Through Duke’s Master’s Program in Judicial Studies, judges learn the analytical skills and research approaches necessary for studying judicial institutions and apply those skills to studies of domestic and international judicial institutions, common and emerging legal issues, general judicial practices, and judicial reform efforts.
The program is open to state, federal, and international judges; in fact, we seek to admit a balance of representatives from each sector of the judiciary in order to create a diversity of ideas and approaches that will enhance the learning experience. The program requires four weeks of coursework in two consecutive summers, plus the writing of a thesis based on original research. Courses are highly interactive and taught by scholars from the Duke Law faculty as well as institutions around the country. The inaugural class enrolling in summer 2012 included 18 judges, 12 state court judges, 4 federal court judges, and 2 international judges. Duke Law offers a full scholarship to judges for tuition, room and board.
First judicial studies master’s program a success
The first session of the master’s program class (May 21 –June 15, 2012) was a smashing success. The faculty and judges learned much from each other and are eager to continue their coursework next summer.
"The combination of excellent professorial scholarship, peer participation and in-depth analysis creates an invaluable learning experience in this challenging program," said Justice Marsha C. Erb, Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta, in Calgary, Canada. "The expected American focus provides an interesting basis for international judges to assess their own jurisdiction’s practices and procedures. The wealth of knowledge and experience shared by an outstanding faculty and sitting federal, state and international judges makes this program unique. I would highly recommend the Duke University LLM (judicial studies) program to any judge interested in enhancing judicial skills through comparative analysis. The faculty is impressive, fully engaged with participants, and focused on ensuring the learning experience is exceptional."
Dean David Levi’s vision and leadership are evident. Together with several colleagues, he has brought together a remarkable nucleus of scholars and experts to produce an intensive and challenging curriculum touching on a critical array of issues relating to judicial institutions, judicial behavior, and decision-making. Combined with an extremely talented and experienced class of 18 state, federal, and international judges, we have together produced an enriching experience for all involved, which can only serve to improve the judiciary and academy we serve. Certainly the experience leaves all involved with a sense of excitement for the 2013 term, and a lot of work to do in the meantime. Congratulations and thank you to all who made this marvelous opportunity possible.
The first session of the master’s program ended on June 15, 2012. The next session will run from May 20 to June 14, 2013. The next class will start in May 2014. Applications for the 2014-2015 sessions are being accepted now.