Feb 29, 2024  
Graduate Catalog | 2022-2023 
Graduate Catalog | 2022-2023 Previous Edition

Liberal Studies, M.A.

The Master of Arts in Liberal Studies degree program (MALS) is primarily designed for adults seeking to enhance their general education in the liberal arts at the graduate level. It provides a flexible, multidisciplinary framework to accommodate the varied undergraduate backgrounds and personal interests that students bring to the program.  The curriculum draws upon the full range of the liberal arts studies, including humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences courses.  The emphasis is on an interdisciplinary, liberal arts education rather than on specialized, single disciplinary study or professional training.

For recent recipients of the baccalaureate degree, the Liberal Studies program may provide the insight needed to make an informed career choice.  For returning students, graduate interdisciplinary, liberal studies may enhance opportunities in a career already launched or renew ties with university life .  For persons with significant work experience, the program offers a chance to integrate the life of the mind with that of the workplace.  Just as students come to the Liberal Studies program from a variety of fields, so they pursue a variety of careers after graduation.  The most widely represented are in business, education, government, law, and social services.

The degree can be completed in two years as a full-time student and, possibly, three years as a part-time student.  While some courses are offered at night and online, many others are offered during the weekday.

Admission Requirements

In addition to the general requirements for admission to the Graduate School, the following are required for graduate study in Liberal Studies:

  1. A GPA of at least 3.0 on academic work beyond high school and 3.0 for courses prerequisite to the area of proposed graduate study
  2. A two-page essay describing the applicant’s objectives in undertaking graduate work in Liberal Studies. Students are encouraged to articulate an area of study that they would like to study during their time in the program.
  3. A resume of employment history or volunteer experience (for applicants who have been out of school for at least five years or whose baccalaureate degree was delayed)

Note:  GRE scores are not required.

Degree Requirements

The master’s program in Liberal Studies requires a minimum of 30 credit hours of graduate work, including at least 15 credit hours in courses open only to graduate students.  

Students must take three core MALS courses for a total of 9 credit hours.  The remaining seven courses (21 credit hours) may be taken in any department(s), with approval.  This flexibility allows students to customize the MALS curriculum to their individual needs and interests, working in concert with their professors and the MALS Graduate Program Director.

Students may enroll in the MALS program after completing or in the process of obtaining a graduate certificate.  Up to 12 credit hours from the certificate will be counted for the MALS degree.  The final 18 credit hours are composed of the 9 credit hours of MALS core courses and 9 credit hours from the interdisciplinary, liberal arts interest of the students.  This ensures both an interdisciplinary, liberal arts experience for the students and the ability to finish the MALS degree in a timely manner.

Elective Courses (21 credit hours)

Select seven additional courses from any department(s), with the instructor’s permission and approval.  The courses must be chosen in consultation with the MALS Graduate Program Director.  Students are strongly encouraged to take courses across departments and disciplines in ways that expand their knowledge and analysis of a specific topic of interest.

No more than 6 credit hours of directed reading/research or independent study may be applied to the degree.  Approval for MALS 6890  comes from the Graduate Director and the disciplinary instructor.  A form for MALS 6890 is available in the Director’s office and must be completed and the directed reading/research or study approved in advance of registration.

Degree Total = 30 Credit Hours

Grade Requirements

Students must have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 in courses in their degree plan of study in order to graduate.  Please consult the Graduate School’s grading policies under Degree Requirements and Academic Policies .