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.
bechtold gradx 2016 facing camera cropped.jpg
Friday April 08, 2016
John Bechtold was one of 18 selected graduate student speakers who presented their work at Duke’s 2016 Grad-X talks on...
Monday January 25, 2016
Leigh Goller (MALS '15) has been named Duke’s executive director of the Office of Audit, Risk and Compliance (OARC). Click...
almost famous cover.jpg
Tuesday September 01, 2015
Megan Mayhew Bergman's (MALS '07) short story, " Beryl and the Stallion," is featured in Fall 2015 Special Issue of...