Apr 17, 2024  
Graduate Catalog | 2015-2016 
Graduate Catalog | 2015-2016 Previous Edition

Liberal Studies, M.A.

The Master of Arts in Liberal Studies degree program (MALS) is designed primarily 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 humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences. The emphasis is on liberal arts education rather than on specialized 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, or it may enhance opportunities in a career already launched. For returning students, graduate liberal studies may renew ties with university life or lead to a change of career. 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.

Although the Liberal Studies program is not exclusively an evening program, the majority of courses are offered at times convenient for working adults. It is possible to earn the degree in a timely fashion through evening courses only.

Additional 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. Satisfactory scores on the Miller Analogies Test or the Verbal and Analytical portions of the Graduate Record Examination
  3. A two-page essay describing the applicant’s objectives in undertaking graduate work in Liberal Studies
  4. 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)

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.  A student 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 .”

The program begins with two core courses that give students some common grounding in the issues of liberal arts education.  Each student then chooses a program emphasis by completing at least four courses that focus on a common theme.  Degree requirements also include a Liberal Studies elective course and two elective courses that can be taken in any department in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences.  The requirements are outlined below:

Program Emphasis Courses (12 credit hours)

Select four related courses focusing on a theme developed by the student and faculty advisor.

Restricted Elective Course (3 credit hours)

Select one Liberal Studies course.

Unrestricted Elective Courses (6 credit hours)

Select two elective courses.

Concluding Seminar Course (3 credit hours)


No more than 6 credit hours of directed reading/research or independent study may be applied to the degree. Students requesting a directed reading/research or independent study must have successfully completed at least 12 credit hours in the program, including MALS 6101  and MALS 6102 . A form for such requests is available in the Director’s office and must be completed and the directed reading/research or study approved in advance of registration.