How Advising Works

How Advising Works

How Advising WorksWe view education as a partnership between our students, faculty and college advisors. Our shared goal is to inform, support, share and celebrate with you as you craft an educational experience that is just right for you.

Many individuals at Duke will help you explore ideas, choose classes and programs, evaluate your progress, fulfill major and graduation requirements, gain experience outside of the classroom, and get ready for your first job or further schooling. 

Learn more about the different types of advisors and advising below.

Academic Advising Center

How the Academic Advising Center Helps

The Academic Advising Center (AAC), located on East Campus where you will live as a first-year student, is your "academic home" until you choose your major. The AAC includes professional academic advisors, staff, and the Directors of Academic Engagement. Our sole job is to help you be successful at Duke. Learn more:

Your Advising Network

There is a whole network of people waiting to help you!

College Advisor

Your college advisor is the first intellectual mentor you meet after arriving for orientation, and you meet with her or him every semester until you join a major in your sophomore year and are assigned an advisor in your major department; many students, however, maintain a connection with their college advisor across all 4 years at Duke. Advisors are dedicated faculty and administrators, each of whom is prepared to help you in a variety of ways as you weigh your curricular and co-curricular choices and who can help connect you to faculty and other members of your advising network who can guide you further. The varied ways that advisors work to assist their students include the following:

  •  Making students ‘eligible’ to enroll each semester.
  • Providing information about curriculum requirements, policies, etc.
  • Helping students think about possible majors.
  • Helping students think about their educational and personal goals and how they want to contribute to the Duke community and beyond.
  • Alerting students to opportunities that may be a good fit for their interests and goals.
  • Challenging students to explore things they might not otherwise consider.
  • Connecting students with other people/resources that can help them.
Academic Dean working with Student

Academic Deans

How your Academic Dean Helps

Your academic dean will oversee your academic progress to graduation, provide insight and guidance on curriculum requirements and policies, assist when challenges arise and partner in their resolution, and provide wisdom and experience. Your dean can interface with instructors, advisors, and a variety of Duke offices, and so can serve as an advocate and counsel for you. Your dean will also field queries from faculty, parents, campus partners and others about Trinity College academic policies and procedures. You will be assigned to an academic dean as you enter Duke and you will remain with this dean until you graduate. For more information:

  • Notify you of academic honors (Deans’ List or Deans’ List with Distinction).
  • Listen, advise and mentor as you contemplate long-term plans
  • Approve participation in study away or DukeEngage.
  • Approve transfer credit.
  • Monitor your semester and annual progress to ensure that you meet academic continuation requirements, generally leading to graduation in four years (eight semesters).
  • When you are a senior, we confirim your successful fulfillment of general education and other graduation requirements and clear you to graduate.
  • Approve and implement changes in academic status (leave of absence, change in graduation date).
  • Provide support in times of serious illness or personal/family emergency (your dean can notify instructors, excuse absences, and explain available options to you).
  • Approve your request for course withdrawals, incompletes, absences from final exams, or waivers of academic policy due to extenuating circumstances,
  • Take necessary action if needed to ensure compliance with College expectations, including, as appropriate, sending warning letters about repetitive low grades, placement on probation, required summer school, and academic dismissal and suspension for academic or disciplinary reasons.
  • Field queries from faculty, parents, campus partners, and others about Trinity College academic policies and procedures.

Directors of Academic Engagement

How your Directors of Academic Engagement Help

Directors of academic engagement work with you to clarify your academic goals and connect you to opportunities for academic exploration within and beyond the traditional classroom. Learn more:

  • Serve as content specialists regarding academic opportunities in individual areas of expertise:
    • Arts and humanities
    • Global and civic opportunities
    • Natural and quantitative sciences
  • Meet by student request with Trinity and Pratt students of all majors and class years.
  • Arts/humanities DAE: Provides guidance about humanities courses and degree programs, humanities research and opportunities in the arts.
  • Global/civic DAEs: Provide guidance about global and civic engagement and interdisciplinary research.
  • Natural/quantitative sciences DAE: Provide guidance about science courses and degree programs, research and other co-curricular opportunities
  • Connect students with other prospective mentors on campus.
  • Foster reflection on completed and ongoing engagement experiences and guide planning for future experiences.
  • Advise incoming first-year students for fall registration during the summer before matriculation.
  • Maintain communication with departments and programs, continually building knowledge base in area of specialty.
  • Field questions from academic advisors and peer advisors related to area of expertise.

Peer Advisors

How Peer Advisors Help

Each year, 12-15 juniors and seniors volunteer to serve as peer advisors to first- and second-year students, offering the perspective of someone who has been before where you are now. Peer advisors can share with you how they formed meaningful mentoring relationships with faculty, help you navigate online registration and help you learn how to distinguish between what is merely popular and what is individually meaningful to you.

Preprofessional Advisors

How Preprofessional Advisors Help

Preprofessional Advisors are Academic Deans who specifically focus on advising students who anticipate attending medical school or other healthcare-oriented graduate programs, law school, or business careers. Students can and should talk with preprofessional advisors throughout their academic time at Duke, regardless of their major. In some cases, you may need to take courses outside what is required for your major in order to be competitive for graduate school or careers in your area of interest.

Faculty and Other Advising Partners

The Academic Advising Center strengthens its network of advising support through partnerships with other campus offices and faculty. Whether you need guidance in a specific area or would like to get in touch with a representative of a particular department or program, Duke offers a wealth of resources to provide the advice you need.

  • Academic tutors & coaches
  • Career counselors
  • Faculty
  • Psychological Counselors
  • Residence Hall Librarians
  • Residential Staff
  • Writing Tutors

Major Advisors

Once you have submitted your Long Range Plan and declared your major, you will either choose or be assigned an academic advisor in the department or program of your primary major. If you have a second major, you can request an advisor in that major as well. Speak to the undergraduate administrator or the director of undergraduate studies in your second major to make this request.

Directors of Undergraduate Studies

For more information on advising for a specific major, please contact the appropriate director of undergraduate studies listed in this DUS directory. A department’s DUS can also answer your questions when choosing a major and help you discover and engage with mentored research opportunities in the department.