Duke University Reviews

Updated September 19, 2014
Updated September 19, 2014
299 Reviews
4.1
299 Reviews
Rating Trends

Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
Duke University President and Trustee Dick Brodhead
Dick Brodhead
141 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • Great work-life balance and a ton of flexibility in terms of scheduling (in 15 reviews)

  • Great benefits, wonderful co-workers (in most jobs) (in 15 reviews)


Cons
  • If you do want to work hard, opportunities for advancement are not easy to come by (in 8 reviews)

  • long hours, office space, management (in 8 reviews)

More Highlights

Employee Reviews

Sort: Popular Rating Date
  1.  

    Graduate Research

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Graduate Student  in  Durham, NC
    Former Employee - Graduate Student in Durham, NC

    I worked at Duke University full-time for more than 5 years

    Pros

    Duke provided pretty good facility to nurture young researchers. In general, Duke administration is wonderful to work with. Whenever in need, they will extend their helping hand to you.

    Cons

    There is no significant complain about Duke. Although, Duke being located in north Durham, there is not much thing to do outside of the campus. In some region, safety is a big issue.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    None.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  2.  

    Awesome experience

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Instructor  in  Durham, NC
    Former Employee - Instructor in Durham, NC

    I worked at Duke University as a contractor for less than a year

    Pros

    Friendly and supportive community. Intelligent and articulate students, faculty, and staff. Gorgeous campus, buildings, and landscaping. Sports facilities are a gem.

    Cons

    Safety and security concerns around Durham. You can feel the historical racial tensions/disparities of the south on campus and in town,

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  3.  

    Gothic

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Associate Professor  in  Durham, NC
    Current Employee - Associate Professor in Durham, NC

    I have been working at Duke University full-time for more than 10 years

    Pros

    Very nice location, Lovey environment. Forest, Gothic Architecture, great food in Durham.

    Cons

    We are expected to be world class and top of our field but of course not everybody can do that.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Need to address Gender and race issues

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  4. We want your feedback – Are these company reviews helpful to you?  Yes | No
  5.  

    Great place to learn and do research

    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Duke University

    Pros

    Great facilities and Engaging Faculty

    Cons

    Empty Campus over the Summer

  6.  

    Postdoctoral Associate

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Postdoctoral Associate  in  Durham, NC
    Former Employee - Postdoctoral Associate in Durham, NC

    I worked at Duke University full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Benefits are great. The postdoctoral association at Duke has provided many seminars and workshops to allow you to improve skills necessary to advance to a permanent job.

    Cons

    Parking is in short supply near the research buildings. As a postdoc at a Heavy R01 university like Duke you are expected to put in long hours and there can be significant sacrifices needed in your family/personal life.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  7.  

    Great place to work.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Duke University full-time

    Pros

    Good benefits and opportunities to advance.

    Cons

    Poor parking and constant construction going on.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  8.  

    Great place to work

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee  in  Durham, NC
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Durham, NC

    I worked at Duke University full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Great benefits and work life balance, kind coworkers, access to amazing resources, generous compensation. There are bountiful opportunities to meet people doing interesting things outside of your area of expertise.

    Cons

    Some offices are resistant to change--senior leadership (at least in my office/department) could have been less authoritative and more open to new ideas.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Merge duplicate offices and departments to decrease bureaucracy

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  9.  

    Very good company, ethical, friendly coworkers

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Data Consultant  in  Durham, NC
    Former Employee - Data Consultant in Durham, NC

    I worked at Duke University part-time for less than a year

    Pros

    I worked part-time as a data consultant intern at Duke University GIS.
    -Good pay for part-time
    -Able to do work when you aren't consulting
    -Not very busy at times

    Cons

    Lots of hours a week for a full time student (12 hr/week)
    Not Very Good training

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Keep it up

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  10.  

