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Life at the Nic School

Life at the Nicholas School

Information Technology: The Nicholas School IT department can help you with tech support, setting up video conferencing, making a room reservation, finding a mailing list, mapping drives, file storage, printing, and more; they even have laptops you can borrow! Duke IT has a Virtual Computer Lab you can use for up to 10 hours at a time, if you need a program that won’t run on your personal computer; they also have a long list of free software packages you can download, some of which normally cost thousands of dollars. OIT also provides access to thousands of online training courses through Lynda.


Career Services: Nicholas School Career Services can help you plan your career trajectory, write a resume, prepare for an interview, and reach out to alumni. They organize career fairs, Washington DC Career Treks, workshops, and other events. They also manage the online profiles for all current students, and manage a Duke Environment LinkedIn Group. Most of their online materials are available through Career Link: you can use this to sign up for events, browse lists of alumni, and apply for jobs or fellowships. The CPDC Resources folder in this website contains a large number of helpful documents on writing resumes and cover letters, networking, interviewing, salary negotiation, and more.


Parking and Transportation Services: Parking is expensive on campus, but there are a variety of options to make this more manageable. If you register to commute by bicycle, you get two free parking passes per month, as well as other benefits. Carpooling can steeply reduce your costs (half-price for a two-person carpool, less for three, and free for four), and you’ll also get two free individual passes per month. Finally, night and weekend passes are free. Additionally, there are a variety of bus routes to choose from, plus after-hours van services, accessible transportation, and a free airport shuttle for fall, spring, and Thanksgiving breaks.


Advising: Student advising has information on the calculus and statistics diagnostic exams, course forms (add/drop, overload, inter-institutional, pass-fail, audit, program change, etc.), lists of classes, advice for registration,  and statistical and writing services. Each program has its own page with requirements, courses, and other information (e.g. ESC); you should look this over carefully, and do your best to fill out your course planning spreadsheet as much as you can prior to meeting with your academic advisor.


Master’s Project: There are two main options for your MP:

  • Group MP. This can include prepackaged client-based MPs arranged by the Nicholas School, or you can make up your own with one or more students who share similar interests. The client-based MPs include government, corporate, NGO, and Duke University clients, and typically involve 3-5 students, addressing a real-world problem. You will need to submit your top choices and will be matched with other students who requested the same projects. If there are not enough people interested in a project to form a group, and you don’t provide any backup-options, this may become a solo MP, or the client may decide to look elsewhere.
  • Solo MP. These can include individual client-based MPs, or research-focused MPs. You can get ideas (both for group or solo MPs), by looking at previous MPs, or checking out a list of suggested solo MP topics. If you’re interested in working abroad for your MP, you can check out the school’s international research page to learn more about faculty and PhD projects around the world. Note that individual MP topics are due just three weeks after the group MP topics are released (beginning of second semester) so if you decide you don’t like any of the group MP topics and want to do your own, you’re not going to have a lot of time. Regardless of what kind of MP you think you might want to do, you should start exploring different ideas in your first semester.

MPs may be connected to internships, or not; partly this depends on whether you’re interested in doing one big project, or if you’re interested in exploring different topics for your internship and your MP. Be sure to check out the MP timetable, so you’re not surprised by any deadlines. Writing guidelines for the MP Proposal and Report, and samples of previous MPs are available on the Nicholas School MP site.



Most Nicholas School students do some kind of summer internship. The most popular option is the Stanback Internship program, which pays $5000 for the summer. More than 100 Stanback internships are available around the country (but not internationally) every year, with many options in North Carolina, DC, and elsewhere. Stanback internships are announced in December, with applications opening in January, interviews in February, and most decisions made in early-March. This means that whether or not you decide you’re interested in the Stanback program, you need to make a decision fairly early, before many summer internships are posted elsewhere. If you don’t get a Stanback, or decide you’re not interested, there are many thousands of other environmental management internships available around the world; it just may take a bit more work to find the right one for you.

If you accept an unpaid or underpaid internship position, or need help with transportation costs to get to your internship/research site, there are a variety of funding sources available for Nicholas School students. These include:

  • Environmental Internship Fund (EIF): Environmental internships, in the public interest, that would otherwise be underfunded; gives priority to students who have participated in EIF fundraising events.
  • David R. Brower Endowment Fund: Community-based domestic internship funding
  • Edna Bailey Sussman Fund: supports hard science research devoted to solving environmental problems.
  • Kuzmier – Lee – Nikitine (KLM) Internship Fund: International internships, focused on sustainability and social/environmental justice.
  • Nicholas School International Internship Fund: International internships
  • Whitney Chamberlin Internship Endowment Fund: International internship/research funding
  • Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies (CLACS): pays for travel and room and board for research projects in Central and South America.

