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 applications are accepted twice per year:
  • Deadline for fall entry: NEW! As of 4/10/2020, due to many inquiries from individuals with changed circumstances due to COVID-19, our application period for Fall 2020 has been re-opened until May 15, 2020.
  • Deadline for spring entry: October 1
GLS also has specific application requirements, outlined below.

The Components of the GLS Application

A 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 substitute the following:

 In a personal essay of two to three double-spaced pages, address the following:

  • How Graduate Liberal Studies might meet your intellectual, educational and/or professional goals; and
  • The experiences and abilities that you bring to the program.

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. 

A Short Analytical Essay

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In 2-4 double-spaced pages, analyze a book (fiction or non-fiction) or some other written text (an essay, a story) you have read within the past year or two that you find significant or thought-provoking.  Do not merely describe or summarize this text; instead, discuss its meanings, insights and values within the context of its uses and limitations.  Provide a complete citation for your chosen text. 

Do not substitute an academic paper that does not fully meet these parameters.  However, you may also include an example of academic analytical writing if you feel that is useful.

We use this analytical essay to assess your writing and analytical abilities.   It should be uploaded into the online application under "Departmental Requirements."

A 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 MALS degree. 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 capacity for graduate work, your academic ability and 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.