The Master of Arts in Liberal Studies (MALS) program is a multidisciplinary approach to graduate education which emphasizes liberal education and enhanced intellectual skills that are valuable in a wide variety of careers. It is particularly designed for serious learners, or those who wish to become serious learners, from recent college graduates to men and women in later life.

The MALS program is grounded in a set of team-designed core courses. These courses establish the aims and themes of the program, orient the student to a multidisciplinary approach to graduate education, and develop in the student advanced learning skills. These are designed to foster academic rigor, intellectual adventure, and cultural breadth.
The other components of the program are electives and a variety of options for a culminating project. Electives are usually graduate and upper-level courses chosen from departmental offerings in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Students select these courses with the aid of an advisor to build a program of study tailored to individual goals and interests. Included under electives are MALS special topics courses, which are especially well-suited to the needs of MALS students.
By about the midpoint of their studies (24-32 credit hours earned), students should begin discussing possible culminating project ideas with the director, associate director, or faculty advisor. The culminating project gives MALS students the opportunity to demonstrate the intellectual and creative powers that they have developed over the course of graduate study.  MALS students may choose from four options for program completion, allowing greater flexibility for students to pursue their studies.  These four options may take the form of a thesis, a community-based or media project, an enhanced portfolio, or a specially selected exit course and paper.

The MALS program offers a number of concentrations, including: Standard, Executive/Leadership, and Women’s Studies. The Standard Concentration is based on a four-course core requirement, and may be tailored to the student's interests.  The Executive/Leadership and Women's Studies Concentrations are based on a five-course core requirement and stipulate policies for elective selection. Program advising is available to help students choose a concentration.  Each of the concentrations may be pursued with any of the four program completion options. The MALS program is jointly administered with the Master of Arts/Master of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies program.

The MA in Liberal Studies may also be expanded to include select graduate certificate programs covering particular areas of interest.  Students participating in a combined MA/certificate program should consult with their academic advisor to determine what coursework might count toward both programs.  A separate application process for the certificate is required.  Students who are interested in any of the following combination programs should contact the Graduate Student Services Office for additional information.

  • MALS + Digital Humanities Certificate
  • MALS + Social Research Certificate
  • MALS + Women’s and Gender Studies Certificate
Degree Requirements 48-52 hours
   Total hours required    48-52 hours