What to do (soon?) (now?) (today?) (sometime?) before you arrive

Pre-Departure Guide

The guide on this page contains information on practical steps you'll need to complete before arriving at DKU. Want to take it to the next level? Download "The Complete Checklist" below!

Begin Here

You’ve got this! The list below outlines information related to several key “to-do” items all students should review prior to coming to DKU. 

After DKU has received your final deposit and commitment documentation, you will be matriculated (a fancy way of saying “enrolled or registered”) as a DKU student in our systems. Behind the scenes, this initiates the creation of all of your records and access to DKU systems that you will rely on throughout your student journey!  

You will receive several emails in your personal email inbox (the one you have been using for your admission application) regarding the activation of your DKU NetID (the login credentials for all DKU systems) and your DKU Email. 

Activate your NetID and DKU Email as soon as possible!

All communication past this point – and from multiple offices at DKU) will come to your DKU email. Be sure you start checking email daily: you will be using your email every day at DKU. Set-up your new email in a convenient app, or at the very least – set-up email forwarding to another account so you know when you are receiving important messages from this account.

If there are any issues during the activation process, students are encouraged to contact the DKU IT department via email at service-desk@dukekunshan.edu.cn or contact DKU IT Support Hotline (+86) 0512-36657100.

All international students are required to be enrolled in a commercial medical insurance plan, currently  managed by the DKU Campus Health Clinic. DKU’s insurance does not include any coverage outside of China, including emergency care. Information about selecting a plan will be sent to students’ DKU email over the summer in early July, along with full policy details. 
Students are charged by DKU for the direct cost of the insurance plan; no profit is made by the institution. We strongly recommend using the DKU insurance plan because it has been vetted to provide comprehensive coverage and easy accessibility for a network of direct billing at major international hospitals with world-class medical care and facilities. 
Students can, however, apply for a waiver if they can provide proof, in English, of existing coverage for inpatient and outpatient treatment in Mainland China that is commensurate with coverage premiums of the DKU plan. If students are approved for a waiver with their own plan, DKU may be more limited in providing coordinating assistance for medical care; students should be aware of their plan policies related to co-pays, direct billing, and coverage network.
Insurance plan information and registration processes will be sent to students by email in early July; please contact DKU Student Insurance with questions. 

Residence Life’s mission to create opportunities to live, learn, and lead, and they are the department responsible for the relational aspects of living on campus, such as community development and room assignments and bills.  Be sure to activate your NetID to receive emails from Residence Life about the specific steps for accessing and completing your application as well as the dates it is open.  Some things to know:

    • The room assignment application process opens shortly after applicants are batch matriculated, officially becoming first-year DKU students.  This is generally late May through mid-June for international students and mid- through late July for Chinese students.
    • The application will collect lifestyle information from you, which we’ll use to pair you with a roommate, and interest in being a part of a Living Learning Community of students clustered together based on mutual interest.  We do not accept requests for specific roommates from first-year students.
    • Roommate pairings, room assignments, and bills will be released in early August.
    • All first-year students should expect living in a room with 1 other student, on a single gendered floor, in a co-ed building.
    • All international first-year students will have a Chinese roommate.
    • All residence halls have 1 large ‘living room’, 1 laundry room, and 1 public kitchen, on the 1st floor.  All students live on the upper floors, which are accessible by stairs and elevator, and where there are 3-4 public single gendered bathrooms for the nearly 70 students living there.
    • Specific move-in information will be included in the contract signed in the application, emailed to student’s DKU emails, and listed on the Residence Life calendar website.

You can learn more about the assignments processes, room costs, Living Learning Communities, residence halls, policies, ways to get involved, and more by calling +86 512.3665.7020, emailing residencelife@dukekunshan.edu.cn, following WeChat account, or visiting Residence Life website:  https://www.dukekunshan.edu.cn/campus-life/residence-life/about/

Required Vaccines:

New Chinese Higher Education policy requires all DKU undergraduate students to have two vaccines:

    • MMR (measles, mumps, rubella)
    • Meningococcal Meningitis (A, C, W, Y): One does within the last 10 years


You will receive instructions from the DKU Clinic regarding this requirement, and will be asked to email/upload proof of vaccination. However: if you have not received these vaccines, or will not be able to get these vaccines before coming to DKU, the Clinic can advise you on where to get these vaccines in local hospitals. 


Recommended Vaccines

You are not required to have any other particular vaccines to enter China. However, your home country’s local CDC will likely have guidance on recommended vaccines for travel within China; we recommend students follow local guidance at their own discretion.

