Program Options

International Visiting Scholars

The Duke University School of Nursing (DUSON) International Visiting Scholars Program offers mentored experiences to foreign nationals at the pre-doctoral stage of professional development and to doctoral-prepared (PhD or an equivalent) researchers in nursing and/or health-related areas. In rare instances, visitors may hold the MSN as their highest degree depending upon the nature of the desired work and their background of professional experience. Visitors will have the opportunity to participate in a mentored and/or collaborative research experience with a DUSON researcher.

Applicants must select a faculty mentor before the application is submitted. Applicants should seek out and contact faculty members whose research areas and expertise align with the applicant’s own interests. Faculty members may or may not be available to serve as a mentor for the applicant’s time at DUSON based on personal workload and knowledge of the research topic, but all efforts will be made to match applicants with an appropriate faculty member. The applicant and potential mentor must agree to the mentoring relationship and create the final measurable objectives of the visit to be included as part of the visitor’s application (Section C. Objectives of the Visiting Scholar). View DUSON faculty and their areas of expertise.

These specialized experiences do not result in a grade, degree, academic credit, certification or compensation. The program is based on the goals and objectives of each applicant. Goals may include a short term curriculum of study, guidance for a set of research skills, collaboration on a research project, counseling and instruction, exposure to specialized subject matter and others.

In order to ensure you understand the policies and guidelines of the program, we suggest you download and/or print the Visiting Scholar Check Sheet.


The length of stay for International Visiting Scholars may vary from three months to one year. International Visiting Scholars are entitled to office space, general office supplies, access to a computer and printers, office telephone and other resources at the School of Nursing and on the Duke campus.

Applicants desiring to visit the school for a term of six months or longer are required to present a one-hour colloquium to the DUSON community on one of the following:

  1. Their visiting scholar work

  2. Nursing and health care in their country

  3. Their program of research

U.S. Visa

Applicants must be able to secure valid immigration status and research/study authorization prior to their start date and maintain valid immigration status throughout their stay at Duke. Most scholars must apply for J-1 Visa Status. For more information on J-1 Visa applications, please visit Duke Visa Services for more information.

Medical Insurance

Please note that all current and incoming J-1 research scholars, professors, short-term scholars, specialists and their J-2 dependents are required to purchase a health plan per U.S. Department of State 22 C.F.R. § 62.14 of the J regulations. Not having insurance prior to your arrival to the U.S. may jeopardize your Visa status. Duke University policy requires the scholar to either enroll in the HTH Worldwide plan or another preferred policy that must be submitted to HTH Worldwide for review with an English translation prior to their arrival in the U.S. If the health insurance does not meet the minimum standards, the scholar will be required to enroll in the HTH Worldwide insurance plan.

U.S. Department of State minimum insurance requirements include:

  • Medical benefits of at least $100,000 per accident or illness

  • Repatriation of remains in the amount of $25,000 or more

  • Expenses associated with the medical evacuation of the exchange visitor to his or her home country in the amount of $50,000 or more

  • A deductible not to exceed $250 per accident or illness

  • Carrier must be at least A-rated or backed by the full faith and credit of the exchange visitor's government

HTH provides:

  • Easy to use plan which offers co-payment options for physician, hospital and other services

  • Comprehensive coverage, including medical evacuation and repatriation

  • Meets J Visa requirements

  • Covers pre-existing conditions

  • Covers maternity

  • $250 deductible

English Language Proficiency

The U.S. Department of State requires all J-1 and J-2 Visa holders provide documentation of proof of acceptable English language proficiency. Applicants may submit a TOEFL or IELTS score. The applicant’s score must not be more than two years old, and an official copy must be sent to Duke University directly from the testing agency. Personal copies and attested or notarized documents are not acceptable.

It is the policy of the Duke University School of Nursing to consider only those Visiting Scholar applicants with (a) a minimum TOEFL score of 100 (internet-based test), with minimum sub scores of 22 in Reading, 22 in Listening, 26 in Spelling and 24 in Writing or (b) achieve an IELTS score of 7.0. A virtual interview by either the Senior Program Manager for Visiting Scholars, the Director of Global Academic Partnerships and Innovation and/or the Associate Dean for Global Affairs may be conducted to determine proficiency of spoken English and comprehension of oral English.

