In accordance with the University's mission to "provide a superior liberal education" and to "prepare future members of the learned professions for lives of skilled and ethical service," Duke University is committed to a breadth of student achievement goals.  The institution evaluates student achievement in a number of ways; measures of student success include graduation rates, job placement, and results of state and national licensure examinations. This information is used by individual schools and by the institution, as a component of Duke's overall assessment of academic and student quality and achievement. 

Graduation Rates

Duke tracks graduation rates of undergraduate students as a measure of student achievement. Duke's goal for six-year graduation rates (as reported in IPEDS) is to exceed the average graduation rate among Duke's peer group by at least 5%. According to data accessed by SACSCOC in November 2017, Duke's IPEDS Graduation Rate (150% time) was 95% and the peer group's average was 86%. Six-year graduation rates have remained between 94% and 96% over the past ten years; this information is available on the website of Duke's Office of Institutional Research (Common Datasets).  These data also appear on the National Center for Education Statistics' IPEDS Data Center.  

The Graduate School tracks time-to-degree statistics for individual departments, and for the entire school, and uses these data to adjust policies and procedures where needed. This data is available on the Graduate School website. Duke's goal is to be comparable to the U.S. average (median) in each division.  Duke does track completion rates by program and benchmarks against peers, but there is not a national average to use as a threshold and schools across the country are still debating the extent to which they should publicize their outcome statistics.  

The professional schools also monitor students' progress towards degrees and eventual completion of those degrees, with all schools showing high graduation rates. The goal of each school is for graduation rates to stay above their three-year rolling average of graduation rates. 

Job Placement

The Fuqua School of Business tracks graduates' job placements in an annual Employment Report, listing placement rates, median salaries, and other pertinent career information. Duke’s current goal is for at least 90% of students to be employed full time within three months of graduation and for the average salary of graduates to be above $120,000 annually, as this is the current average of Duke's peer institutions.  

The Law School also examines employment rates as a measure of student achievement and reports employment outcomes to the ABA. Duke's goal is for the employment rate for Juris Doctor degree recipients each year to not fall below 10% of the average employment rate for the previous three years.


Licensure Examinations

The professional schools, including the Nursing School, the Medical School, and the Law School, whose graduates must pass licensure examinations, keep track of how those graduates perform on those exams and use these results as one measure of educational outcome performance. The School of Nursing, for example, reports data on its graduates' performance on the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX). The school's goal is to surpass both the state and the national averages of licensure exam pass rates. Duke University School of Nursing (DUSON) has maintained an average pass rate of 99% on the NCLEX for BSN graduates. This compares with a national pass rate for that time period of 86%  and a statewide rate of 92%.

Students in the School of Medicine scored an average of 241, compared to the national average of 232, on Step 1 of the National Medical Licensing Boards. Duke's goal is for its medical students to surpass the national average on Step 1 of the National Medical Licensing Boards. 

The Law School sets goals of bar passage rates reports pursuant to American Bar Association Legal Education Standard 316, which indicates 75% or more of the students who graduate from an ABA accredited law school within the five most recently completed calendar years and sat for a state bar exam must pass. Given the selectivity and rigor of Duke Law, the school set a goal that the average bar passage rate for Duke Law graduates over the last five calendar years should exceed 90%.  The average bar passage rate from 2018-2022 was 97%.  The bar passage rates from 2022 (second tab on linked document) were 97%. 


Molly Goldwasser:
Associate Vice Provost for Academic Affairs
Phone: 919-684-0731