Duke’s campus is extremely beautiful. When I’m throwing a Frisbee with my roommate, the gothic architecture makes us feel like we’re at Hogwarts. The greenery is incomparable. Not many universities have:
- An art museum (Nasher)
- Chapel with a 6,600 pipe organ
- A forest full of lemurs
- World-class medical center
- Expansive gardens on campus
If you decide to join the MMS program, you will enjoy the incredible scenery, but I highly recommend you bring a car or buy a scooter so you can cruise around everything the campus has to offer.
Many graduate students complain that Duke’s campus is too big and complicated. (Check out this detailed Duke map to get an idea of the layout.) There’s North Campus, East Campus, West Campus, and Central Campus that span nearly more than 8,000 acres. Like at many large universities, even with a car, it can be a hassle to commute since parking can be difficult. So if you decide to come to Duke, you should spend good money on a parking pass that will allow you access to many different parts of campus.
As a business student, I am lucky to spend time only in Fuqua. Nevertheless, I can’t imagine how inconvenient navigating campus can be for undergraduates. Many of them live on East Campus, but most classes are elsewhere. A bus from one side of campus to the other can take nearly 30 minutes because of all the stops. (Check out the schedule for Duke buses.)
I live off-campus (like most upperclassmen and graduate students). I don’t have a car. I have to catch a cab for job interviews, which take place at the Smith Warehouse near downtown. I hitch rides to class with people who live in my apartment complex. This make it especially tough to have a smooth night out during the weekends. Because everything is so spread out, my friends and I are constantly arguing over who’s going to drive, or whose turn it is to pay for the cab ride. During my first two months at Duke, I felt discouraged from going out altogether.
Duke has been working hard to provide solutions, though. The bus systems are efficient and prompt, servicing commuters on a regular schedule. Zipcars – with reasonable hourly and daily rental rates – are also available for students.
Just don’t come to campus expecting everything to easily be within walking distance. Prepare yourself for how vast and spread out it is, and if you can, come visit campus in advance. Fuqua campus visits, organized by the admissions office, are available nearly year-round.