Co-established by Wuhan University and Duke University, Duke Kunshan University is a Chinese-American joint non-profit institution with independent legal status. Based on the principle of high-quality and international "elite education", it has introduced high-level curriculum system and interdisciplinary education model from Duke University. It combined China's national conditions and made good use of Wuhan University's academic advantages to build a world-class higher education institution.
On August 17, 2012, the Ministry of Education approved Wuhan University and Duke University’ s collaboration in co-establishing a university in Kunshan City, Jiangsu Province.
On December 19, 2012, the inauguration of Kunshan Duke University was held.
On September 17, 2013, the Ministry of Education officially approved the co-establishment of Kunshan Duke University by Wuhan University and University of Duke. The first president of the university was Liu Jingnan, an academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering.
In the fall of 2014, Duke Kunshan University began its global enrolment.