Apr 24, 2024  
2015-2016 Graduate Bulletin 
2015-2016 Graduate Bulletin [ARCHIVED PUBLICATION]

Master of Arts in Liberal Studies

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Program Objectives

The Master of Arts in Liberal Studies (MALS) provides a postgraduate credential for individuals who seek personal enrichment and whose careers would be enhanced by a formal course of graduate study, but who prefer an interdisciplinary approach. The program is a viable alternative for educators seeking professional development and for meeting state license renewal requirements. In sum, the program provides an opportunity for individuals from a variety of careers to acquire graduate-level skills and knowledge from the perspective of the social sciences, humanities, and natural sciences. The program could be an appropriate step toward further degree work in doctoral interdisciplinary programs, as well as traditional doctorates.

Admission Requirements

To be considered for admission to the MALS program, the applicant must submit:

  • an application to Graduate Studies;
  • a $40 non-refundable application fee; and
  • one official transcript from each undergraduate and graduate institution attended. Transcripts and other educational records are official if the issuing institution sends them directly to the office of Graduate Studies. Failure to submit official transcripts from every institution will delay admission. Course work from one institution reported as transfer credit on another school’s transcript does not constitute an official transcript.

In addition to the regular requirements for admission to graduate study at USI, admission to the MALS program requires the following:

  • a resume;
  • a written statement of candidate interest in a MALS degree (maximum 500 words);
  • recommendations by three individuals who know the candidate well (recommendation forms are available on the MALS web site); and
  • if considered necessary, an interview with the MALS director.

Because of the interdisciplinary, nontraditional nature of the program, the GRE exams are not required. Students should submit the application, application fee, and official transcripts to the office of Graduate Studies and other material to the MALS program director at least one month prior to the entry date sought. An interview may be requested after all other materials are on file.

Admission Deadlines

The MALS program allows students to apply for the program and begin classes in any semester.

Curriculum (33 hours)

The Master of Arts in Liberal Studies degree requires 33 credit hours of graduate-level work.

1. Core Courses (12 hours)

2. Individual program of courses (18 hours - at least 9 hours must be taken from LBST 600-level courses) (with advising and approval of director)

3. Capstone Experience (3-6 hours)

Capstone Project (Option 1)—

Capstone Courses (Option 2)—

Additional Information

The core courses are required of all students. The Capstone Experience part of the program has two options. Students must maintain a grade average of B (3.0) or better in the program. At least three of the four core courses must be completed with final grades of B or better. No course with a grade lower than C (2.0) will be counted toward the degree.

Core Courses (12 hours)

Each core course focuses on a broad social science, humanities, or natural science topic while also providing 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 Courses (18 hours)

The program director will consult with each student about appropriate courses to include in an 18-hour individual program of study. At least 9 of these hours must be taken from 600-level LBST courses, which are designed specifically for the program.  Other choices can be made from among graduate-level courses offered in natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities, and in some instances, courses from other graduate programs. 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, inlcuding graduate-level distance education courses, could count toward the degree with the approval of the program director.

Capstone Experience (3-6 hours)

In addition to working with the student in developing a coherent course of study, the program director also will help the student decide on the appropriate Capstone Experience.

  • Capstone Project
    About midway through the program, each student who chooses this option should have proposed a project topic and have had that topic approved by the program director. The project must be of a nature to warrant six hours of graduate credit over two academic terms. Each project will be thoroughly evaluated and must be approved by at least two members of a committee consisting of the student’s thesis/project advisor and two other members of the graduate faculty. In general, the project should yield a written piece of work, although products such as artistic creations will be considered. The project should culminate in a graduate-level quality production that employs interdisciplinary approaches and perspectives.  If a capstone project is completed, the requirements for the individual program of courses above will be reduced by 3 hours.
  • Capstone Courses
    This option consists of six hours of Capstone courses: the Capstone Seminar (LBST 610 ) and an additional LBST 600-level course that contains a major project. The latter must be approved by the program director. The Capstone courses are taken in the second half of the student’s program.

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