Before You Arrive


Academic Advising

The program chairs for each concentration will determine initial academic coursework advising assignments for new students based on the information contained in the individual application files. Each new student will be provided with their advising assignment letter in the orientation packet. However, once advisors are assigned during the summer, students will be able to view their advisor’s name and contact information in the DukeHub prior to orientation. Advisor assignments should be visible in DukeHub no later than the second Monday in August. Initial advising assignments may be changed after the first couple of weeks of the semester if it is determined that a different advisor would be more appropriate and better aligned with individual interests.

Group academic advising sessions for new students will be held on the first day of Fall Orientation. Students should schedule individual advising meetings with their advisors. You can reach out to your advisor to schedule an advising meeting once your advisor’s name appears in the DukeHub in early August.

Listserv Subscriptions. Mid-summer, your Duke email address will be subscribed to the appropriate program area listserv. Please note that faculty directors and some staff are also subscribed to the listservs. Listservs are for academic purposes only. Program area listserv addresses for first year students are:

Connect & Chat

Admitted Student Groups and Fan Pages

New students are encouraged to join the new students Slack group to connect with other new students, currently enrolled students and administrators. The Slack channels are available for you to ask questions, post comments, pictures, etc. Have fun with it! Please note that no official information will solely be communicated via Slack or any of the social media sites. Email is considered the official form of communication at Duke University.

How to Join? Click on the link below to request access to the Slack group. Once you confirm your plans to enroll in the fall, you may request access to join the Facebook groups in fall 2021 or older. 

You can Find Us Here

MEM and MF Students Connect & Chat Class Pages
We will use Slack beginning spring/summer 2022. 

DEL-MEM Students Facebook Group Class Pages

Nic School Prof Students

FB Fan Pages/Like Us



Duke ID Card

Get Your First Duke ID Card

All students will need a Duke Student ID card. Upload your photo for your Duke ID card by mid-summer. View the video with submission instructions. For more information about your DukeCard, please visit the Duke Card office website. Note: The DukeCard Office will only issue Mobile Duke Cards mostly likely beginning fall 2021. The Mobile DukeCard is easy to use and keep up with but it does require that students keep their cellphone with them at all times. Students will need their Mobile DukeCard to access facilities on Duke’s Campus. Students who do not have a smart phone can also request a physical card by appointment only. The Duke Card Office will help new students with any issues they may have in provisioning the Mobile DukeCard by phone or by appointment.

Upload your photo and request your first Duke ID card

Email, NetID & Listservs

NetID/Password and Duke Email

All students will receive a Duke NetID (network identification) within three days of submitting your tuition deposit to confirm your enrollment for fall, which will be needed to access many of the university’s student portals and systems. Be sure to keep your NetID and password safe and secure. Your NetID is the electronic key to a variety of computing systems and services at Duke. Used in combination with a strong password, the NetID provides access to online resources such as Duke Mail, centralized server space, calendaring and Sakai. Students are automatically assigned a NetID upon matriculation. 

You do not need to request a NetID; it will be provided for you. Be sure to check your personal email address within one week of confirming your enrollment/paying the tuition deposit. Your NetID is different from your Duke Unique ID (DUID), a seven-digit numeric identifier printed on the back of your Duke ID card/badge in the upper left-hand corner. Students will be able to pick-up their Duke ID card/badge when they arrive in the fall.

All new students should have their Duke NetID and password as well as access to their Duke email account within 2-3 business days of confirming their fall enrollment.

You should check your personal email address to make sure that you have not overlooked the initial instructions and login details. Be sure to check the SPAM and Junk folders, as well. If you cannot find this information, please contact the university’s Office of Information Technology (OIT) at 919-684-2200 or to request that the initial setup instructions be resent to you. Be prepared to provide a few personal identification markers such as your date of birth, permanent address, the last four digits of your social security number (if applicable) and so on.

Health Insurance

All Duke students must carry major medical insurance

Duke’s student medical insurance plan is rated at the highest level. Unless waived, all students will be enrolled in the Duke Student Medical Insurance Plan. 

The open enrollment date for new students has not been released yet – however, it typically occurs in mid-June. 

The Duke 2021-2022 Student Medical Insurance Plan (SMIP).  When the open enrollment window begins, be sure to login to your DukeHub account to enter your decision to waive or enroll in the plan. Coverage is from August 1 through July 31. Go to Student Health for more information and directions on enrolling in or waiving the plan. 

If you do not enter your decision by the open enrollment deadline, you will be automatically enrolled in the Duke Student Medical Insurance Plan and will not be able to waive it. The insurance charge will remain on your Bursar account and you will receive your enrollment information and insurance card by mid-September.

International students at Duke on the F-1 or J-1 visa are required to purchase Duke’s plan. U.S. students may waive the plan if they can provide proof of comparable coverage. If you intend to waive the Duke Student Medical Insurance Plan (SMIP), the process to request a waiver is also done in the DukeHub.  In order to waive the Duke SMIP, the student must provide adequate proof of coverage under another health insurance plan. View waiver criteria.

When open enrollment starts, you will be able to view the Plan Benefits for the 2022-2023 Student Medical Insurance Plan (SMIP).  Questions about health insurance should be directed to or call 919-684-1481. Due to volume, allow 2-3 business days for a response. 

>> Understanding Duke Health Insurance – Quick Guide for Graduate Students <<


Compliance required of all Duke students

All new students must provide Duke University with a copy of their current immunization records. The deadline to submit your immunization records and health history information is June 15. Although the deadline is June 15, the most important thing to remember is that you must have your immunization records submitted prior to the beginning of the fall semester. However, failure to submit within 30 days of the start of the term, will mean that you will not be permitted to continue attending class. Submission requirements for graduate/professional students are available at Student Health Center website.

