About DKU

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Duke Kunshan University is an innovative educational institution that seeks to develop and practice new modes of teaching and learning, while providing a Duke-quality academic environment specifically designed for our global world. Duke Kunshan faculty and students are distinguished by their joint desire for deep intellectual stimulation and engagement as they explore new approaches to global challenges. Diversity of backgrounds, intellectual curiosity, flexibility to innovate and explore unique interests, and close mentorship from leading scholars and researchers are natural features of Duke Kunshan’s close-knit community.

Duke Kunshan University was established in 2013 as a joint venture university, through a partnership between Duke University and Wuhan University. China’s leaders identified world-class higher education as essential to the development of its next generation of innovators and thinkers. Duke Kunshan is one of ten international joint venture institutions approved by the Chinese Ministry of Education to deliver top-quality education blending Western and Asian tradition to students from China and around the world.

A dynamic hub for technical innovation, the city of Kunshan is an important collaborator in the Duke Kunshan initiative. Steeped in traditional local culture yet sustaining a strong, modern economy, Kunshan recognizes higher education as a critical gateway to continued growth and technological progress in the region. The city plays an active role in the ongoing development of Duke Kunshan, committing considerable financial investment and support to the project.

As a vibrant residential campus, Duke Kunshan University encourages the exchange of ideas and continuous learning and growth in the classroom and beyond. The environment blends traditional Chinese elements with advanced educational technology in a spacious, modern setting. Extensive aquatic elements, including an aquatic quadrangle at the center of campus, symbolize the region’s famous water towns. Leading information technology and telepresence systems provide instant connections to colleagues and classmates around the world with unfettered internet access.

The campus is a model of sustainable development, reflective of the natural and cultural context of the Jiangnan region, featuring:

  • Native Wetlands: The campus includes 40 acres of preserved wetlands, reflective of the local geography—much in the way that Duke’s Durham campus sits within a preserved forest.
  • Energy Efficiency: The campus design’s use of daylight, solar shading, passive cooling, and natural flood control is informed by centuries of experience dealing with the opportunities and challenges of Kunshan’s climate and terrain. Duke Kunshan University is the first university campus in China to receive LEED certification, with buildings rated LEED Gold and LEED Silver.
  • A Walkable Campus: Roadways on the perimeter create a pedestrian-friendly central campus with walking paths and bridges connecting the buildings.
  • Regional Connections: Kunshan’s location between Shanghai and Suzhou allows easy access to these major metropolitan centers by highways and high-speed railway.

Read more about Duke Kunshan University

Where DKU Came From


In a speech to Duke Kunshan's inaugural freshman class, Duke president emeritus Richard Brodhead told the story of how Duke Kunshan came to be. Read the transcript of the speech here.

A Brief History of DKU

This video highlights the key moments in Duke Kunshan's history. The video was shown at the Opening Convocation for the inaugural undergraduate class on August 14th, 2018.