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.

GLS students come from all walks of life: salesmen 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 his or her 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 are the personal and intellectual friendships that develop along the way.


Student Highlights

38 GLS Students Awarded MALS Degrees

GLS Graduation 2017
The Hooding Ceremony

May 24, 2017

On the afternoon of Saturday, May 13, Graduate Liberal Studies held its annual Graduation and Hooding Ceremony at the Washington Duke Inn.  This event honored all 38 students – now alumni -- who earned a Master of Arts in Liberal Studies through our program between June 2016 and May 2017.  The ceremony included the hooding of the new graduates by their master’s project supervisors, or another faculty member, and was followed by a reception with live music from a string quartet. 

Congratulations to the following graduates.  They well represent the strength, diversity and spirit of this program.




September 2016

Karli Johonnot
Gloria Lloyd
Patricia Pawlak
Estefania Ramirez
Manjun Zhao

December 2016

Courtney Young Alston
Matt Arnold
Maria Trinidad Brahm Rivas
Samantha Cunningham
Chun Jiang
Felipé Lamus
Britain Scott

May 2017

Kavanah Anderson
Yifang Bai
John Bechtold
Terri Beck
Michelle Cooley
Katie Eller
Kristen Greenaway
Mishalle Kayani
Botian Liu
Jingyi Lu
Wa Meng
Raz Molotiu
Alex Monroe
Femi Omoni
Kathy Phillips
Len Piechocki
Siyuan Qu
Jim Rose
Katayoun Sadri
Jeremy Salemson
Paul Triulzi
Maria Trinidad Ugarté
Taylor Virden
James Wahlberg
Tony Watson
Todd Woodard

View our Graduation 2017 photo album on Facebook.

GLS Alum Wins Graduate Student Research Award at Asian Studies Conference


February 10, 2017

Matt Arnold, who graduated from the MALS program in December 2016, received the graduate student research award at the 2017 Southeastern Conference of the Association of Asian Studies. The award recognizes an outstanding paper dealing with Asia--defined by the Association as the Indian subcontinent (including Afghanistan), Sri Lanka, and Southeast, East, and Central Asia. Matt's research reflects on modern South Korea, where the tensions within a “dazzlingly modern society [whose] technological innovation and interconnectivity set world standards,” are at odds with a society also defined by centuries-old traditions. Read Matt's master's project, "Queer Korea: Identity, Tradition, and Activism," on DukeSpace:



Alumna Becomes First Woman to Play American Football at Oxford

February 24, 2017

Ellen Rivers Gambrell (MALS 2016) writes about being the first woman to play American football at Oxford.…/The-First-Woman-to-Play-A…