Frequently Asked Questions

Are any graduate assistantships or stipends available for the campus program?

The program does not offer any assistantships or stipends, though a limited number of fellowships are available to US citizens and permanent residents. This degree is a professional degree rather than a research degree; thus, most students pay their own tuition costs. Many of our students take out loans and feel there will be an excellent "return on investment" when they get out into the work force. Other students work part-time while enrolled in the program. 

Are MEM students eligible for Resident Assistant positions? What are the benefits? How do I apply?

A Resident Advisor is an on-campus work position in which a student lives on campus and serves as an advisor to other students living on campus. 

Perks include: free housing with a meal plan included, on-campus location so very convenient getting to and from class, and a small stipend. Students report that it's a great option!

Time commitment can range depending on weekly responsibilities. RA's are expected to be on-call during certain times over the semester and hold programming events for their residents. Overall, RA's foster community-building, safety, and a positive atmosphere for their residents.

Applicants find out about their acceptance into the RA or GR role before they hear back from MEM, but that is not an issue.

The interview process involves a few short essay questions, submitting a recommendation, and an on-campus interview (which can be done over the phone/Skype).

Read more at  

As a graduate student, can I get men's basketball tickets?

Graduate and professional students are allocated a certain number of tickets each year, and tickets are distributed based on a weekend campout and lottery. Those selected by the lottery have the right to purchase a season pass to the men's home basketball games. See for further information.

Per rules established by Duke's Graduate and Professional Student Council, only full-time Duke University graduate and professional students who have paid student activity fees by a certain date each year are eligible to participate in the campout and lottery.  

As an international student, the program provides flexibility to stay a third or fourth semester. Is this recommended?

As an international student, staying a third or fourth semester should be based on your academic interests and career goals. If there are courses that you did not have the time to take within the one year time period, or if you feel that four courses per semester coupled with our workshop and seminar series would overload you, then, by all means, you should stay a third or fourth semester.

Please note that the program cannot allow academic decisions to be based on whether or not an international student has yet found a job or wants to change the timing of training extensions. This means that if you choose to stay an extra semester or two, you must continue to take classes as a full time student and cannot simply stay to continue your job search. Full time means that you must register for at least three 3 courses worth a minimum of 9 total credits.

See additional information.

As an international student, will I be able to get a job in the U.S. after graduation?

Maybe, but it is not at all guaranteed and it is not easy! It takes a lot of effort, and in addition, there are many factors that are beyond a student’s control or the control of the program. Although the program teaches career development and assists with job searches, its primary function is education, not job placement. What students learn in the program will help them throughout their career and will provide very important skills to assist them in almost any job.

On the other hand, if students are coming to the program primarily to find a job in the U.S., they should reconsider. Visa restrictions, timing of practical training extensions and the overall economy all impact the probability of finding a job in the U.S. after graduation. The knowledge and skills gained in the program will help international students in jobs within their home country and this avenue for employment after graduation is encouraged.

Keep in mind that finding a job is the student’s responsibility. It is a time-intensive activity that requires significant skills which most students have not yet mastered when they join the program. These skills will benefit students throughout their careers, but take time to develop. The program is committed to helping students develop these skills and helping students understand career development in general (in fact, we believe our program has one of the most comprehensive career development and job search programs available), but it is the student’s responsibility to find a job. Be prepared to work hard and take advantage of available resources.

Can campus students specialize in a specific area of engineering?

The MEM Campus Option offers many focus areas that allow students to focus on a technical field or industry segment, but we do not require these. Students are free to tailor their technical electives to their interests.

Can graduate classes at another university be used for Duke's MEM degree?

Graduate courses taken at other schools may be used, with the MEM Director's permission, to fulfill Duke's core required courses (including Law, Marketing, Management, and Finance), but all students are required to take 8 total courses at Duke, plus the internship requirement and two semesters of the seminar/workshop series (campus) or three residency sessions (distance). For example, if a student has taken a course that satisfies the requirements of a core course, then the student would only have to take the 3 remaining core courses and could then take 5 technical electives instead of the usual 4. 

In short, previous graduate courses may give students a bit more leeway in the types of courses taken at Duke, but they do not decrease the total number required for the degree. 

Can I join the program in the spring?

The MEM campus program accepts students in the spring, and though the majority of students enter in the fall, previous spring entrants have not had any problems integrating into the program. The program's primary career development activities are initiated in August at the beginning of the fall semester, but spring semester entrants are given the same attention related to career services on Duke's campus and developing one's "toolkit" for creating an optimal job search.  During Orientation, students who begin in the spring spend a day with the MEM career coaches to assess their career interests and learn how to pursue their career goals with what Duke has to offer.  Additionally, students who begin in the spring often search for summer internships during their first semester followed by a search for a full time position in the following fall semester.

