New Students

Project Search

The 2017 Pre-Orientation Application will open on Monday, May 1, 2017 (by 5pm EDT) and close on Monday, June 5, 2017 at 11:59pm.

Click here to apply now!

Welcome! Here you can learn about Project Search, the best way to get a jumpstart on your four years at Duke. pSearch is designed as an introduction to undergraduate research. Over two weeks, participants will be introduced to the discoveries at this high-powered research university and gain the basic skill set to start their own experience--all before their classmates even step foot on campus! Incoming students can choose from two research tracks. In the sciences track, students will learn valuable lab techniques through the completion of a metagenomics project. In the humanities track, students will use humanistic inquiry to develop their own research projects in an area of their choosing whether it'€™s history, art, literature, music, economics, law, politics, global health or even undecided, you will have the chance to explore your interests through your own independent project.

pSearch will€¦

  • For the science track, teach basic biology lab skills through a genomic analysis of micro-environments around Duke campus.
  • For the independent research track, expose students to the various resources available for study at Duke through visits to The Edge, the Nasher art museum, the Rubenstein rare book collection, and more
  • Provide exposure to a wide variety of life sciences and humanities fields through daily “lunch talks by research faculty all while enjoying a catered lunch from a different Durham restaurant each day  
  • Introduce students to Duke and Durham, America'€™s foodiest small town,€“ exploring local restaurants and taking a salsa dance lesson at Cuban Revolution
  • Catch the last rays of summer with a day trip to the beach to round out the program, barbecuing and swimming at the Central Campus pool, and spending a relaxing afternoon at the Duke Gardens
  • Provide upperclassmen mentors and a group of close friends before orientation week even begins

If you want to know Duke and Durham before all other students arrive, meet Duke faculty one on one, and get a head start on your own research, consider applying for pSearch. We are looking for students who are interested in an exposure to research, €”especially those who haven'€™t had formal research experience in high school! We look forward to hearing from you, and cannot wait to see what you can discover in your four years at Duke.

Additionally, please know that need-based financial aid is available to participants who apply for P-Search. If you have any questions, please contact the Office of New Student Programs at or 919-684-3511

Welcome to the Duke family,

Project Search Staff

Below is a sampling of the topics that past P-Searchers in the Humanities and Social Sciences track chose to research. One of the most exciting parts of P-Search is the ability to choose your own topic in virtually any field that interests you! 

  • Biopolitics 
  • The Housewife Heroine
  • Humorism in Elizabethan Literature
  • Civic Humanism and Christian Thought
  • DSM: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
  • Hip Hop Hooray
  • Through Their Eyes: "American War" 
  • Black Women in America: "Fitting the Image"
  • Reconstructing Identity: Young American Muslim Women
  • March "Madness"
  • Terminology o the Internment of Japanese Americans 
  • Understanding the New Kindergarten 
  • Unicorn Companies
  • Health Disparity: A Systematic Dilemma
  • Critiques on John Rawls: Review and New Topics