Some commonly recommended vaccines include:

    • Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis) if not received in last 10 years.
    • Chickenpox vaccine for those who have never had chickenpox or the vaccine previously.
    • Hepatitis A
    • Hepatitis B
    • Japanese Encephalitis
    • Covid-19 vaccine

We recommend that you receive these vaccines before arrival in case local supply cannot be guaranteed.


Flu Vaccine and Other Vaccines:

Free Flu vaccines are provided to students in DKU partner hospital or community health center in fall every year. Typically, DKU Campus Health Clinic will send out email to students for updated news about flu vaccines.

For other vaccines, such as Covid-19 vaccine or a  Hepatitis B booster, the DKU Campus Health Clinics will help to liaise with the community health center or hospitals to provide services jointly.

If you have further health-related questions, please reach out to our DKU Campus Health Clinics at campushealth@dukekunshan.edu.cn for more accurate and professional guidance.


There are several important things to know about planning travel to DKU:

  • You’ll need your X1 Student Visa First: We recommend applying for and receiving your X1 student visa before finalizing travel plans. If you don’t want to wait, we recommend booking your flight with options to change dates, just in case.

  • Plan on Arriving at DKU on, or no later than, August 9, 2024:  International Student check-in is August 9th, and you will not be able to access campus or check-in before this date (we’re going to be busy preparing for you and orientation!) Don’t make travel plans that arrive after this date – you’ll miss out!
  • Do not enter Mainland China more than a few days prior to August 9, 2024: We know you’re excited to come – and we’re excited to see you! However: if you (and/or your parents!) want to arrive early, we recommend entering China no earlier than August 6 or 7th. Why?  Although you’ll have your X1 student visa, it’s only valid for 30 days, starting on the date that you enter Mainland China. During those 30 days, you will apply for (in China) a Residence Permit – which is required for your stay as a student (and will serve as a multiple-entry, no-limit stay throughout your four years at DKU). 
    • We’ll guide all students through the additional steps you need to complete for your Residence Permit as a group – but if you enter early, this severely accelerates the amount of time you have to do this. 
    • IF you choose to arrive early, plan on booking off-campus accommodations in a hotel in Shanghai or Kunshan before you check-in on August 9th. Search common sites (Booking.com, Trip.com, or other sites you are familiar with) to make reservations.
  • What Airport Should You Fly Into? Some of this will depend on where you are flying from to get to China, but generally your final destination should be:
    • Shanghai Pudong International Airport (PVG): this is in eastern side of Shanghai, and is the main international airport for the region.
    • Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport (SHA): this is a smaller, regional airport with international routes typically available to closer cities in China and Southeast Asia only. It is closer to DKU – but may not be a sensible option for your flight route.
  • How will you get from the airport to campus? 
    • If you are arriving before August 9, you should plan on taking a taxi from the airport to your hotel accommodations. 
    • If you are arriving on August 9th through PVG:
      • DKU will have staff stationed at the airport from approximately 9am – 4pm to meet students outside of the international arrival gate. Buses will be available to bring you to campus in set intervals throughout the same period of time. 
    • If you are arriving on August 9th through SHA:
      • You will need to take a taxi to campus – but don’t worry! This is easy, and you will have a taxi-card provided to you to show the driver the University’s address and contact information. 
    • Detailed arrival instructions (including arrivals at both airports) will be sent to all students in late July with instructions, guidance, and emergency contact instructions in case you need help! We know it can be intimidating to arrive in a foreign country – and if it is your first time to China, we’ll help you feel like a seasoned pro in no time!

Duke Kunshan University recognizes three types of college-level work you may have completed prior to matriculation at Duke Kunshan University:

    • Advanced Placement Credit (AP)
    • International Placement Credit (IPC)
    • Prematriculation College Credit

Students may be granted up to 8 elective credits toward the degree requirement of 136 credits for any combination of AP, IPC, or prematriculation credit.  First-year Duke Kunshan University students may submit for evaluation college courses taken at another accredited college or university after commencement of the student’s junior year of high school. Prematriculation credits awarded for such work may be used as electives and, thus, may not be used to satisfy the general education requirements.

Contact the DKU Registrar Office directly to submit transcripts for Prematriculation Credit.

Do you have a learning disability or physical need that you would like to have evaluated before you arrive on campus to request possible accommodations? Summer is a good time to start that conversation!

The Student Accessibility Service Office (SASO) works in conjunction with Resident Life to ensure consistency in evaluating accommodations requests: whether for academic accommodations or special housing accommodation requests. The Student Accessibility Service Office reviews requests and shares approved student accommodations with Residence Life. Students with approved accommodations will be offered priority for placement in an available space that meets their accommodations.

If you have any questions, send a brief email outlining the nature of your accommodation request to receive more information and accommodations application forms: Contact SASO@dukekunshan.edu.cn