Duke–NUS Medical School

The Duke-NUS Medical School (Duke-NUS) is a graduate medical school in Singapore. The school was set up in 2005 as the Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School, Singapore's second medical school after the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine and before the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine. It is a collaboration between Duke University from the United States and the National University of Singapore from Singapore. Duke-NUS follows the American model of post-baccalaureate medical education, in which students begin their medical studies after earning a bachelor’s degree. Students are awarded degrees from both, Duke University School of Medicine and the National University of Singapore.

Duke-NUS Medical School
杜克—国大医学研究生院 (Chinese)
TypeGraduate school
Parent institution
Duke University and NUS
DeanThomas M. Coffman

Duke-NUS and SingHealth form the SingHealth Duke-NUS Academic Medicine Centre which brings together clinicians, educators and researchers to bring about improvements in patient care.

Despite being a young institution, Duke-NUS has rapidly emerged as a leading center for medical research. Professors Eric Finkelstein and Tien Wong are among the most highly cited in the world[1] The first cryo-EM structure of the Zika virus was published in Nature by Professor Sheemai Lok's research group[2][3], Singapore's first publicly funded drug candidate, ETC-159 was developed through a collaboration between Duke-NUS and the Agency for Science, Technology and Research,[4] and Duke-NUS research on bat immunity, interleukin-11, and the dengue virus has received widespread media coverage.[5][6][7]

Outram campus

Construction of Duke-NUS's primary facility, the Khoo Teck Puat Building, started in Dec 2006.[8] In May 2009, Duke-NUS moved into the building at the Outram campus of Singapore General Hospital, next to the College of Medicine Building. The building was officially opened by Prime Minister of Singapore Lee Hsien Loong on 28 September 2009. The 13-storey building is green certified and was the tallest building at the Outram campus before the recent completion of another academic building.


Major research areas in Duke-NUS include:

  • Neuroscience and Behavioral Disorders
  • Emerging Infectious Diseases
  • Cancer and Stem Cell Biology
  • Cardiovascular and Metabolic Disorders
  • Health Services and Systems Research

Under the SingHealth Academic Medicine partnership, Duke-NUS also undertakes clinical research at affiliated hospitals, clinics and specific research sites. It also supports clinical research by providing senior diseases experts and senior quantitative experts as part of mentoring teams.

Graduate programs

Doctor of Medicine program

Duke-NUS' Doctor of Medicine (MD) program is a four-year program that follows the Duke University School of Medicine curriculum.[9][10] Students who successfully complete the course of study and fulfill all requirements will be awarded a joint MD degree from Duke University and the National University of Singapore.

The Duke-NUS curriculum is similar to that of Duke University, consisting of four years: the first year is pre-clerkship; second year clerkship; third year research; and fourth year for advanced clinical rotations. Duke-NUS employs an extensive team-based learning method called TeamLEAD (Learn, Engage, Apply, Develop). Students prepare for class with pre-reading materials and recorded lectures, They begin the class with a test. Students then proceed to discuss test questions and other open-ended questions in a small group setting. The faculty act as facilitators for student discussions, moving away from traditional pedagogical teaching.[9]

Duke-NUS accepted its first MD students in 2007.[10] The first class of MD students graduated in 2011. Since then, over 200 students have graduated with a Doctor of Medicine degree.

Duke-NUS accepts about 60 to 70 students in each cohort. 2/3 of the students are Singaporeans or Permanent Residents of Singapore. The rest of the students come from over 20 countries, such as Canada, China, India, Malaysia, South Korea and the U.S.. The average age of incoming medical student is 26 years old.

Prospective students are required to take the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT). The mean MCAT score of the 2011 admission was 33.[10] Typically, successful applicants have entrance MCAT scores of over 30 and GPAs over 3.5. Most students admitted had at least 10 on both Physical and Biological Sciences. Besides MCAT, the Admission Committee also evaluates applicants based on their academic performance, research experience, and evidence of leadership capabilities. For the class of 2023, the average GPA for matriculants was over 3.6 and the average MCAT score was 513 (88th percentile).[11] Data has shown that Duke-NUS students score significantly higher than the US national average on the USMLE [12]

PhD program

Duke-NUS offers a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) programme in Integrated Biology and Medicine. Students complete the following: 4 months of laboratory rotations, and research to a total of 4 – 5 years of PhD work in Singapore. The class size is currently about 15 students. Successful candidates will be awarded a PhD from both the National University of Singapore and Duke University in the USA.

MD-PhD program

Duke-NUS offers an MD-PhD programme, where students complete the following: 1 year of basic science coursework, 1 year of clinical rotations, 4 years of PhD work in Singapore or the United States, and 1 final year of clinical rotations. Successful candidates will be awarded a joint MD degree from Duke University and National University of Singapore, plus a PhD degree from the National University of Singapore or Duke University.

Notable Faculty


  1. "Highly Cited Researchers 2018".
  2. Kostyuchenko, Victor A.; Lim, Elisa X. Y.; Zhang, Shuijun; Fibriansah, Guntur; Ng, Thiam-Seng; Ooi, Justin S. G.; Shi, Jian; Lok, Shee-Mei (May 13, 2016). "Structure of the thermally stable Zika virus". Nature. 533 (7603): 425–428. doi:10.1038/nature17994 via www.nature.com.
  3. Baumgaertner, Emily (June 26, 2018). "High-Resolution Snapshot of Zika Virus Reveals Clues to Fighting It" via NYTimes.com.
  4. "Milestone reached as made-in-Singapore cancer drug starts clinical trials". TODAYonline.
  5. "Bat DNA May Hold Clues To Better Health In Humans". HuffPost. December 21, 2012.
  6. "Protein once thought harmless discovered to be main driver of kidney, heart failure". The Straits Times. November 14, 2017.
  7. "Zooming in on mosquito saliva to fight dengue". The Straits Times. April 15, 2016.
  8. "Duke-NUS names its new building after late philanthropist, Tan Sri Khoo Teck Puat".
  9. staff. "AAMC Readiness for Reform: Duke – National University of Singapore Case Study Implementing Team-Based Learning for Medical Students" (PDF). Association of American Medical Colleges. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-11-04. Retrieved 2013-08-01.
  10. Kamei, Cook; Puthucheary, Starmer (2012). "21st Century Learning in Medicine: Traditional Teaching versus Team-Based Teaching". Medical Science Educator. 22 (2): 57–64. doi:10.1007/BF03341758. Archived from the original on 2013-11-04. Retrieved 2013-08-01.
  11. "Class Profile".
  12. "21st Century Learning in Medicine" (PDF).

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