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

Facebook Group, Twitter and Fan Pages

We encourage you to join the social media groups. You are encouraged to use the Facebook and Twitter pages to post comments, pictures, and web links as desired – share jokes and funny stories – have fun with it! Please note that no official information will solely be communicated via social media sites. Email is considered the official form of communication at Duke University.

Social Media Access

How to Join? If you already have a Facebook account, you can request to join groups by clicking on the desired links below. If you do not already have a Facebook account, you will need to create an account in order to join. It’s free! Twitter offers free membership, as well. Members can simply follow desired accounts.

You Can Find Us Here

MEM and MF Students Facebook Group Class Pages

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

Students are encouraged to submit the online request form and digital photo upload for their Duke identification card during the summer.  Your NetID and login are required to begin.  Students are encouraged to upload their Duke ID photo during the summer as early as possible.  If your Duke ID card request is submitted electronically during the summer, your ID card should be ready for you to pick up once you arrive to campus in August.  We will distribute all remaining Student ID Cards during Orientation. The DukeCard Office is located in room 012, Telcom Building (rear entrance), Research Drive, West Campus. 

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 DukeMail, 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 plan. 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. Enrollment for Fall 2020 will begin in June 2020. At that time, please log in to your DukeHub account to enter your decision to waive or enroll in the plan. Coverage is from August 1, 2020 through July 31, 2021. Go to Student Health for more information and directions on enrolling in or waiving the plan. 

For new students, open enrollment in Duke University’s Student Medical Insurance Plan (SMIP) will begin mid-June and concludes September 15.  If you intend to enroll in the Duke Student Medical Insurance Plan (SMIP), please complete the process in the DukeHub. By mid-June, new students will receive information about the Student Medical Insurance plan; be sure to check your Duke email.

>> If you do not enter your decision by September 15, 2020, you will be automatically enrolled in the SMIP for the period from August 1, 2020 to July 31, 2021.

Students who have an existing health insurance plan may keep their current policy, and will have the option to waive the Duke Student Medical Insurance Plan.  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. The waiver criteria may be viewed here. View the Student Health Overview  presentation.

>> Enrollment in the SMIP is mandatory for international students holding an F1 or J1 visa >> The 2020 STUDENT MEDICAL INSURANCE WILL BE AVAILABLE IN MID-JUNE 2020.

In the meantime, view the 2019-2020 Student Medical Insurance Plan (SMIP) benefits here. If you do not enter your decision by September 15, you will be automatically enrolled in the SMIP for the period from August 1 to July 31.  The insurance charge will remain on your Bursar account and you will receive your enrollment information and card after September 15. If you do not enter your decision and are automatically enrolled, you will not be able to waive. Questions about health insurance should be directed to or call 919-684-1481. Due to volume, allow 2 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 the Student Health Center web pages.

If you have additional questions about the immunization requirements/compliance, we encourage you to contact the Immunization Compliance Coordinator at immunizations@duke.eduImmunization records should not be sent to the Student Services at the Nicholas School of the Environment; they should be submitted to View the Student Health Overview  presentation.

Immunization Compliance FAQs

Lockers & Mailboxes

Request a Locker at No Cost

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 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 1. 

Pick-up Locker Key/Questions should be directed to: Anne Marie Davis, Administrative Services Manager, Dean’s Office/A140 LSRC (just off of Hug Commons, LSRC) anne.m.davis@duke.edu919-684-1290

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. Interested in having a mentor? Students must opt-in to receive a second year student. If you want a mentor, submit the form below.

Mentor/Mentee Sign-up Form


POD Leaders

What are PODs, you ask? Well, let me explain…

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.  They want to be a resource for you and help provide guidance that will make your transition into graduate school as smooth as possible.  View the bios and photos of the 2020 POD leaders below.

2020  POD Leaders (view photos & bios)

Sustainable Name Tag

Nicholas Sustainable Name Tag: A Gift to the Incoming 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.


If you plan to park a vehicle on Duke’s campus, you must display a valid permit.

Individual car, carpooling, and biking permits are available through Duke’s Parking and Transportation Office. Online permit sales typically begins in mid-June. However, this year, parking permit sales will begin the last week of July. Go to the Parking and Transportation website to learn more.  Students who reserved an on-campus permit should receive their permit in the mail prior to arriving in Durham.  Students are also encouraged to check out alternative commuting options available for Duke students, staff and faculty.

Let us make an effort to reduce our carbon footprint!

Video Library

Summer Short Video Series

We have a designed a short video 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, Let’s Room Together (Roommate Finder), Order a Transcript, Register for Classes, Resume Webinar, Search for Classes, Summer Virtual Orientation, Welcome & Summer On-boarding/Student Services and many others!

The video library can be viewed in WarpWire (Duke NetID login required)