Students and Alumni


Typically the GLS program has about 50 full-time students and 70 part-time students enrolled each semester.  Up to 30 new students enter the program each Fall, while up to 15 new students enter each Spring. See our GLS Cohort websites to get to know more about our current and past students. 

GLS students come from all walks of life: salespeople and civil servants; physicians and police officers; technicians and CEOs.  Some have liberal arts backgrounds, while others have technical or professional degrees in the sciences, engineering, medicine, law, business, or journalism.  Many students already live in the area, but some move here from elsewhere in the United States or from abroad.  They represent all ages, as well as a wide variety of cultural backgrounds and life experiences.  Most are part-time students taking one course a semester, but many are full-time students who complete their degree requirements at a faster pace. 

This diversity of background enriches the GLS experience because what our students share is a deep desire for intellectual challenge and personal growth. Curious about their world, they seek to go beyond the superficial to explore more profound meanings and values, with each student contributing their own knowledge, background and  experience to Liberal Studies seminars.

This exploration is a cooperative process in which GLS students engage with faculty and fellow students in a mutually supportive environment.  Indeed, one of the best aspects of Duke’s GLS program is being part of a community of fellow students who are intellectually active and engaged.  This community includes past students as well, through the GLS student/alumni organization, GLS AfterHours.   One of the enduring dividends of the program is the personal and intellectual friendships that develop along the way.


Since the first entering class in fall 1984, nearly 900 students have graduated with a MALS  degree from Duke University.  Many remain committed to Graduate Liberal Studies as active GLS alumni, attending lectures and other events that continue to nourish their minds and offer the opportunity to renew their friendships within the GLS community.  Some alumni choose to audit courses post-degree, while some continue their higher education in doctoral or professional degree programs.  Others embark on new jobs, new careers or new phases of their lives. Some share their stories at GLS information sessions or are active in the GLS student/alumni organization GLS AfterHoursMany feel so positively about the program that they support its mission by contributing to the MALS Endowment Fund.  

Please keep us up to date on your life after GLS--complete this short form if you have academic or job news you'd like to share.
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Friday December 11, 2020
James Wahlberg (MALS 2017) has been awarded a GradEngage fellowship for Spring 2020, GradEngage, a program of DukeEngage , was...
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Wednesday August 26, 2020
Did you know that GLS publishes a bi-weekly electronic update for students and alumni? Check out our archives for past...
Tuesday February 11, 2020
Megan Mayhew Bergman (MALS 2007) will receive the Phil Reed Environmental Writing Award Reed Award for “Climate Changed , ”...
Friday September 20, 2019
GLS alumna Melody Hunter-Pillion was recently interviewed on WUNC's The State of Things with Frank Stasio . Melody, a 2012...
Tuesday January 22, 2019
"Beirut," an exhibit of new photos by GLS alumus John Bechtold opens at Horse & Buggy Press in Durham, on...
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Friday October 19, 2018
Last week, Duke GLS students Sara Stevens & Citlaly Mora, and Duke GLS alum Natalya Barker, presented papers at the...
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Tuesday May 01, 2018
Each year, Graduate Liberal Studies at Duke acknowledges a few extraordinary master’s projects and honors their creators. GLS chose the...
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Wednesday August 23, 2017
On August 23, Graduate Liberal Studies welcomed 20 new students with an orientation luncheon at the Washington Duke Inn and...
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Tuesday June 06, 2017
Want to contribute to the future of graduate humanities education at Duke? This looks like a great opportunity to share...
GLS Graduation 2017
Wednesday May 24, 2017
On the afternoon of Saturday, May 13, Graduate Liberal Studies held its annual Graduation and Hooding Ceremony at the Washington...