the individual clusters. You must pick four separate clusters.

Remainder of 1st Page

Answer the rest of the questions as desired, indicating your t-shirt size and dietary preference/issues. If you have no dietary preferences, choose 'none'. If you choose 'other' then you will need to fill in the Dietary Needs box. Then click Next—>

2nd and 3rd Pages

Class Choice and Short-answer Questions: You will need to pick two different classes from within each cluster. Please provide a short answer to the question/s. You must answer all questions to continue your application. Essays are approximately 400 words. If you wish to change your program choice, you will need to press the <—Prev button to get back to the first page.

4th Page/Final Step

Review your answers very carefully. If you need to make a change, use the <—Prev button to go back to the appropriate page. Once you are happy with your answers, click Submit, and you will be taken to a Thank You page.


Application for Fall 2024 will begin on February 1, 2024 and close on May 25, 2024.

All changes to course enrollments are subject to approval by the Focus Program. You may not add or drop your Focus Program courses during the regular add/drop period. Please contact the Focus Program faculty of your cluster and the Focus Program staff if you wish to change your course schedule, at or 919-684-9370.

Withdrawal from the Focus Program is discouraged after registration has been completed and withdrawal during the add/drop period is not allowed. Students who want to withdraw must discuss this decision with the faculty director of their cluster.

Contact the FOCUS office

Phone: 919-684-9370