    Non-PhD research scientist - excellent experience-building and networking; hard for ambitious people to build a career

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Laboratory Research Analyst II  in  Durham, NC
    Former Employee - Laboratory Research Analyst II in Durham, NC

    I worked at Duke University full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Duke is a huge employer (largest in NC) so there are literally thousands of vantage points to review from, but I will give the perspective of a non-PhD research lab tech/analyst at the School of Medicine. Individual experiences will vary widely by lab and department, but overall Duke is an excellent place to get your foot in the door in world-class research. Getting into research here is an excellent opportunity for recent college graduates looking for experience before graduate school or medical school, to build experience for industry research positions, and, if you find your niche and are comfortable where you are, Duke could be a great place to spend an entire career.

    The biggest pro for me is the immersion in world class research. You will get to work with some of the brightest and thoughtful people you will ever meet in your career. The medical school and research campus is massive and it is amazing the sheer amount and quality of research that goes on here. Access to conferences and other events will give you invaluable knowledge and experience in your field. If you can get a job here straight from your undergraduate, grab it with both hands, as it is an excellent career first stop for any scientist.

    The typical progression for those with a BS is to start at Research Tech II, which pays a competitive entry-level hourly wage. With a masters, or after two years at the tech level, you are eligible for the salaried Lab Research Analyst I position, which brings a few perks, which I will mention below. The hours are flexible and you get two weeks vacation to start (3 once salary), plus 12 holidays (5 floating), and sick leave. The health insurance options are good, but you have to use Duke doctors if you want one of the cheaper options. Hourly positions are under a pension plan paid by Duke, but once salary, Duke contributes at least 9% to your 403b automatically. Other great benefits include tuition reimbursement for your children (Duke will pay a certain percentage each year for your child's college tuition (Duke or not) above a certain amount), among others you can check out at hr.duke.edu.

    If you get into a growing/well-funded institute or lab and perform well you can jump job levels quickly, which is really the only way to make more money as raises were 2% each year I didn't receive a promotion. The structure is set up so that one can jump up a few positions quickly but after ~7-10 years/3 level increases (to Lab Research Analyst, Senior) there's really only one more step up, so long term growth stagnates.

    As with any major university, the perks of being associated are innumerable: farmer's market, gyms, intramurals, employee appreciation football game, museum discounts, access to all that the university has to offer. You are definitely at the cultural heart of the city.

    Job security is also a plus, as even if funding runs out in your lab, Duke will find a place for you elsewhere. People have worked here for 40+ years, having to jump labs and departments along the way. Additionally, Duke seems open to people changing career paths and moving from lab positions into, for example, clinical or administrative positions within the organization. They definitely seem to want to keep good people and try to do what it will take to keep them.

    Cons

    The only two major cons that I can list from my whole experience, and my reasons for leaving, were pay and room for growth. As an academic institute, the salaries are not comparable to industry money. While not meager by any stretch, one does begin to feel the pinch of paltry 2% yearly raises with a growing family. Glassdoor is an excellent reference to get an idea of what to expect, but as I said, promotions are the only way to get ahead financially. While the entry-level pay is comparable to what you might get from industry, the salary growth with experience is much more modest than what one could expect with a company.

    The other major con is room for growth, at least for my ambitions. As a non-PhD scientist you are always going to be a tier below anyone with a PhD/MD, so upper level positions will be hard to come by. Additionally, those non-PhD/MDs in management positions tend to stay there so there are very few opportunities to get to the top. Switching to a non-laboratory role within Duke is an option, but was not appealing to me. Basically, one hits their pay-band ceiling at around 5-10 years, with maybe one more jump before retirement.

    Minor cons include parking (free=nonexistent) either pay $80 per month to park in a deck (good luck finding one without a waitlist) or pay less to park and ride the bus. Or bike if you can. Also, as with most college campuses in urban environments, you wouldn’t want to be out alone after hours. However, Durham gets a bad rap and around the main campus is not as bad as some might let on.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Build in more options for mid-career growth for non-PhD scientists. All promotions bar the final one (to Research Lab Manager) are typically obtained within 10 years, leaving decades of a career with no motivation to improve.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  11.  

    Good

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Research Assistant  in  Durham, NC
    Current Employee - Research Assistant in Durham, NC

    I have been working at Duke University full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Good environment
    Nice people
    Good work-life balance

    Cons

    Too big campus
    Boring country life
    No other cons any more

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

Worked for Duke University? Contribute to the Community!

Your response will be removed from the review – this cannot be undone.