When you arrive at Duke, some of you who are planning to become physicians will change your mind and become philosophers, historians, scientists, engineers, attorneys, political scientists, and artists. Others of you who come to Duke with thoughts of becoming artists, political scientists, attorneys, engineers, scientists, historians, and philosophers will instead become physicians, dentists, veterinarians, nurses, or physical therapists.
As you begin your time at Duke ...
- Be open to opportunities
- Take time to explore
- Identify your strengths and passions and follow these in coursework and activities
- Find experiences that let you test your career goals
- And design a path that works for you
There are many ways to be involved in health care. Medical school, veterinary medicine, dentistry, physician assistant, physical therapy, and nursing programs all involve extensive science education and training and the ability to treat patients, but each brings with it different goals, lifestyles, and rewards. You might also consider pharmacy, hospital administration, research, clinical psychology, education, business, and other aspects of health care where you can capitalize on your strengths and passions and work in health care in a different way. Be open to new ideas. For more information on health careers in general, see ExploreHealthCareers.org and our "Info on Health Professions" handout in the Resources Section.
Exploring at Duke
There are many ways to be involved, learn about people, and the world we live in. For example:
Global Education for Undergraduates (GEO) oversees international and domestic study away programs. These range from study in South America, Europe and China to special focus in Policy Leadership and Innovation (Duke in DC Policy, Leadership, Innovation), and arts (Duke in NY Arts and Media). Nearly 50% of Duke students will study away at some time.
DukeEngage provides opportunities for civic engagement and service to others locally, nationally, and internationally. These eight week or more summer programs are fully funded and give you an opportunity to work in global health, education, social justice, community outreach and other areas. As of summer 2017, they report that they have supported student work in 600 community organizations in 37 cities in the US and in 79 nations.
The FHI Humanities Labs provides undergraduates a chance to work in social science research where they join an ongoing project with faculty and graduate student mentors.
Bass Connections similarly provides undergraduates with the ability to join a team of faculty and graduate students addressing pressing global issues (Brain & Society; Information, Society & Culture; Global Health; Education & Human Development; Energy).
The Career Center at Duke provides opportunities and advice on jobs, research opportunities, learning how to connect with employers and alumni, and exploration of graduate programs and health careers. They will help you begin a resume if you need one.
The Undergraduate Research Support Office has a wealth of information for undergraduates interested in research, from how to get started to finding opportunities at Duke and elsewhere.
When you find an area of study you are particularly interested in, check the website of that department or program. You will often find opportunities for study or ways to connect to faculty. Useful links: majors and minors (and links to each), certificates, Program II, Interdepartmental major, and Graduation with Distinction.
And when you want to get involved on campus, you can find a list of all the student organizations on campus at Duke Student Groups.