The GLS Application

All applicants to GLS must complete The Graduate School's online application. A non-refundable application fee of $95 is required. Please see The Graduate School's website for any questions you have about the application process.
GLS admits students in the Spring and Fall semesters.

Upcoming Admissions Deadlines

Entry Semester Application Deadline
Spring 2025

November 1, 2024 - Final Deadline

Fall 2025

February 15, 2025 - Priority Deadline
June 2, 2025 - Final Deadline

Applications received between February 16 and June 2 will be reviewed on a rolling basis.


GLS Application Requirements

Life Experience Statement

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The Duke Graduate School application requires a brief (one page or less) statement that highlights the unique life experiences that have shaped your own identity and prepared you for graduate work. Share how these experiences have influenced your perspectives and your vision for contributing to Duke's academic community. 

Statement of Purpose

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The Duke Graduate School application also requires a Statement of Purpose. The statement should be one to two pages and single spaced and address the following points:

  • your purposes and objectives in pursuing graduate study;
  • your special interests and plans;
  • your strengths and weaknesses in your chosen field;
  • any research projects or any independent research in which you have actively participated and how they have influenced your career choice and desire to pursue graduate studies; and
  • any particular reasons you may have for applying to Duke (e.g. you would like to work with a specific faculty member)

Upload the statement of purpose in the "Required Supplemental Uploads" section of the online application.

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.

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."