The GLS Application

All applicants to GLS must complete The Graduate School's online application. A non-refundable application fee of $95 is required.
GLS admits students in the Spring and Fall semesters.

Upcoming Admissions Deadlines

Entry Semester Application Deadline
Spring 2024

November 1, 2023 - Final Deadline

Fall 2024

February 15, 2024 - Priority Deadline
June 3, 2024 - Final Deadline

Applications received between February 16 and June 3 will be reviewed on a rolling basis.


GLS Application Requirements

Statement of Purpose

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The Duke Graduate School application form will ask you to upload a Statement of Purpose (through Supplemental Uploads).  For your Statement of Purpose, please submit the following:

 In a personal essay of approximately 750-1000 words, address the following:

  • The path that has brought you to apply to Graduate Liberal Studies
  • Special interests and plans
  • How Duke's Graduate Liberal Studies program, in particular, would be a good fit to help you meet your intellectual, educational and/or professional goals

This essay offers an opportunity to reflect on your personal intellectual history in such a way as to demonstrate your seriousness of purpose and commitment to the goals of this particular program.  We use the statement of purpose to assess your writing ability and educational objectives, and to determine whether your objectives can be achieved within Duke Graduate Liberal Studies. 

Writing Sample

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For this component of the application, please submit ONE of the following:

1. A newly-written short essay (at least 750 but not more than 2500 words) describing a time when you were excited about something you learned. The essay could focus on something you read, a film you watched, a presentation you heard, a historic site or museum you visited, a manual skill you learned, a class or travel experience you had, or some other learning experience. Please describe the experience, discuss what you learned, and explain why this learning excited you or how it helped you either personally or professionally.  

2. A RECENT (last 5 years) writing sample of your own of which you are proud. The submitted sample should be at least 750 words, but not more than 2500 words. It could be a short academic essay or something written for a professional or popular audience. For example, you might send a blog post, artist’s statement, lesson plan, exhibition script, brochure, strategic plan, or grant proposal. Please include a cover page that explains briefly the context for the writing sample (that is, its date and the original purpose for which it was produced). The sample should stand well on its own.

We use this document to assess your writing and analytical abilities, as well as to get a feel for your interests and personal writing style.  It should be uploaded into the online application under "Departmental Requirements."

Curriculum Vitae or Résumé

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A curriculum vitae or résumé including academic background, professional and volunteer activities, and relevant experience should be uploaded into the online application. It is a supplement to specific information regarding employment and education supplied in the online application.

Transcripts for All Post-Secondary Education

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As part of your online application, you must upload one copy of the scanned unofficial transcript from each undergraduate and graduate institution where you

  • earned (or will earn) a degree;
  • studied for one semester or more;
  • earned 12 or more hours of credit; or
  • took classes that relate to your graduate study interests.

Submitting your transcript(s) is a requirement of the Graduate School and all applicants must comply with Graduate School specifications. Please read the Graduate Admissions guidelines on transcript submission carefully:

Two Letters of Recommendation

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Two letters of recommendation are required in support of your application to the GLS Program. You will enter the contact information of your recommenders into the online application.  Your recommenders will receive a link to the online recommendation form where they can upload a letter in support of your application.

Letters of recommendation must be from persons qualified to testify to your your academic ability, your capacity for graduate work, and your motivation. Academic references are preferable for every applicant.

Note that academic references are mandatory if your undergraduate work was completed within the last five years.

Where academic references are not possible, we encourage you to find persons who can speak knowledgeably about your academic skills and promise as a graduate student.

Recommenders may not be friends or relatives.