About Our Program

Reflecting our overall approach, the Duke Gap Year Program process is simple and flexible.

Students entering Duke as full-time first-year students are eligible to apply for the DGYP. Students participating in a gap year, whether through the DGYP or independently, will have their place in the following year’s class held for them as long as they agree to Duke’s conditions of deferral.

The DGYP is a selective program and we are interested in supporting students who participate in a gap year that encourages personal growth, provides opportunities for meaningful service and civic engagement and allows for an unusually deep exploration of one or more interests.

To learn more about Duke’s general gap year policies, visit admissions.duke.edu/gapyear.


Financial Support

Duke Gap Year Program applicants may request up to $15,000 in funding. Funding is limited, but we hope to make gap years more accessible to those who, financially, may not have been able to consider this opportunity previously.

An applicant’s plans for their gap year, as well as their overall financial need, will be considered during the selection and funding award process. We want to be as flexible as possible in allowing students to explore their interests in creative and personalized ways, but encourage students to include civic engagement and ethical service as a meaningful component of their gap year plans.

There are also some restrictions on how the funding may be used. While the following may comprise a part of your gap year, funding awarded from Duke may not contribute toward:

  • Mandatory military or religious service
  • Paid work
  • Personal business initiatives or start-ups
  • Medical deferrals

Some students who do not receive or do not request funding may still be admitted into the cohort and participate in other components of the Duke Gap Year Program, depending on the nature of their proposed gap year activities. Students interested in deferring their enrollment outside of the Duke Gap Year Program can request a gap year through the student portal.

Members of the Duke Gap Year Program will be expected to maintain regular contact with the Duke University Undergraduate Admissions Office, through the monthly blog and social media posts, as well as a mid-year and end of year reflection.

Members of the cohort receiving funding may also be asked to provide receipts from their programs, travel, and activities, confirming their expenses.

Funding is distributed via direct deposit or by check. Awards will not be considered in the student’s financial aid package; however, they will be considered reportable income for that tax year.

When the DGYP students arrive on campus for their first year, they will be expected to attend a “re-entry” session during their first semester. They will also be expected to serve as mentors to future cohorts of gap year students, providing advice, speaking about their gap year experience, and helping at admitted student events.

How To Apply

Admitted students will have access to the application in Spring 2022.

We do not expect students to have their gap year plans confirmed at the time of application, however, we do expect students to not only have a solid idea of what they hope to do, but also a budget outline and well-thought-out reason for their gap year.

Your completed application will help us understand how you intend to spend all of your gap year, not just the time during which Duke Gap Year Funds are being utilized. Please be sure to tell us your anticipated plans for the entire year before you arrive at Duke.

Deferring Your Enrollment

Students who are accepted will be asked to confirm their deferral after receiving the funding award and agree to the terms and conditions.

There are four rather simple conditions we ask of all students deferring their enrollment:

  • You will not apply for admission as a degree-seeking student to any other college or university during the remainder of this academic year or during the coming academic year.
  • You will not hold a place at any other college or university during the remainder of this academic year or during the coming academic year.
  • You will sign and have both your school counselor and your legal guardian sign the Terms & Conditions, including that no application materials, including high school transcripts in any form, will be submitted to any other university or college during your gap year period. You will return this form along with this signed Gap Year Agreement.
  • You will not enroll at another college or university as a degree-seeking or part-time student during the remainder of this academic year or during your gap year with the expectation of:
    • Receiving Duke credit for those courses
    • Repeating those courses at Duke for credit
    • You will not enroll in a post-graduate program at a secondary school.
    • You will abide by both the Conditions of Application and the conditions mentioned in your letter of admission. We expect you to maintain high standards of academic performance and personal behavior in and out of school, which includes abiding by our COMMUNITY STANDARD. If there is any change in the information in your application—including any academic, personal, disciplinary, or legal matters—you must contact the admissions office within 48 hours.

As a member of the Duke Gap Year Program, you will also be asked to:

  • Follow blog and social media expectations, including submitting at least six blog posts during your gap year.
  • Submit a mid-year and end-of-year report reflecting on your experiences.
  • Complete pre-departure and on-campus surveys for the Gap Year Research Consortium at Colorado College.
  • Once on campus following your gap year, participate in on-campus events and serve as a mentor to future DGYP cohorts.

If you are not accepted or do not apply to the Duke Gap Year Program, but still wish to take a gap year, you may request one through your student portal.