Before You Apply

Step 1 — Attend an Information Session

You must be a freshman, a sophomore, or a first-semester junior in Trinity College to apply to Program II.  Before you do, please explore the Program II website and attend one of the four information sessions we offer each year. If you can't attend an information session, please call or email Dean Rachael Murphey (see information to the right) who will be happy to speak with you about Program II and discuss your academic interests and whether Program II is appropriate for you. 

Step 2 — Find an Advisor

Before you actually prepare your formal application to Program II, it will be crucially important for you to meet with and get to know some of the faculty who share your academic interests. Such meetings should be face-to-face and give you an opportunity to present your evolving thinking about your topic and to ask pertinent questions. In general, your proposal should be developed with strong guidance from your advisor with regard to the intellectual merit of your theme, the appropriate courses, and options for research or capstone experiences.

Presumably, you will find a suitable Program II advisor among the faculty who teach courses in the areas outlined in your proposal. This person should be able to help you prepare a suitable final list of core courses for your program of study and revise your essay.

Your advisor must be a regular-rank faculty member in an academic department in Arts & Sciences. You may consider recruiting a secondary or co-advisor if your proposal is interdisciplinary and might benefit from faculty with different expertise. It is common, but not required, that your advisor would also be your research or capstone mentor. 

Once you have identified an advisor and a list of core courses, you should be ready to prepare a formal application to Program II. The application is organized in modules that can be worked on and completed in any order. You can save your work at any stage in the preparation of the application and return to your work at a later date.

Step 3 — Email for the Fall 2021 application instructions.

     The application instructions will include the following 6 modules:

  • Cover Page with Abstract. The title of your program of study should be descriptive and as short as possible while still conveying a sense of what your program is about.
  • List of Your 15-18 Core Courses. Your core course list will include those courses that enable you to explore your program topic thoroughly and well.  These courses form the core of your obligation to Program II. Please list all cross-listings for each course in your core list. Also, be sure to mark clearly the two courses that will constitute your required Senior Capstone Project.
  • Program II Long-Range Plan. In this module of your application, you will present your long-range plan as a Program II student. It consists of a semester-by-semester chronological listing of your undergraduate course work, including both past course work and courses you intend to take in future semesters. In it you will mark your core courses and the courses you propose to take to fulfill the breadth requirement.
  • Personal Statement (4-6 pages long). This is where you describe your proposed program of study and make your case for it. In it you should emphasize your reasons for wanting to study your topic, your learning objectives as a Program II student over the remainder of your time at Duke, and the role each of your core courses plays in realizing your learning objectives. Do not attempt to justify your program's utility in preparing you for a career. The Program II Committee is concerned about your intellectual development as a student at Duke.
  • Your Thought about a Two-Semester Senior Capstone Project (SCP). The Program II committee values the inclusion of an SCP as the culmination of your self-designed curriculum. It is a way for you to tie together the various strands that constitute your program of study. As a Program II student, you are expected to conduct a two-semester SCP  that enables you to explore a topic via a sustained, mentored project. This can take the form of an honors thesis or other research project or some other project that may include a laboratory or performance component.
  • Justification of the Title of Your Program II. In this module you will briefly describe why you have chosen to call your Program II by the title you have selected, explaining why you think it is a suitable description of the topic of your program of study.