CDS offers undergraduate courses in Documentary Studies to students enrolled at Duke University. Students enrolled at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, at North Carolina Central University, and at North Carolina State University may also take these courses for credit through reciprocal arrangements among these schools. 

Documentary Studies courses supplement and enrich students' work in a broad range of academic disciplines. Undergraduates connect their educational experiences and creative expression to broader community life through documentary fieldwork projects, while they also examine the theoretical, practical, and ethical issues related to this work through readings, screenings, and classroom discussion. Taught by faculty members, adjunct instructors, visiting artists, and professional documentarians, Documentary Studies courses provide community-based experiences using the mediums of photography, film and video, audio, narrative writing, and new media. 

Some courses, with permission of the instructor, may be taken as early as a student's first year. If students choose, they may complete the Certificate in Documentary Studies, which requires a minimum of six courses and completion of a final project.

As part of its undergraduate education program, CDS created and hosts the Lehman Brady Visiting Joint Chair Professorship in Documentary Studies and American Studies at Duke and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, which brings a distinguished documentarian to teach on both campuses each year.