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 Application Deadline: December 15, 2018
  • Regular Application Deadline: January 15, 2019


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 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.

All applicants who wish to pursue a concurrent degree must submit an application to the other program as well, including those who are already enrolled in the independent MEM, MF, or other degree program.

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
  2. Application Fee
  3. Letters of Recommendation
  4. Transcripts
  5. Statement of Purpose
  6. Resume
  7. Required Essay: 15 Random Things About You
  8. Standardized Exams
  9. Prerequisites
  1. Online Application

    1. To begin your application, you will need to register a Duke OneLink account. If you have ever applied to another Duke University program, including the undergraduate program, chances are you already have a OneLink account, it may just need to be reactivated.
    2. If you choose to link your OneLink account to your social media, you must first log out of any existing social media accounts before attempting to link the two. If you need assistance creating a OneLink account or accessing your application, visit the OneLink Help Page.
    3. Start the application by answering some general identification and education questions.
    4. Attach the required supplemental documents.
    5. Pay the application fee and submit your application.
      1. Immediately upon submitting your application, please email if you are seeking to enroll as a Cooperative College (3-2) Program student. Please note that 3-2 applicants must complete all required prerequisites prior to matriculating in the fall. Additional application requirements for 3-2 applicants >
    6. Your application is not considered complete until all letters of recommendation are received. When all letters of recommendation are received, the review process will begin.
    7. You may track the status of your application within the Slate application portal.
  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 before submitting their application (we cannot reimburse fee payments).
  3. Letters of Recommendation
    Applicants are required to identify three individuals who can articulately write about their suitability for the program. Recommendation letters will not be accepted outside of the online portal. Applicants should notify their recommenders that letters are limited to one page in length.
  4. Transcripts
    Applicants 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. All transcripts submitted through the online application are considered unofficial. Official transcripts are not required, nor requested, until the applicant is admitted.  
  5. Statement of Purpose
    Describe your educational goals and post-degree professional goals, 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
    Your resume should highlight your strengths, skills, and accomplishments as accounted for in your personal, academic, and professional experiences.
  7. Required Essay: 15 Random Things About You
    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, 2018 so that we will receive scores in time. The admissions committee will review your application with self-reported scores, which you can enter within the application, but offers of admission and scholarship will not be made until official test scores are reported to Duke University through the associated testing service. It is highly recommended that applicants request official test score reports be sent prior to submitting an application.

    Because we match scores by an applicant's name, it is important your name on the application and your name on your test scores be the same. If it is not, you must update the other names section under Personal Information section of the application to facilitate the manual matching process. Please note: until you submit your application, the application status page will indicate that your test score reports (GRE, GMAT, and/or TOEFL) have not been received, even if they have. There is an automated score retrieval process which runs several times per week, and once the process runs your score report status(es) will be updated. Allow up to 5 business days for the update to be reflected on your application status page. If after 5 business days your score report status hasn't been updated, first verify you submitted your scores to the correct institution code (GRE: 5156; GMAT: Q13-N532) and, if so, please alert us by email as we may have to manually find and match your scores to your application.

    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. Application decisions will not be made until official scores are received by ETS. As a result, we urge you to take the GRE by December 1, 2018.  

    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.

    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.

    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, earned an undergraduate or master's degree from an English-only speaking institution, or have been working in the United States 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 Student 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 or WeChat 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.  

  9. Prerequisites
    Applicants are encouraged to review the prerequisite requirements before applying. 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 prerequisite coursework 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.