Application Materials & Requirements (On-Campus Program)

The following information is for applicants wishing to pursue a Master’s degree (MEM or MF) at our North Carolina campus.


Priority Deadline date is December 15. We encourage applicants to apply early for full financial aid consideration. Regular application deadline date is January 15. 


To be considered for admission to the Nicholas School requires that the applicant has a four-year bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university or have completed at least three years of study in an institution participating in the Cooperative College (3-2) Program (prior to matriculation at the Nicholas School).

We also expect that applicants will have:

  • Some previous training in the natural or social sciences related to your area of interest;
  • At least one semester of college calculus; and
  • A college statistics course that includes descriptive statistics, probability distributions, hypothesis testing, confidence intervals, correlation, simple linear regression, and simple ANOVAs.
  • Additional coursework may be required or recommended; click here.

All students who wish to pursue an MEM/MBA or MF/MBA degree must apply directly to the concurrent program, including those who are already enrolled in the independent MEM, MF, or MBA programs.

Applicants who have three-year undergraduate degrees must complete a fourth year of study to be considered for admission.


You should plan to provide the following materials. Please contact us with any questions. 

  1. Online Application

    1. Our application is part of ChooseDuke, a university-wide system for applicants. To begin your application to Duke Nicholas School, you will need to create an account at:
    2. *You must log out of any existing social media accounts before attempting to create a Duke social media login. If you need assistance with social media account creation or logging in to ChooseDuke, you may contact our office at or request help from our Applicant Help Desk at
    3. The system requires you to submit information in 3 sections (General Information, Supplemental Materials, and Recommendations) in order to complete your application. The first step is to answer all required questions and to submit the application form.
    4. The online application and fee must be submitted before you can upload required supplemental materials. Supplemental materials such as unofficial transcripts, essays, and resume can only be uploaded once your application and fee are submitted.
  2. Application Fee
    A non-refundable application fee of $80 is required of all applicants. You may pay via credit card when submitting your online application. Peace Corps, AmeriCorps, City Year, or Teach for America alumni, as well as active duty military and veterans, may request an application fee waiver. If you meet any of these qualifiers, please send an official verification document from the organization to Please note that it may take up to 10 days for review and decision.
  3. Letters of Recommendation
    Each applicant is required to submit three letters of recommendation along with the recommendation forms included in the online application. Please note that each letter of recommendation is limited to 2000 characters.
  4. Transcripts
    Students must submit transcripts for all colleges and universities attended. If your school does not post fall grades until after January, please submit your most current transcripts, including all courses in progress.
    Official vs. Unofficial Transcripts
    We accept both official and unofficial transcripts when reviewing your application.

    Official transcripts should be in sealed envelopes that have been signed or sealed across the flap by the registrar of the institution attended. If the original is not in English, you must also provide a certified English translation. Please mail official transcripts to the address at the bottom of this page. If your undergraduate institution uses eSCRIP-SAFE International (or similar agent) to deliver official transcripts, please ask the university registrar to forward your official transcript to

    Unofficial transcripts may be submitted through the online application.  All transcripts submitted through the online application are considered unofficial. 

  5. Personal Statement
    Describe both your educational and professional goals post MEM/MF, and how Duke can prepare you to achieve those objectives.   What experiences make you a good match for Duke, and how will you contribute to the Nicholas School of the Environment community?  Your personal statement may not exceed 500 words.
  6. Resume
    You must submit a resume that highlights your strengths, skills, and accomplishments as accounted for in your personal, academic, and professional experiences.
  7. Required essay: 15 Random Things About Yourself
    The Nicholas School of the Environment wants to get to know you–beyond just the professional and academic achievements you’ve already listed in your resume and transcript. This is your opportunity to tell us anything that helps us to understand what makes you who you are. Share with us your list of "15 Random Things" about YOU. Present your response in list form from 1-15. Some points may be only a few words and some may be longer. The complete list should not exceed two pages.
  8. Standardized Exams
    Depending on your background and your intended program, you must provide results from the following standardized exams. Applicants should take the tests by Dec. 1, 2017 so that we will receive your scores in time. After completing the application form, you will be prompted to go to the ‘Complete Required Documents’ section. If available, please upload a scanned copy of your test scores (GRE, GMAT, IELTS, and/or TOEFL) in addition to having scores reported to Duke University, as required per each test instructions.