Please note that international students who enter in spring are required to be enrolled full-time for the spring semester and the following fall semester before becoming eligible to apply for off-campus work authorization. Additional information is available here.

Distance students may only start in the fall semester, as they are required to attend an orientation residency before beginning classes.

Can international campus students who enter in January complete an internship in the United States during the following summer term?

No, not usually. The US Department of Homeland Security requires that international students be enrolled full-time in and complete two semesters of coursework in F-1 status before applying for off-campus work authorization, commonly called Curricular Practical Training (CPT). Students who start the MEM program in the fall in F-1 status meet this requirement. However, students who begin the program in January in F-1 status are required to be enrolled full-time for the spring semester and the following fall semester before becoming eligible to apply for off-campus work authorization. They may then apply for CPT for the following spring semester, or they may choose to continue as a full-time student in the following spring semester and apply for CPT for the following summer.

Can students move from the campus option to the distance option and vice versa?

Yes. Students in good standing can move from one option to the other with approval from program administrators, as the primary difference will be the method of delivery for the content.

Can students take classes during the summer?

No. In general, we don’t offer any classes in the summer because that’s when our campus students complete their internship requirement.

Can students take longer than one year to complete the campus program?

Yes, this is a possibility for both fall and spring entrants, but Career Services has found that staying a third semester does not improve a student's chances for employment. Instead, consider extending the program if you

  • would like take fewer courses to leave more time to adjust to the program or for the wide variety of activities that Duke offers.
  • want to take additional courses. Note that additional courses beyond the eight required courses may be charged additional tuition.

If a student would like to prolong the program, they must speak to a program administrator so that correct tuition is charged and registration limits are set.

Can students take more than 8 courses?

Yes, students can take more than 8 courses. Campus students may take up to five courses in a semester under the flat semester tuition fee. Distance candidates will incur additional per-course tuition costs for additional classes.

Does Duke arrange internships for students?

No, students are responsible for finding and establishing their own internships, though there are several resources that can help in the search. Students who are still enrolled in undergraduate study are encouraged to use their institution’s career center, and current MEM students should work with the MEM Career Services team. Read more.

Does Duke have an agreement with the Navy Nuclear Power Program?

Yes. Since 2005, Duke and the United States Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program have partnered to enroll nuclear-trained Navy officers in the Master of Engineering Management Program. Read more about the agreement here.

Does the program require work experience?

The program is designed for students with five years or less of full-time work experience, including new graduates with no experience. Generally, our campus students tend to join the program directly after receiving their undergraduate degree, though some have returned to school after spending some time in the workforce. Our distance students usually have between 1 and 5 years of experience.

The program provides a rewarding educational experience whether or not you have work experience. For those without work experience, you have the opportunity to work on teams with individuals that have often faced some of the challenges that are being discussed in class. These experienced classmates can share their own experiences and can help you understand that material better.

For those with work experience, it provides an opportunity to reflect on what you are learning and relate it to your previous experience. A key question to ask yourself is "with this new understanding, how would I address the situation differently?" It also provides the opportunity to mentor some of your less experienced classmates. Mentoring allows you to work on developing your skills to lead and manage other technical professionals.

How can I compare the campus program and the distance options to see which is right for me?

Download a quick comparison of the two options.

Both the campus and distance options award the same Master of Engineering Management degree, and campus and distance students take the same courses with the same faculty.  The difference between the two options includes the method by which information is disseminated to students and the flexibility of the degree.   d-MEMP students take courses on their own schedules via distance learning and come to our campus for three one-week residencies over the course of two years. The courses are recorded using Panopto software, and are accessible for live or delayed viewing via the internet. Professors determine what other collaboration technologies and tools they want to use for their specific courses, like Skype, Adobe Connect, etc. One key factor is that both campus and distance students take courses together, so d-MEMP students work with campus students on a team in courses like marketing, management, project management, etc.   The residencies allow d-MEMP students to connect with faculty, each other, and the campus students who will be in their classes as well. The residencies also enable d-MEMP students to satisfy our seminar and workshop requirements, which campus student satisfy by attending weekly seminars and monthly workshops.   An advantage the campus program has over d-MEMP is the greater flexibility in choosing technical electives. d-MEMP students are limited to the course selection for technical electives and focus areas.  This is not a problem for the d-MEMP student who is interested in operations and supply chain management, financial engineering, or commercialization and innovation, but we offer many other tracks in the campus program – see our campus focus area list.   But while traditional campus students can start the program in fall or spring, d-MEMP students can only start in the fall – this coincides with the first of three required residency weeks.   Overall, it depends on a student’s needs – is course flexibility important, and can the student take a year off to come to our Durham campus? Or does his/her interest align with one of our d-MEMP tracks, and can s/he take three weeks off from work in the next two years? (An example residency schedule would be a week in August Year 1, July Year 2, and May Year 2 – graduation.)

