Judicial Studies LLM

Application and Instructions

Applications for the next class are due by late spring 2022.

Admission for the 2020 class is closed, and the entering class for 2020 has been delayed until 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Admission to the following class, entering in 2023, will begin in 2022.

Use the information below to review the degree requirements and the application process. Click here to receive updates on the application timeline via email.

Application Requirements

Eligible candidates for the LLM in Judicial Studies must have a JD or an LLM from an accredited U.S. law school or an equivalent degree from another country and be a current or former judge. Please review the detailed application instructions as you complete the application. For any questions not answered in these instructions, please refer to the FAQ.

Non-Discrimination Policy

Duke University is committed to encouraging and sustaining a learning and work community that is free from prohibited discrimination and harassment. Review the full policy to learn more.

ABA Recognition

The ABA approved Duke’s application for “acquiescence” for this program.

Duke University School of Law is approved by the Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar of the American Bar Association, 321 North Clark Street, Chicago, IL 60654, 312-988-6738.

Application Checklist

Please provide the following items. All application materials must be submitted in hard-copy form, or via email to judicialstudies@law.duke.edu. We will notify you via email when your materials have been received.


  1. Download the Judicial Studies Master’s Program Application. 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 form must be signed and submitted in hard-copy form through the mail or electronically signed and submitted via email to judicialstudies@law.duke.edu. Please submit a $80 nonrefundable application fee. This fee may be submitted by check or money order and must be submitted through the mail (see mailing address below). To verify your identity, please include your name and birthdate on your check or money order.
  2. Personal information
  3. Educational and professional history
  4. Resume/CV and professional references (two references and contact information)
  5. Jurisdictional authority (if applicable)
  6. TOEFL report (for international applicants only, if applicable)
  7. Personal statement
  8. Awards and distinctions
  9. Judicial education and publications
  10. Eligibility
  11. Conditions of application and signature

Application Deadline

The next class will convene on campus from mid-May to mid-June in 2021 and in 2022.  Applications will be considered starting in 2022 for 2023-2024. For an application to be considered complete, we must receive the application form, description of your court (if applicable), personal statement, resume, fee, and references. Please send your completed application to judicialstudies@law.duke.edu, or mail a hard copy to:

Bolch Judicial Institute
Duke University School of Law
210 Science Drive
Box 90362
Durham, NC 27708-0362

Supplemental Material

If you wish to forward additional material after submitting your application, please send it to our office via email at judicialstudies@law.duke.edu.

Application Instructions

Please read the following application instructions carefully before preparing each section of your application. The application is a fillable PDF file. You may need to download the application or save it to your computer to use this feature.

Section 1: Application Processing Fee

Submit the $80 nonrefundable application fee by check or money order payable to Duke University and mail it to:  Bolch Judicial Institute, Duke Law School; 210 Science Dr., Box 90362; Durham, NC  27708. To verify your identity, please include your name and birthdate on the check or money order.

Section 2: Personal Information

Complete this section. Please submit subsequent updates to your contact information directly by email at judicialstudies@law.duke.edu.

Section 3: Educational and Professional History

Please provide the names and locations of all colleges and universities you have attended, dates of attendance, major, degrees earned, and the date the degree was awarded. In addition, please list and describe any professional experience that you believe may be relevant to pursuing a degree in Judicial Studies.

Section 4: Resume/CV and Professional References

Resume: Please submit a current resume or curriculum vitae and the names, titles, and contact information from two professional references whom we may contact to discuss your application. Please include dates on all items on your resume or curriculum vitae. There is no required length.

Section 5: Jurisdictional Authority (if applicable)

Jurisdictional Authority: Federal judges and state supreme court judges are not required to complete this component.  State court judges, other than supreme court justices, should identify the level of their court, i.e., trial or appellate; limited or general jurisdiction, criminal/civil and at what level (e.g., above $50K).  International judges should also identify the type of cases they handle.

Section 6: TOEFL

If applicable, please indicate the dates or date you will take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). You must take the TOEFL if your first language is not English AND your undergraduate degree was obtained outside the United States, unless you earned a JD degree from a U.S. law school. Please submit a copy of your TOEFL report along with your application.

Section 7: Personal Statement

Personal Statement: A personal statement is required. The statement, which should be from 500 to 1,000 words, is your opportunity to introduce yourself to the admissions committee and may include (1) your significant personal experiences beyond what may be reflected in your academic transcripts and on your resume, (2) why you are interested in the Judicial Studies program, and (3) how the program will impact your current work or future professional goals.

Section 8: Awards and Distinctions

Please list any major awards or distinctions received in college or law school, or for professional work in your legal career. If the purpose of the award is unclear from its title, please include a very brief explanation.

Section 9: Judicial Education and Publications

Please attach a list of judicial education programs you have attended that have been important to you. You may also attach any published writing that the admissions committee should consider. Judicial opinions need not be included in this list.

Section 10: Eligibility

This program is generally open to sitting state and federal judges in the United States, as well as international judges of equivalent position.  (Municipal judges, administrative law judges, arbitrators, and special masters are not eligible for the program.) Please provide details about your judgeship and dates served. Please also confirm that you can commit to the full program (four weeks each summer for two years).

Section 11: Conditions of Application and Signature

Applications will not be processed without a signature agreeing to the conditions and certifying that the information is true and complete. You are obligated to notify the Bolch Judicial Institute immediately of any change in the information provided.