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Why should I seek a Master’s Degree in Judicial Studies?

A better understanding of the judicial process as a whole can lead to better judging. Participants in the program will develop a deeper understanding of social science evidence and statistics that are often present in trials or appeals. Judges interested in appointments to a higher court or up for re-election will benefit from having an advanced degree from Duke Law as a professional credential. Other reasons include the chance to work with other judges from around the country and the world, a chance to study ways to reform the judiciary, and, simply, the opportunity and challenge of pursuing academic study with colleagues and scholars of similar interests.

What time commitment is necessary for the program?

Judges should expect to spend four weeks in residence at Duke during late May and early June for two consecutive summers. Outside of those four-week periods, judges may be tasked with short papers for each course in lieu of final exams following each session, as well as a substantial reading component.  A typical course has 375-400 pages of reading assigned, and each 4-week session has eight courses.  Reading materials are sent in advance. Judges must also submit a thesis paper ranging from 50-100 pages within nine months after the second semester.

Who is eligible for the program?

State and federal judges in the United States, as well as international judges of equivalent position, are eligible for the program. (Municipal judges, administrative law judges, arbitrators, and special masters are not eligible for the program.)

When should I apply?

Applications may be submitted at any time. NOTICE:  FINAL DEADLINE TO SUBMIT AN APPLICATION IS MAY 17, 2017.  The application is a fillable PDF file. You may need to download the application or save it to your computer to use this feature. The next program dates are May 21 through June 15, 2018, and May 20 through June 14, 2019.  Applications will be considered starting in the summer of 2017.

When will I receive an admission decision?

Admission decisions will be made no later than December 15, 2017.

How much does the program cost?

Duke Law provides a full scholarship, as well as subsidies for food and housing costs. The listed tuition and fees total are approximately $22,000 per year (plus room and board). Judges are requested to pursue all available funding resources from their court, associated agencies, or other funds that may appropriately be used for educational purposes and contribute to the extent they are financially comfortable to do so.  State court judges will be required to seek a $1,000 Education Support Program (ESP) grant per year from the State Justice Institute.  We will provide assistance with the paperwork.

How much time will I have to complete my thesis?

The thesis must be completed by March 31, 2020, for the class beginning in May 2018.