Academic Life



Summer Studies courses are designed to challenge and inspire students and to expose them to new academic topics and areas of interest. A single TIP Summer Studies course is the equivalent of an entire year of high school study or one semester of college study. Please note that our courses are not designed to provide extra or remedial help in a subject.

To make the TIP experience engaging, our instructors provide an interesting, innovative learning environment using an ever-evolving curriculum. Our goal is to create a setting in which students can explore cutting-edge research and ideas. For this reason, Summer Studies courses often involve simulations of real-world activities, peer teaching or presentations, roundtable discussions, guest speakers, laboratory work, field trips, and college-level research conducted at state-of-the-art libraries.


Duke TIP Instructors are a diverse and talented group of individuals who embrace their role in the academic development of young scholars. Instructors are selected for their expertise in their field of study, and typically include:

  • exceptional graduate students enrolled in master’s or doctoral programs
  • outstanding teachers from public and private schools
  • accomplished college and university teaching staff

Each Instructor is part of an instructional team that works to provide students with a unique learning experience.

Evaluation at Duke TIP

Duke TIP does not assign letter or numeric final grades, nor offer course credit. The nongraded approach encourages a less competitive environment in which students will become comfortable taking intellectual risks that they might avoid in a stressful grade-driven environment. During the course, instructional teams will holistically evaluate performance using criteria such as journal entries, presentations, individual research, and class projects. 

End-of-program evaluations

Instructional teams evaluate students on areas such as:

  • intellectual processes
  • work habits
  • peer interactions
  • products generated in the course, such as tests, essays, or visual projects

Students who successfully complete the program per the participation policies will have access to this end-of-program evaluation in the online student portal.

Seeking credit for your Duke TIP course

Many families have successfully requested that their local school issue placement or credit for work completed at Duke TIP. If you plan to seek credit, we recommend the following steps:

  • Before Duke TIP begins, call your school counselor, vice principal, or registrar (the person who would grant placement or credit for a student’s work at Duke TIP). Explain that Duke TIP students enroll in one course for three weeks and attend class for 108 contact hours.
  • Inform the local school official that at the end of the Duke TIP course, students receive a syllabus and end-of-program evaluation.
  • Students enrolled in Algebra I or Algebra II will take an Instructor-created final exam. A copy of the scored exam will be provided.

School officials will use the information provided to decide whether to grant course placement or credit. We are happy to assist in this process.

Students who intend to include their Duke TIP participation as part of their college admissions portfolio should print and keep a copy of the end-of-program evaluation. We cannot guarantee that copies of the evaluation will be available at a later date, and neither we nor Duke University will produce a transcript for TIP students.

Parent involvement

Parents are an integral part of students’ successes. Duke TIP Instructors are eager to talk with parents and are available for face-to-face or telephone conferences on departure day.

Summer Studies is a three-week residential program for high-achieving young scholars in grades seven through ten. Taking place at thirteen college campuses across the country over two different summer sessions, the programs provide the social and intellectual stimulus that gifted students need.