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.
Friday February 10, 2017
Matt Arnold, who graduated from the MALS program in December 2016, received the graduate student research award at the 2017...
Wednesday August 31, 2016
Rebecca Brewster Stevenson (MALS 2009) debuts her novel Healing Maddie Brees on September 13, 2016. Kirkus Reviews calls it "A...
Tuesday August 30, 2016
Incoming GLS student Laura Ritchie will participate in Arts Activism in Durham, a roundtable discussion about the promise and challenges...
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Friday August 05, 2016
Alumna Anna Upchurch (MALS 2003) was featured on the Australian radio program Rear Vision . Anna was interviewed about Keynes...
Monday July 25, 2016
MALS alumna Jenny Semans Koortbojian passed away on July 20 at Duke University Medical Center. Jenny began her MALS degree...
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Friday July 01, 2016
GLS alumna Jean Anne Casey (AM 1990) passed away on Tuesday, June 28, 2016. A friend and fellow GLS alumna...
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Saturday May 14, 2016
On Saturday, May 14, 2016, Graduate Liberal Studies awarded 26 MALS degrees. Gregson Davis, Andrew W. Mellon Research Professor of...
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Thursday May 05, 2016
Gloria Ayee (MALS 2008) successfully defended her dissertation "Restorative Justice and Political Forgiveness: A Comparative Study of Truth and Reconciliation...
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Tuesday May 03, 2016
GLS alumna Natalya Wallin (MALS 2010) writes about modern slavery in Myanmar in TGS's Alumni News & Notes . Natalya...
Monday May 02, 2016
Kim Smith (MALS 2016) was selected to serve as Student Speaker at the 2016 GLS hooding ceremony. Kim began the...