Spring Breakthrough 2020

Spring Breakthrough is a risk-free opportunity for Duke students to take a mini-course during spring break. The courses are not for credit or grades. They are designed to explore intellectual interests in a fun and refreshing way, with professors and students one might not otherwise encounter. Courses are offered in a range of topics, and participants are encouraged to explore new disciplines.


Spring Breakthrough is an alternative spring break experience consisting of four-day courses taught by Duke faculty from Monday, March 9th to Thursday, March 12th, 2020. The courses, meals and materials, are 100% free. There are no prerequisites, grades, or credits. The expectation of this program is that you meaningfully engage and build community with fellow Duke students and faculty while developing your intellectual curiosity. Participation will be noted on transcripts.

List of Courses:

Check out the  Course Catalog for 2020.

Who is It for?

All current Duke undergraduates. This year, seniors, juniors, sophomores and first-year students sign up in Duke Hub. Look for the courses under "P" and "POE" for Practice-Oriented Experience.

When is it?

Spring Breakthrough occurs annually during Duke's official spring break. For 2020, the dates are Monday, March 9, through Thursday, March 12. Courses generally run from the morning through the early evening. 

Where will it take place?

On campus, with possible field trips. You get to stay in your residence hall.  One course, "Mucking Around in the Marsh,"  is taught at the Duke Marine Lab. Transportation is provided.

How Do I Sign Up?

Register for one class in DukeHub. All Spring Breakthrough courses can be found under “P” for POE 105 (practice-oriented experience). Each individual course will have a different section number. 


The idea came from Provost Sally Kornbluth, who as an undergraduate at Williams College, took a three-week, ungraded class outside of her major that changed the course of her career from Political Science to Biology. Thus, Spring Breakthrough was created as an opportunity to explore an intellectual interest and engage in meaningful discussion and dialogue within the Duke community and beyond. 


Please contact Sloan Talbot, Nowicki Fellow for Undergraduate Education. 

Fee free, grade free, stress free; Courses for the curious. Explore an interest.