Helpful Hints to Complete Application

Beginning the Application Process

Begin formalizing a proposal by making a list of your goals and areas of academic interest. Once you’ve formulated a theme for your Program II, you can refer to the Bulletin of Undergraduate Instruction and the Schedule of Courses on DukeHub to select courses that correspond to your interests. The courses may be from various departments or programs.

Your proposal will be evaluated based on 1) whether you have articulated a coherent academic plan that has the breadth and depth of a major. 2) whether your course list supports and will help you achieve your designated learning objectives. Each course should be discussed for what it adds to your intellectual growth and scholarship. 3) Whether your proposal could be achieved via Program 1 or an IDM. 4) A strong letter of support from your advisor.

Finding an Advisor

As someone interested in applying for Program II, you may have already consulted with or sought advice from one or more members of the faculty. If so, perhaps one of these persons is willing to serve as your advisor. Presumably, your advisor will be drawn from a list of professors teaching courses related to or having intellectual interests similar to your own.

Your advisor must be a regular rank faculty member. He/She should also be knowledgeable in your areas of interest and enthusiastic about your program. Ask your advisor to help you define and refine your theme and to critique your personal statement. Dean Murphey, Program II Committee members, and students in the program may offer further suggestions.

Note: Before proceeding very far with your idea for a Program II program of study, please be sure to meet with Dean Murphey to discuss your topic and to get her suggestions for enhancing its prospects of a successful review by the Program II Committee.

The Breadth Requirement

Program II is not a creative way to avoid the general educations requirements for graduation in Trinity College. Breadth is expected in Program II, as it is in Program I, and your proposed curriculum must demonstrate breadth. Courses that contribute to breadth may be core courses and/or elective courses.

The Application Itself

The application instructions consist of six modules that you are expected to complete:

  1. Cover Page. Here you will enter important information about yourself, your advisor, the DUS of your sponsoring department, and your proposed program, including an abstract of your proposal.
  2. List of Core Courses. These are the courses that you are proposing to take to develop and explore in-depth the topic of your Program II.
  3. Long-Range Plan, where you list semester-by-semester the courses you have already taken and plan to take in the future. It will include all of your 15-18 core courses. It should also specify how you will satisfy the requirement for breadth comparable with that of Program I.
  4. Personal Statement. This is your chance to communicate your educational goals and justify the selection of courses you propose to take in fulfilling these goals. The essay should demonstrate how these courses drawn from various departments are integrated into a cohesive program. It’s not generally helpful to the Program II Committee to list courses with Bulletin descriptions. Instead, present the basis on which you’ve selected each core course or group of core courses, indicating their contribution to your program of study. Your essay should be five to six typed pages in length.
  5. Brief description of your preliminary ideas about your two-semester Senior Capstone Project. The SCP is of course only tentative since the Program II Committee does not expect you to know at the time of application precisely what form your SPC will take in your senior year.
  6. Brief justification of the title of your Program II. In this module, you are expected to justify your choice of a title and why you think it suitably descriptive of your theme.

In addition to these six modules that you are expected to complete, your Program II advisor will submit a statement of support of your program of study.  As soon as you "Submit and Validate" the first module (Cover Page), your advisor will receive read-only access to your application.  He/she will also gain access to the Statement of Support form to complete and eventually submit confidentially directly to the Program II Committee. Of course, you cannot dictate what your advisor will write, but it will be to your advantage to see that your advisor knows your program well enough to describe its salient features and to support it strongly. 

When you have submitted and validated all 6 modules, you can submit a copy of your application electronically to the Director of Undergraduate Studies (DUS) in your advisor's department. The DUS will submit a statement of support of your program of study, commenting in particular on its feasibility and equivalency to a major in Program I. This should be the last step. 

Take advantage of all the resources available to you. For instance, you might elect to study abroad as part of your program. If a study abroad experience is to be an integral part of your program, you’ll need to include and discuss the relevance of the study abroad courses in your core courses list.

You may also want to make use of the Inter-Institutional Agreement that allows Duke students to take courses at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, North Carolina Central University and North Carolina State University. Such arrangements should be made through Dean Murphey’s office.