Housing and other Resources

Visiting Scholars are responsible for arranging housing while in the U.S. It is recommended that you acquire housing within close proximity to the Duke University campus and on a Duke Bus line. The Duke International House (I-House) provides information on housing and other resources for foreign nationals visiting Duke University.

Dates for Visit

Careful planning is recommended on selecting dates for your program. Request for change in dates cannot be accommodated once the application has been submitted to the Duke Visa office and is in process. It is recommended that Visiting Scholars begin their program before the start of the semester, especially for those who wish to audit a course.

Course Participation

Applicants who desire to participate in courses as a part of their objective must provide the course number(s) and course name(s) with their application. That information is available in the Bulletin of the Duke University School of Nursing. Approval for course participation at DUSON is at the discretion of the professor. Thus,course participation is not guaranteed as a part of your program.

Visiting scholars cannot participate in courses that are already in session. It is recommended that scholars desiring to participate in courses start their program before the beginning of the semester. If approved, the scholar must be in attendance the first day the course is offered.

Duke University Health System (DUHS) Clinical Observation (Non-student)

This program allows nurses from around the world to enhance their knowledge and to observe state-of-the-science, evidenced-based specialized practice and/or academic settings at DUHS.

Each applicant should develop their own goals and determine what skills and knowledge they hope to gain during their visit. This plan should be submitted with their application. Clinical observers will not be compensated for their time at DUSON and so should seek out financial support by a sponsoring organization or academic institution.

Every attempt will be made to match the applicant’s objectives with relevant site placements, faculty, clinical specialty staff and administrators at DUSON and DUHS. If objectives focus on a particular clinical specialty area, visitors may be assigned for a portion of the experience to a hospital unit, an ambulatory specialty clinic or community-based site(s), and they will receive guidance from a designated nurse preceptor or mentor. If resources are not identified to satisfy the requested objectives of the potential visitor, the placement will not be approved.


DUHS policy limits clinical observation visits to two weeks.

All clinical exposure is observational. U.S. health regulations do not permit hands-on clinical experiences for international visitors.

DUHS requires all clinical observers show proof of required immunizations and flu shots.

English Language Proficiency

The requirements for clinical observers are the same as the requirements for visiting scholars.

Debriefing and Evaluation

Near the conclusion of the experience, each visiting nurse will participate in a debriefing session and complete an evaluation form. A certificate of completion is presented at the conclusion of the experience; however, no academic credit is awarded. Nurses seeking to pursue academic credits or an advanced nursing degree from the Duke University School of Nursing should contact the Office of Admissions.

Important Note: Visiting Scholar Obligation and Refund Policy

Visiting scholars who are accepted into the Visiting Scholar Program at the Duke University School of Nursing must adhere to and abide by the terms of the program as outlined in their Letter of Invitation and the policies of Duke University School of Nursing. Visiting scholars are expected to complete the term (dates) of their visiting scholar program as stipulated in the letter.

Visiting scholar fees are due ninety (90) days before the start of the program.

No refunds of visiting scholar fees will be given to international visiting scholars who are immersed in their program at Duke University School of Nursing, including visiting scholars who choose to end their program for any reason prior to their official program end date.

Visiting scholars who withdraw from the program prior to starting their program will be refunded as follows:

  • Withdrawal 60-90 days prior to the start of the program = 50% refund minus $300.00 application fee

  • Withdrawal 30 -59 days prior to the start of the program = 25% refund minus $300.00 application fee

  • Withdrawal less than 30 days prior to the start of the program or at any time during the program = $0 refund

Visiting Scholar Application Fee

Visiting scholars who have met the English language proficiency requirements and have worked with their approved faculty mentor to develop objectives for their program must complete the online application.

A $300.00USD non-refundable application fee is required at the time of application submission by uploading proof of a wire transfer transaction to the Duke University Concentration Account. The $300.00 deposit will be credited to the balance of the total Visiting Scholar Fee if accepted as a Visiting Scholar.  For wire transfer instructions, contact Michael Relf or Kimberly Jackson at

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