As a Gussin Spiritan Division student, your first year of college will focus on far more than helping you study better. The division is designed to develop the whole person, creating opportunities to deepen your sense of civic duty and allowing you to engage with the community throughout the year. The GSD experience makes sure your heart grows along with your abilities as a student. Questions about applying? Check out our FAQs on our main Gussin Spiritan Division page.


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Annual Michael P. Weber Memorial Scholarship Recipients

Dannielle Michaels at reception

I really didn’t consider Duquesne until I visited during Accepted Student Day, and immediately fell in love with the campus and told my mom ‘I need to go there!’ I’m also pleased with the financial support offered by the University.”

2022-2023 Scholarship Recipient, Dannielle Michaels '27, Biochemistry and Sociology
More from Danielle
Dante Martin at reception dinner

The best feature of the [program] is their willingness to help students; they even loan you textbooks, and they find you tutors when you need them.”

2022-2023 Scholarship Recipient, Dante Martin '27, Theater Arts and Communications
How we Celebrate Each Year

First-Year GSD Experience

Follow the standard Duquesne University admissions process and the admissions staff will make a determination based on your application. If you are deemed a qualified GSD prospect, the admissions team will notify you. 


You will receive a letter informing you of your acceptance into the program. Should you choose to enroll, a deposit is made and more information will be provided to you regarding the Summer Semester.


The Summer Semester is a college experience designed to provide an early introduction to collegiate life. You will attend traditional “in-person” classes Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:40 p.m during six weeks spanning July and August. Evenings will include computer labs and study hall. 

You will also be taking a series of diagnostic tests to determine appropriate academic support for the fall and spring semesters. 

In addition to the University BRDG course, Essential Questions, the Summer Semester curriculum includes three, one-credit courses: University BRDG Research and Information Skills, and Division Requirements Strategies for Academic Success, and Introduction to University Success.

These courses orient students to the collegiate experience at Duquesne and introduce them to using technology at the University, focusing on developing critical reading and thinking skills, and exploring their individual learning styles and academic motivation. 

The Summer Semester requires all GSD students to live on campus for the duration of the program. Students are permitted to leave campus on weekends.

Every GSD student is required to complete our first-year curriculum as part of the Student Agreement.  In addition, whenever possible, students are enrolled in one or more introductory courses in their major field of study.  ALL Division courses MUST be completed before students can be considered for internal transfer to their school of intended major.   

The following are courses are included in the GSD Fall and Spring curriculum:

Fall and Spring (28 credits)

BRDG – Writing and Analysis (3 cr.)

Co-requisite: Writing and Analysis Seminar

BRDG – Writing and Literature (3 cr.)

Co-requisite: Writing and Literature

BRDG – Exploring Intercultural Communication (3 cr.) 

BRDG– Public Speaking (3 cr.)

BRDG– Biblical and Historical Perspective (3 cr.)

BRDG– Democracy and Justice (3 cr.)

Division Requirement – Field Observation 207 (2 cr.) 

Division Requirement – Field Observation 208 (2 cr.) 

Major Course Selections – (6 cr.), 2 courses

Preview Day (University-wide Open House)

You are able to receive information directly from the Division staff in a friendly, informal atmosphere at the office of the Division.

Student and Parent Orientation Luncheon

Luncheon held annually on the Sunday before classes begin.

Community Building Group Activities 

Bowling, arcade games outing, and Pirate's games are just a few examples!

Spiritan Division Reception

An event held annually to recognize and award students for their excellent work.

reception tamburitzans

Our goal is to support and prepare you for your matriculation into your desired school of major after your first academic year. By design, the Gussin Spiritan Division office is located within the Michael P. Weber Learning Skills Center, which offers a variety of services to all students of the University. From counseling, to tutoring, to financial help, the Learning Skills Center has you covered. Each of our staff members are Certified Academic Life Coaches

gsd building

Retention Data for Freshman Classes follows: 

First year to second year retention form 1997 (inception of the division) - 2021

81% = GSD Compared to 
86% = university at large freshman class 
Note: The fall 2021 to Spring 2022 retention for the GSD freshman class is 79%. The university at large is 92%. 

Graduation Rate for GSD & University at large

58% = GSD (4 – year undergraduate degree) to 
67% = University (4 – year undergraduate degree also includes GSD undergraduates)  
47% = National 

College and School Graduation Percentages

Students who began their courses of study at Duquesne as GSD students have graduated from every school of the University.

The following is based on 571 graduates as of spring 2021. 
44.3% = College, 40.3% = Business, 8.9% Education, 2.1% = Natural and Environment Sciences, 2.1% = Nursing, 0.5% = Music, 1.1% = Health Sciences, 0.4% Pharmacy, 0.4% = Leadership  

Empowering Tomorrow's Leaders

Nurturing Excellence, Diversity, and Inclusion with a Focus on Ethics, Service, Equity, and Community Engagement

Gussin Students

A Summer to Prepare You

Unlike the rest of the first-year students, you will have already spent weeks on campus making friends and becoming familiar with Duquesne and university life.

a photo of Academic Walk

A First Year to Empower You

Throughout the year you will have a special community of support and academic resources to ensure you have the greatest chances of success with every step you take towards achieving your goals.

Students at a baseball game.

Special Events to Support You

You engage in activities and events selected to promote the development of community among all students, and celebrate your journey along the way.

27%Made the 2021-22 Dean's List

A comprehensive network of programs and services help you develop the skills required in higher education to be successful learners.

Students holding awards

See the GSD Difference

Our students often stay in touch with their peers and our GSD community to share successful outcomes.