Jul 23, 2024  
2022-2023 Graduate Bulletin 
2022-2023 Graduate Bulletin [ARCHIVED PUBLICATION]

Master of Arts in Liberal Studies (MALS)

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33 Credit hours

The Master of Arts in Liberal Studies degree is an interdisciplinary program in the liberal arts and sciences that emphasizes information literacy, cultural and data literacy and effective communication skills to enable students to apply analytical skills and content knowledge effectively in diverse situations.

Graduate Studies Admission Criteria and Application Process

Refer to the Admission  section of the bulletin for information about Graduate Studies admission criteria and the online application process.

MALS Program Admission Requirements

As part of the Graduate Studies application process, applicants to the MALS program also must submit the following:

  • A current resume that includes the names and contact information (including emails) of three references (former professors, employers, or others who know the applicant well)
  • A well-written letter of intent describing how the applicant’s career goals are related to or enhanced by the MALS program (500 word maximum)

Admission Deadline

Two weeks prior to the start of the semester.

MALS Curriculum

The Master of Arts in Liberal Studies degree requires 33 credit hours of graduate-level work. Students must maintain a grade average of B (3.0) or better in the program. No course with a grade lower than C (2.0) will be counted toward the degree.

In addition to the required core courses, students will either complete an individual program of study or select a concentration that best aligns with their personal/career goals.

All students must complete a capstone experience. The program director will work with the student in developing a coherent course of study, including helping the student decide on the appropriate capstone experience.

MALS Core Courses (12 hours)

The core courses are required of all students. At least three of the four core courses must be completed with a grade of B or better. Each core course focuses on a graduate-level introduction to that way of thinking. The rigor of the course will be in keeping with a graduate-level seminar, while also remaining accessible to students whose past academic work is from a different area.

Individual Program of Study and Capstone Experience (21 hours)

The program director will consult with each student about appropriate courses to include in their individual program of study. At least 9 hours of the individual program of study must be taken from 600-level LBST courses; only six of these hours can be supplied by MALS core courses. Other choices can be made from among graduate-level courses offered by individual academic departments and by other graduate programs, as permitted. An Independent Study course may be taken in some circumstances when faculty expertise is available. Up to 12 hours of appropriate work from other institutions could count toward the degree with the approval of the program director.

The number of advisor-approved electives required for the individual program of study is determined by the type of capstone experience chosen by the student:

    Electives (18 hours) + Capstone Portfolio (3 hours)

  • Complete 18 credit hours of 500/600-level electives, with a minimum of 9 credit hours of 600-level LBST coursework
  • Complete LBST 695 - Capstone: Portfolio  

    Electives (15 hours) + Capstone Thesis/Project (6 hours)

MALS Capstone Experience

Capstone Portfolio (3 hours)

Students choosing this capstone experience will enroll in a Capstone Portfolio course once they have completed a minimum of 27 hours in the program. Students will create a portfolio that will be reviewed by the program director and a minimum of two graduate faculty. The student will select artifacts from courses taken in the MALS program that best demonstrate their competency in the areas of the core curriculum: 1) Information literacy and research; 2) data literacy; 3) cultural literacy; and 4) effective communication. No more than two of these artifacts may come from core curriculum courses. The portfolio will include a cover letter, resume, extended reflective essay synthesizing their work in the program, plan for continuing career or personal development or community engagement, and the selected artifacts. A committee composed of the program director and two graduate faculty members will review the portfolio and interview the candidate.

Capstone Project or Thesis (6 hours)

About midway through the program, students selecting this capstone experience will propose a project/thesis topic and have that topic approved by the program director. Students who have completed a minimum of 24 graduate hours may enroll in the first capstone project/thesis course, where they will focus on project planning and design of a substantial independent project/thesis that is of graduate quality and sophistication. Students will create a formal project or thesis proposal, bibliography (if appropriate), and timeline for completion; they will also provide evidence that they have access to required collections, venues, or organizations, and, if necessary, will show that they meet IRB requirements. Upon successful completion of the first capstone project/thesis course, students may enroll in the second capstone project/thesis course, where they will complete the proposed project or thesis under the direction of a graduate advisor. A completed capstone project must contain a tangible final project (summary report, recording, museum installation, script, computer program, etc.), while a completed thesis must meet standards of scholarship commensurate with a sustained, original investigation at the graduate level. Final projects and theses will be reviewed by the faculty advisor and a minimum of two other graduate faculty members chosen by the student and the faculty advisor with the approval of the program director.

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