Portfolio

All students will keep a portfolio of significant work done for courses, such as final papers or special projects, with comments and grades from the professor.  By the midpoint, there will be work from a total of at least three courses in the portfolio.  At least two of the three pieces in the midpoint portfolio will be from the core courses.  The third will be from an elective representing the student's best work.  At the culminating point there will be work from at least six courses represented in the portfolio, two pieces from the Core Courses and four from the electives, representing the student's best work.

Midpoint Essay

After completing the sixth course but before taking the ninth course, all students in both programs will write a 3-5 page essay examining their progress to that point, using as evidence work from the portfolio. The Midpoint Essay reflects on the student's intellectual growth, and suggests directions for the second half of the student's program.

Culminating Point Essay

All students in both programs (regardless of which final option they choose) will write an essay of 3-5 pages, reflecting on their intellectual growth in the second half of the program.

Course Work

  • Completion of 48 or 52 quarter hours of graduate credit, depending on the concentration and completion option (thesis, practicum, enhanced portfolio or exit course) chosen by the student.
  • Cumulative grade-point average of 2.5 in the core courses:  Students who have not achieved a 2.5 in the core will be warned that they will probably have serious difficulties in the elective portion of the program, and may be advised to withdraw.
  • Elective courses must be selected from at least two different departments in order to preserve the multidisciplinary character of the program.
  • MALS students ordinarily take no more than four approved 300-level courses for MALS degree credit unless they have sought the approval of a MALS program advisor.

Program Completion (Capstone) Steps

All students must apply and be approved for the particular option they wish to use for program completion (thesis, practicum, enhanced portfolio, or exit course).  This application will include the student's portfolio.  The thesis and practicum options include a Formal Proposal.  Approval of the proposal is necessary before the student undertakes this final stage of the program. Enrollment in MLS 499, the culminating project independent study course, takes place after approval of the proposal has been secured.  If necessary, in lieu of an elective, students may enroll in MLS 498 INDEPENDENT STUDY: Thesis if they require an additional quarter of research and other preparation for MLS 499.

Both 498 and 499 are conducted as Independent Studies.  Instructions for proposing and pursuing these are available with the Program.  When the project is completed both the members of the committee and the MALS director sign a Culminating Project Completion Form, which can be found on the program's D2L site.

Program Completion (Capstone) Options

Thesis Option

In addition to the Culminating Point Essay and final portfolio submission, the student will write a paper of approximately 35-50 pages that includes 3-4 components or sections, one of which will be a research component and original exploration of the subject.  (Other components might include a review of literature, a synthesis of earlier research, a reflection on various disciplinary and methodological approaches to the issue, suggestions for future research, etc.)  The research component of the Master’s Thesis involves reflection on primary research, or actual primary research combined with reflection on the primary research of others. The student is encouraged to make a public presentation about his or her thesis.

  • Ordinarily taken as MLS 499 CAPSTONE, the student's 12th and final course.
  • Requires minimum cumulative GPA of 3.3, evaluation of "satisfactory" on the Midpoint Portfolio, formal proposal, and approval of committee.

Practicum Option

In addition to the Culminating Point Essay and final portfolio submission, for the Practicum Option the student will create a project aimed at developing and executing a community-based intellectual or intellectual/creative activity.  Examples are a public presentation as a lecture, in broadcast or print media, or on the web.  Service learning projects are also encouraged.   A 15-25 page descriptive/analytic essay documenting the project is also submitted. The student is encouraged to make a public presentation about his or her practicum in addition to the primary distribution of the project.

  • Ordinarily taken as MLS 499 CAPSTONE, the student's 12th and final course.
  • Requires minimum cumulative GPA of 3.3, evaluation of "satisfactory" on the Midpoint Portfolio, formal proposal, and approval of committee.  

Enhanced Portfolio Option

In addition to the final portfolio submission, and a Culminating Point Essay based on portfolio pieces selected from at least three courses in the second half of the program, the distinctive feature of the Enhanced Portfolio option is the writing of a new extended expository essay of 12-15 pages.  This is a paper on a topic of the student's own choosing that makes an argument.  (Further information on this paper and the option is available from the program.)

  • Ordinarily taken as MLS 499 CAPSTONE, the student's 13th and final course.
  • Requires formal proposal and approval of committee

Exit Course Option

In addition to the Culminating Point Essay and the final portfolio submission, the student proposes a particular course over and above the original 12 courses.  This course should be chosen as an "exit course," in that it brings together a number of areas of interest that the student has pursued over the course of the program.  By arrangement with the instructor, the student uses the final paper or final project to make connections with the goals of his or her overall MALS or IDS Program.  The instructor will grade the paper, and another reader suggested by the MALS or IDS program will also review and comment on the paper.

  • Requires formal proposal and approval of committee.

International Summer Programs at the University of Cambridge

DePaul’s Master of Arts in Liberal Studies program has established an arrangement with the University of Cambridge, England, for students who wish to include study abroad in their programs of study. Summer programs vary in length from three to six weeks. Variable graduate credit is offered up to a maximum of eight hours. Students make their own arrangements with the University of Cambridge and apply for transfer of credit after completing the courses.  Students must make sure to follow the Cambridge procedures for "Evaluation and Credit" if they wish to transfer credit to the DePaul MALS Program.  

Program Time Limitation

The MALS program is essentially self-paced. However, the university has set a four year limit for the completion of degree requirements. Extensions may be granted by the Dean in unusual circumstances upon the recommendation of the program’s director. Students must petition for such an extension in writing.​