If you have additional questions about the immunization requirements/compliance, we encourage you to contact the Immunization Compliance Coordinator at Immunization records should not be sent to the Student Services at the Nicholas School of the Environment; they should be submitted to

COVID Vaccine for International Students:

If you have the opportunity to receive the COVID vaccine in your home country, we encourage you to do so. All vaccines on the World Health Organization (WHO approved list) will be recognized. Vaccines not on this list will be reviewed on an individual basis, so please be sure to have a picture/copy of your vaccine record that includes your name, the vaccine name, and date of administration in English.

Duke cannot predict or control vaccine supply. If you received your first dose of vaccine in your home country and we do not have access to that brand, you will need to restart your series when you arrive. If necessary, you will be able to receive another vaccine when you arrive at Duke. Based on our experience with other vaccines and current COVID management protocols, we feel it is reasonable to conclude that there is little risk to getting a vaccine upon arrival to the US if you’ve previously received one in another country. Currently there is not a quarantine requirement for students coming from international locations.  

We have a process for students to be marked as “partially compliant” in our system so that you will be able to move into your dorms, get your DukeCard activated, attend classes etc. while you are waiting to complete the second dose requirement. You can make an appointment for a vaccine through Duke when you arrive this summer. 

Immunization Compliance FAQs

Lockers & Mailboxes

Request a Locker

mailbox will be provided for each student in the Student Commons area in the basement level of Grainger Hall. This mailbox is designed for on-campus internal mail only, to inform you about Nicholas School updates, programming, and events. Students should plan to use their residential address to receive personal postal mail. If you need postal mail services, contact Duke’s Campus Mail Services for assistance. 

Nicholas School students may request a locker to store their books and other small personal possessions (at no cost) until they graduate from the program. Lockers are also located in the basement of Grainger Hall. Please do not place valuable items in your locker such as laptops, video equipment, cell phones etc. The school is not responsible for any stolen or lost items stored in your locker or will not be responsible for any vandalism or damage done to your locker. There is no charge to reserve a NSOE locker.

While your locker is provided as a courtesy, failure to return your locker key upon graduation can result in the holding of your diploma or additional fees. Remember you must request a locker as they are not automatically assigned to new students. Locker keys will be distributed during Orientation; more info to come. The locker request form should be submitted no later than August 15. 

Pick-up Locker Key/Questions should be directed to: Tom Brooks, Program Coordinator, Facilities Office, Nicholas School, LSRC A140

Locker Request Form

Mentor-Mentee Program

Opt-In for a Second Year Mentor

The Mentor-Mentee Program pairs new students with returning student volunteers who want to offer their advice and guidance on housing, classes, recreation, student clubs and organizations, social life in Durham, and many other aspects of the student experience. Most communications between mentors and mentees will likely occur during the summer via email or by phone. However, we hope that you and your mentor will plan to meet within the first few weeks of the fall semester, as well. We encourage new students to view this as an opportunity to develop a friendship with a classmate and/or a collegial relationship with a future environmental professional. The mentor-mentee relationship can be very rewarding for both parties.

New students are encouraged to participate in the Mentor-Mentee Program, but they are not required to do so. If you would like to be paired with a 2nd-year student mentor, the deadline will be announced in late spring.  Mentor/mentee assignments will be shared by early summer. The Mentor-Mentee Program is led by the Nicholas School Student Council. Students must opt-in to receive a second year student mentor. The Mentor/Mentee sign-up form will be available summer 2022.

The Mentor/Mentee Sign-up Form will be available summer 2022

POD Leaders

What are PODs, you ask?

We will separate the incoming class into small groups or PODS. Groups are assigned randomly i.e. not by program area, background, gender, professional interests, etc. Second year/returning student volunteers will serve as the small group (or POD) leaders during Fall Orientation Week. Your POD leaders will be here to welcome you on the first day of Orientation Week, join the academic advising sessions and have been invited to attend lunches and social outings. Now that you have been separated into smaller groups, we hope that you will take this opportunity to get to know other incoming students and your group leader. 

You will have many opportunities to both meet with and interact with students within your program area. However, we’re hoping that your POD experience will provide you with an early opportunity to expand your academic, professional and personal networks. Throughout Orientation Week, your POD leader, will be available via email, and in-person to answer any questions that you may have about the Nicholas School, Duke University and the Durham area. POD Leaders want to be a resource for you and help provide guidance that will make your transition into graduate school as smooth as possible.  The new POD leaders will be announced in summer 2022.

2022 POD Leaders Bios & Photos (Still to Come!)

Sustainable Name Tag

Nicholas Sustainable Name Tag: A Gift for New Students

As a professional degree environmental student, we expect that you will attend several career-related events, conferences, seminars, and workshops during your time at the Nicholas School. To help you professionally present yourself, the Nicholas School Student Services team will provide each incoming student with a sustainable name tag. The wooden name tag will have the Nicholas School name and logo as well as your name engraved on it. Typically, the deadline is in early July. For those who do not complete the survey by the deadline, we will use the name that is officially on file with the Nicholas School. The Student Services team welcomes each of you to the Nicholas School community and look forward to partnering in your academic and career success.

Video Library

Summer Video Series

We have a designed a Virtual Library to help new students prepare for fall enrollment. Many videos are available across various topics to include but not limited to: Drop a Class, Financial Aid, Health Insurance, Immunization, Order a Transcript, Register for Classes, Resume Webinar, Search for Classes, Summer Virtual Orientation, Welcome & Summer On-boarding/Student Services and many others!

Virtual Library (Duke NetID Login Required)