We know moving to a new city and campus requires a lot of planning and logistics. On this page you will find some information to make that process a little easier.

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Housing for Grad Students

Duke graduate students generally look for housing off campus in an apartment or home. Looking for a place to live in a new city can feel daunting. Here are some helpful tips:

  • If you want to avoid driving to and parking on campus, you should try to look for a place either within a couple miles of where you will be taking your classes, or find a place within walking distance to a Duke Bus stop or the free Bull City Connector. Both buses generally stop at least 4x an hour during school hours.
  • You can look for rooms to rent and properties to rent on Duke's community housing site. There are many affordable options in the $500 - $1500 range.
  • Try to talk to someone on campus about the area you are going to rent in before you sign a lease. To find someone to talk to, get in touch with the Administrative Assistant for the Department you will be associated with. Or, ask a question to our Pratt Facebook community.
  • Sometimes space on campus is available for graduate students. If you are interested, you can apply here.

Graduate applicants with housing questions can contact a departmental administrative assistant:

BME • Kathy Barbour • 919-660-5132 • kathy.barbour@duke.edu

CEE • Ruby Carpenter • 919-660-5200 • ruby.carpenter@duke.edu

ECE • Samantha Morton • 919-660-5245 • samantha.morton@duke.edu

MEMS • Kathy Parrish • 919-660-5310 • kparrish@duke.edu

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Dining At Duke

There are over 30 great places to dine on Duke's campus. The closest eateries to the engineering buildings are:

  • Twinnie's Irish Pub which offers great coffee, hot breakfast and pasteries and made to order sandwhiches.
  • Blue Express which offers hot and cold meals including grilled sandwhiches, pizza, salads and hearty entrees. Blue Express also has microwaves available if you bring your lunch to school.

Vegetarians and Vegans

Be sure to check out these Duke resources and groups. One near by dining choice with some great healthy vegetarian and vegan meals is the environmentally friendly Refectory Cafe which is near the engineering buildings in the Divinity School.

Plans and Points

All Duke eateries take Food Points and Plans with your ID card. Most also take cash or credit cards. There are also some delivery and non-delivery Durham restaurants that take Duke points as payment for late study sessions.

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Medical Insurance for Students

All students are required to maintain adequate medical health insurance during their enrollment at Duke University. Enrollment in the Duke Student Insurance Plan can be waived if your alternative plan meets specific criteria. If enrollment in the Duke Student Medical Insurance plan is not waived, enrollment in the Duke plan will be automatic. For all international students holding a F1 or J1 visa, the enrollment is mandatory.

Can I Waive Insurance? A Student might waive if:

  • The Claims administrator is based in the United States and has a US telephone number and address for submission of claims
  • The plan provides both emergency and non-emergency health care and mental health benefits in the Durham, N.C. area
  • Out of state Medicaid and state Children’s Health Insurance Plans do not cover non-emergency care in Durham
  • The plan has participating hospitals, physicians, pharmacies, and mental health providers in the Durham, NC area to include Duke Medicine
  • The plan provides inpatient and outpatient mental health care (with at least 30 visits per year) and chemical dependency benefits are comparable to the coverage provided by the Duke SMIP
  • The plan provides coverage for prescription medication
  • The lifetime benefit is at least $500,000 or more

Please direct all health insurance related questions to:
Anna Salinas
Manager, Student Health Insurance

Duke Student Health Center

If you are enrolled in a program that requires the payment of the student health fee, the student health center is a source for general medical care, basic nutrition counseling, immunizations, allergies, etc. Most services are covered by the student health fee. Check with them for details.

Medical Care Related Links

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Area Transportation

Students who live on campus or near campus and don't need to leave often can get around Durham without a car. The Bull City Connector, a free bus, takes students between campus and downtown Durham. The Duke buses travel between east campus, west campus and UNC in Chapel Hill.

One helpful resource for students without cars is the Zip Cars available on west campus to anyone over 18. Zip Cars are rentals available on an hourly and a daily basis. You need a membership to use them.

Most students living off campus will likely want a car to get around. While there is public transportation in Durham, most residents need the flexability of a car. Lots of people bike on campus, but in general the roads in Durham have narrow shoulders and there aren't many paved biking or walking trails for commuters.

Duke Safe Ride Van Services

Duke Safe Rides are available to all students, faculty and staff and provide safe rides to locations without bus service within the van service boundaries during times.

Getting to and from Duke and Durham

Duke University is located about 20mns from the RDU international airport. In general, you will need to grab a cab to Duke or find a ride to and from RDU, but during Fall Break, Spring Break, and Thanksgiving free shuttles from campus are available.

There is also a Greyhound and Amtrak station near by.

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Parking at Duke

Parking on Duke's campus requires a permit. Many options are available in various locations and price ranges. Metered parking is available at multiple locations on campus. It is not safe to park on the street on campus as you may be ticketed.

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Grads with Families

Spouses and Partners

Spouses or same sex spousal equivalents of graduate students and employees can get a Duke ID card which allows access to residence halls, academic buildings, recreational facilities, athletic events and parking gates. Spouses of undergraduate students are not eligible.

The Duke International House welcomes all relocating Spouses/Partners both International and US, male or female to their support network which includes a mailing list and events.

Child Care

Duke Partnership Child Care Centers offer priority placement to Duke students, faculty and staff. Partnership Centers must maintain a four or five star license and be in good standing with the North Carolina and Child Care Services Association.


On campus housing does not allow pets except for fish. If you have pets you need to bring, be sure to find off campus housing that allows them. Dogs can be walked on a leash on campus. Durham does have some dogs parks available and there are many great hiking trails near by.