How do campus applicants apply for a fellowship?

There is no separate application for fellowships within the MEM Program. Information is gleaned from the MEM application and used to award fellowships.

How do I apply for TA, RA, or other on-campus part-time jobs?

Most campus positions are generally posted and filled just a week or two before classes begin each semester. Alternatively, students may contact the Director of Graduate Studies in various departments for information on available teaching assistant or research assistant jobs.

How do students gain approval for classes outside the Pratt School of Engineering?

The MEM Program maintains a list of approved courses outside of the Pratt School of Engineering, and most of these courses are listed as part of a focus area. If a student would like to take a course outside of the Pratt School of Engineering that is not on the approved courses list, they may submit a request to the program's executive director with the following information.

  • What is the title and number of the desired course?
  • What is the content of the desired course?
  • Why is this course good for the student’s career in Engineering Management?
  • Any other reasons why the student feels this course should be used as a substitute for an engineering course

If this course is approved and is at N.C. State University or the University of North Carolina, the student will need to complete an Inter-Institutional form obtained from the MEM program office.

Is Duke's MEM program a STEM degree?

Yes, the MEM Program is STEM-designated degree program. You can apply for OPT for 12 months and then apply for a 17 month STEM extension so that would be 29 months total.  If you would like more information, please visit

Is tuition billed on per course basis or as a flat fee?

Campus tuition is based on a flat fee per semester, based on 4 courses. d-MEMP tuition is based on a flat fee per semester, based on 2 courses.

Tuition can alternatively be billed per course if students decides to take fewer classes during the semester, but courses beyond the eight will likely incur additional tuition costs.

On average, how much time do full-time campus students invest in the MEM program each week?

It’s difficult to estimate the average number of hours students should expect to spend on the MEM program without considering each student's motivation, study habits, and ability. In engineering terms, the average is not very meaningful because the standard deviation is quite large. The key is that the campus option is meant to be a full-time intensive program, and because it is only one year in duration, it’s expected to take students more than 40 hours of schoolwork per week. Some average students spend about 50 hours per week, while some of the brightest students put in 60 hours or more in a week. However, many campus students are able to work part time and still maintain a full course load. Others are very active in extracurricular activities. Thus, it is clearly very dependent on the student.

Where I can find information on housing?

Duke maintains information on on-campus and off-campus housing for graduate students. Please note that on-campus housing for graduate students is limited due to Duke's commitment to providing undergraduates with four years of on-campus housing.

Duke's International House assists international students with acclimating to life in the US, and they maintain a housing list of complexes near Duke.  Of those files listed, choose "West Campus Area", which is near the MEM Program's campus location.  The list includes information on pricing and lease terms, and you should look for those complexes labeled "Yes" under "Walk to Duke?" and/or "SafeRides?" for those closest to campus.

Please use the search function in the upper right to search "Housing", and you'll find results from our Admitted Student Days, which included presentations on housing.

Why does Duke’s MEM program use a case-study teaching model?

The Case-Study method supplements standard classroom instruction in Duke’s MEM Program’s business courses. The program uses this method because it places students in a complex, real-world situation where they use their knowledge, understanding, and analytical skills to decide on a course of action. Case studies are an excellent method for students to apply concepts that are being taught. Students benefit from case-study learning through individual analysis of the case and through group discussion of the case.

In the individual analysis, students must first figure out the problem, which is sometimes stated, sometimes inferred. Additionally, there are often several problems, and the student must prioritize the ones where action will have the most impact. Problem definition is often the most challenging aspect of a case. The clarity of the problem definition is directly related to the effectiveness of the defined actions. Next, the student must understand the assumptions and decide whether they are reasonable. Challenging the assumptions may open up new courses of action that had not been considered previously. Next, the student must analyze the facts and determine their significance. In most situations, students will wish they had more information. However, part of this learning process is to become comfortable with making decisions under conditions of uncertainty and ambiguity. Next, students must consider alternative courses of action. In most situations, the student will want to view the problem from multiple perspectives and then select the preferred approach and develop a detailed course of action.

Group discussions are an equally valuable part of the learning process. In these situations, students will be exposed to the perspectives and insights of others. Students will hear how others choice of assumptions, priorities, and actions might have differed from his/her own. Students will learn to listen to others to gain from their insights. Students will also learn to present, defend, and persuade others to see his/her point of view. Ultimately, students will need to learn to work together as a group to come to agreement on how to proceed while still respecting the differing opinions within the team.

The overall purpose of the case study method is to integrate business concepts and real world situations so that students develop a structured, disciplined decision making process that they will be able to apply throughout their careers. Additionally, it prepares students to be able to articulate and justify their decisions. It also provides students with the experience and knowledge to analyze and assess the decisions of others.