Durum wheat (Triticum turgidum L. var. durum) is an important crop for the world population and occupies a large cultivated area worldwide. New cultivars need constant improvement of their agronomic management, within which N fertilization is highlighted. Durum wheat is also important in Chile where genetic breeding and agronomic management have been developed to increase yield, industrial, and nutritional grain quality. The objective of this experiment was to determine the appropriate number of N applications during a crop cycle in a volcanic ash soil in South Central Chile. Nitrogen split applications were carried out on three durum wheat cultivars in a Melanoxerands soil during the 2003-2004 and 2004-2005 seasons. A rate of 200 kg ha-1 N was applied at different growing stages including planting, tillering, flag leaf, and heading (200-0-0-0, 100-100-0-0, 66-67-67-0, and 50-50-50-50 kg N ha-1, respectively). The evaluated traits were grain yield, hectoliter weight, and wet gluten content. Results indicated that the use of two and three split N applications increased grain yield and wet gluten content with differences among genotypes. The best N split strategy corresponded to two and three N splits: at planting and tillering; at planting, tillering, and flag leaf, respectively.