For Undergraduates


What stories are you a part of?

That question can serve as a starting point for a journey into ethics, according to philosopher Alastair MacIntyre. Instead of simply asking how we should live, we can begin by putting ethics into perspective — and into practice.

The Kenan Institute provides an exciting range of opportunities, both inside and outside the classroom, to help you develop an understanding of the moral challenges of our time and to determine your response to them.

We offer courses that ask you to learn new concepts and think in new ways, programs to help you reflect on your own values and ambitions, and community-engaged projects that challenge you to step outside of your comfort zone and contribute to positive social change.

Join a dynamic community of faculty, staff, students, alumni, and community members embarking on good pursuits.


Spend an hour a week doing the things you keep telling yourself you should do

What if your classes not only shaped the way you thought but also the way you lived? What Now? offers seminars designed to help you develop the tools and capacities to thrive at Duke and beyond.



Create a Plan B with Plan A energy

Through Pursuing Purpose, current sophomores and juniors can apply to take a spring semester seminar that helps them to think through changes in their career plans and to secure a funded summer internship that acts as a first step towards a new beginning.



Planning a future in medicine? Fortify yourself first

Re-Imagining Medicine, or ReMed, seeks to foster the character, imagination, and practices needed to work effectively in contexts of human suffering and healing.



Join an experiment in storytelling and develop your sense of moral agency

Say the Thing offers students the chance to explore their own sense of ethics through storytelling and playful uses of technology.



Explore ethical questions across the disciplines

The Ethics, Leadership and Global Citizenship FOCUS cluster grapples with the questions governments, companies, and individuals increasingly confront in a global world. It is about how to create and evaluate solutions to these ethical challenges.



Craft bold solutions for big problems

It’s Not Too Late to Build a Better World is a FOCUS cluster that explores how to move a world facing cataclysmic crises towards a future that foregrounds justice, ecological sustainability, and human flourishing.



Wrestle with the “big ideas” inside and outside the classroom

Transformative Ideas offers second-year students the opportunity to participate in courses and extracurricular activities that promote open and civil cross-disciplinary dialogue about “Transformative Ideas” — those enduring questions and big ideas that change lives, link cultures, and shape societies around the world.



Weave a concentration in ethics into your studies at Duke

Our Ethics & Society Certificate offers undergraduates two pathways — curricular and experiential — to explore meaningful ethical questions. Certificate students engage in good pursuits through coursework, faculty-mentored research, and fieldwork.



Spend a summer asking and answering your own ethical questions

What does it mean to live an ethical life? Kenan Summer Fellows spend a summer exploring — in a variety of ways — the answers to that question.



Start out strong the summer before Duke

Open to all incoming first-year Duke undergraduates, the Gateway Program gives students an opportunity to tackle a social problem in their hometown while beginning to explore their own sense of purpose in the world.



Challenge yourself. Change your world.

Through DukeEngage, students and faculty collaborate with communities — locally and globally — to address critical social issues through an immersive summer of community engagement.



Set out on a second summer of service

Through an eight-week independent summer project, Brodhead Fellows contribute to local problem solving, deepen their understanding of social issues, and strengthen a commitment to community and civic engagement in their personal and professional lives.



Live and learn with a student ethics community

Join a dynamic space for students to explore both personal and global ethical issues in the Ethics and Global Citizenship Living/Learning Community.