Academic Departments

At Duke University, Trinity College of Arts & Sciences is the home to five arts-focused academic departments with programs for undergraduate and graduate students.

Each arts department offers undergraduate majors and minors.

Art, Arts History & Visual Studies

The Art, Art History & Visual Studies department has three distinct parts: Visual Arts, Art History, and Visual & Media Studies. But all faculty and students – undergraduate and graduate alike – are engaged in international research, interdisciplinary learning, and the study of visual culture across geographic and historical categories, experienced through the perspectives of theory and practice, methodology and criticism, and digital technologies.


The Duke University Dance Program focuses on dance as an integral part of the human experience and a medium for rigorous intellectual creativity. The program prepares exceptionally aware, creative and socially responsible individuals. Their aim is to engage students in the profound potential for dance as embodied knowledge in the service of society. The Dance Program curriculum is designed to encourage the exploration of dance from interdisciplinary perspectives: historical, cultural, aesthetic, literary, technological, musical, scientific and creative.


The Duke English Department has long occupied a vital and distinctive place both in the discipline and in the university, where it has served as one of the defining spaces of thought, conversation, teaching, and inquiry. They have played a crucial role in defining the history, present, and future practices of reading and interpretation and the paradigms of research, pedagogy, and critique common to and distributed across the humanities as a whole at Duke.

The English Department’s research and pedagogy encompasses the study of English language, the range of representational forms which find expression in manuscripts, novels, poetry, drama, film and other genres and media, and the social and cultural fields within which such expressive practices take form and which they help to shape.


At Duke University, the Music department is a large part of campus life, even for students who do not major or minor in music. Whether through performances by renowned ensembles or engaging classes, students experience a rich musical environment. The curriculum combines theory, history, and performance with a low student-faculty ratio. Distinguished faculty offer expertise across disciplines, while diverse performing groups cater to majors and non-majors. The program boasts annual concert series and a vast music library.

Theater Studies

Duke’s Department of Theater Studies combines the study of the history and theory of theater, performance and dramatic literature in all its dimensions. In addition, the department is a laboratory for the development of new dramatic works and the exploration and integration of new media in theater. We offer a major and minor in theater studies, and directly sponsor several study abroad programs. Faculty research encompasses set and lighting design; directing, playwriting, TV writing, dramatic literature, acting and puppetry; performance and film studies; literary and cultural criticism, and theater history with specialization in areas such as Chinese theater, Russian theater, and British and American theater.