    With few exceptions, all applicants must provide an official Graduate Record Exam (GRE) score that includes the verbal, quantitative, and analytical/writing assessment components. Subject tests are not required. Scores should be reported to Duke University’s institution code 5156; there is no department code. You must have taken the GRE within five years of the date of the application. Applications will not be reviewed until official scores are received by ETS. As a result, we urge you to take the GRE by December 1, 2017.  

    Applicants to the joint MEM/MBA or MF/MBA program are permitted to submit a Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) score instead of a GRE score. Official GMAT scores should be reported to Duke University’s institution code Q13-N532.

    English as a Second Language
    If your native language is not English, you must submit an official score on either the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) exam. This requirement is waived if you earned your undergraduate degree in the United States or have been working in this country for two years or more. Official TOEFL scores should be reported to Duke University’s institution code 5156; there is no department code. Official IELTS scores should be mailed to the Office of Academic and Enrollment Services, Nicholas School of the Environment, Box 90330, Durham, NC 27708.

    Any student whose first language is not English may be required to participate in a Skype interview to evaluate spoken English language ability. The interview results will be included in the application reviewed by the Admissions and Awards Committee.

    If your TOEFL or IELTS score is low, you may be accepted on the provision that you complete an intensive English language program in the United States prior to enrollment. Non-native English speakers will be required to take proficiency exams in written and spoken English during orientation week; depending on your scores, you may be required to enroll in additional English language instruction. You should be prepared to assume all costs for any required English tutoring and may need to reduce your course or research work while being tutored. Find more information for international applicants here.

    LSAT Applicants intending to pursue a MEM or MF degree concurrently with a JD (Juris Doctorate) must submit an official Law School Admission Test (LSAT) score to the Duke School of Law AND an official GRE score to the Nicholas School. Official GRE scores should be reported to Duke University’s institution code 5156; there is no department code.

  9. Prerequisites
    Applicants are encouraged to review the prerequisite requirements page before applying, click here. Students may apply for admission with prerequisites deficiences. However, if admitted, may only enroll with one required prerequisite deficiency, which must be completed in the first year of enrollment preferably in the fall. In general, we strongly urge all students to complete all prerequisites course work prior to matriculation. 

Admissions Interview - If requested, you may be required to participate in a brief admissions interview as part of the application process. All interviews will be conducted in a virtual (online) setting. Details will be communicated to participants.


Duke University is committed to encouraging and sustaining a learning and work community that is free from prohibited discrimination and harassment. The university prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, disability, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, sex, genetic information, or age in the administration of its educational policies, admission policies, financial aid, employment, or any other university program or activity. The university also makes good faith efforts to recruit, employ and promote qualified minorities, women, individuals with disabilities, and veterans. It admits qualified students to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students. 

The university also does not tolerate harassment of any kind. Sexual harassment and sexual misconduct are forms of sex discrimination and prohibited by the university. Duke University has designated Dr. Benjamin D. Reese, Vice-President of the Office for Institutional Equity, as the individual responsible for the coordination and administration of its nondiscrimination and harassment policies. The Office for Institutional Equity is located in Smith Warehouse, 114 S. Buchanan Blvd., Bay 8, Durham, North Carolina 27708. Dr. Reese’s office telephone number is (919) 684-8222 and his email address is

Questions or comments about harassment or discrimination can be directed to the Office for Institutional Equity, (919) 684‐8222. Additional information, including the complete text of the harassment policy and appropriate complaint procedures, may be found by contacting the Office for Institutional Equity or visit their website here. For further information on notice of nondiscrimination, you can contact the appropriate federal office by visiting their website, click here for the address and phone number of the office that serves your area, or call 1 (800) 421-3481.