Applications for all of these are due in the middle of spring semester (~March). Information on these and other funding sources, and tips for funding applications, are available on Career Link.

If you’d like to work internationally, you can look at the school’s international research page to see where interesting research projects are. If you are interested in this, you should get an early start: you’ll need letters from your host institutions, and this can be a lot slower in places without regular Internet access. You should also get your vaccinations early: the travel clinic recommends that you sign up 2-3 months in advance, while they still have appointments available. Finally, you’ll need to register your travel with the school in advance.



  • Diversity and Inclusion information (including strategic goals, events, news, and other resources) are all available online.
  • Large lockers are available in the basement, for use by student organizations.
  • You can apply for conference funding (up to $300) by filling out the request form on Career Link; you should do this early, since the funds go quickly. Funding may also be available on request for other costs (such as classes at other institutions).
  • When planning events, you should consult the Nicholas School events calendar, to minimize conflicts.
  • Event planning information, style guides, and templates are available on the Nicholas School’s internal resources


On Campus:

There are numerous options for sustenance on Duke’s campus. The University Dining website provides a list with their locations, descriptions of their fare, and hours. Blue Express is the dining option closest to the LSRC (its actually attached to it). Other excellent nearby options include Twinnie’s in the engineering school, The Refectory in the divinity school (and its extension in the law school), and the Sanford Deli in the public policy school. There are numerous other options available as you go further from the LSRC, particulary when you get to the Bryan Center, so be sure to explore and ask around for people’s opinions!

Near Campus:

For those looking for a short walk off-campus to grab a bite to eat there are a plethora of options springing up just across Erwin Road as you head away from the LSRC on Lasalle. If you cross Erwin Rd and take a left into the Erwin Terrace Development you’ll be able to choose from Chai’s Noodle Bar & BistroSushi LoveNOSH: Eclectic Foodstuffs, and Copa Vida Coffee (formerly Shade Tree Coffee). If you take a right after crossing Erwin Rd you will come upon the Pavilion East development with some larger food chains including TGI FridaysNoodles and CompanyChipotleFirehouse Subs, and a combination Dunkin’ Donuts/Baskin-Robbins along with a Mediterranean Grill which just opened. Keep checking these locations as they are rapidly expanding and adding new restaurants.


9th St and Broad St:

Right next to east campus there is a busy strip of restaurants and shops that are worth a visit.

  • Elmo’s Diner is a classic with a location on 9th St and one in Carrboro
  • Francesca’s Dessert Cafe on 9th Street has great coffee, desserts and gelato.  Nice (usually jazz) background music and local art.  Great place to study or catch up with friends (although just a warning – the wireless internet connection is less than reliable, but you can usually get on a neighboring wifi signal.)
  • Chubby’s Tacos – 9th St.  Great tacos and Mexican fare.
  • Dain’s Place is a chill, non-smoking bar on 9th St. with an awesome selection of micro-brews (even some organic) and great food.  (The tater tots are a Nick School favorite!)
  • Watt’s Grocery is  located on Broad St.  This is an awesome restaurant, not cheap, but the menu is full of delicious, local food.  Brunch on the weekends is delicious as well.
  • The Broad Street Cafe is next to Watt’s.  Lots of good food and drinks and local live music many nights.
  • The Palace International is down the street from Watt’s and the Broad St. Cafe.  It offers African cuisine (mostly Eastern Africa as Caren and Maurice Ochola, the owners, are from Kenya)
  • Madhatter Bakeshop and Cafe is on Broad St. in the Whole Foods shopping center.  Nice atmosphere with lots of windows and good food, but not open as late as Francesca’s.

Main St.

  • The Federal is a bar across the street from Brightleaf Square.  Good food and lots of good beers. Smoking.
  • Brightleaf Square is home to a few good places to grab dinner and/or drinks.  These include Mount Fuji (sushi) (1/2 price on Thursdays!), Satisfaction (pizza and beer) and El Rodeo (mexican).

Student Health Services

See the page entry for the Duke Student Health Center.

Life’s Details

  • Barbershop/Salons
  • Notary


  • Music
  • Movies

Duke Sports

Duke List

This online bulletin for the Duke community includes student job postings as well as the Trading Post, where you can find books, tickets, rideshare options, and more.