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Liberal Studies (MA)

[Program Overview] [Program Outcomes] [Curriculum] [Admission Criteria] [Application Requirements] [Transfer Credits] [Academic Advising] [Contact Information]

Program Overview

The Master of Arts in Liberal Studies is a student-centered, interdisciplinary graduate program designed for individuals who have successfully completed a bachelor's degree. Admitted students progress from an introductory seminar through a series of team-taught courses to explore advanced liberal arts themes and issues through methodologies drawn from several disciplines. Students create major research projects aligned with their personal educational goals, and support and develop their work on these projects through a series of graduate-level supporting study courses or independent studies. For each student, the Master of Arts in Liberal Studies program culminates in the creation of a self-directed capstone project that draws from and builds upon the program as a whole.

Program Outcomes

An admitted Liberal Studies student begins by taking "MLS 600 Introductory Seminar," which teaches methods of interdisciplinary inquiry through variable topics within which students craft individual projects. Arising from interactions with seminar team teachers, and with other students, one of the seminar's outcomes is analysis and refinement of each student's educational objectives, within the framework of Master of Liberal Studies program resources.

Following MLS 600, a student then selects at least three iterations of "MLS 620 Master of Liberal Studies Exploration." Topics vary, but each MLS 620 encourages interdisciplinary inquiry, with opportunities to pursue individual interests as these relate to the Exploration's theme. For example, a student interested in world politics and economics might take an Exploration on the topic of globalism. Students also select 12 credits of supporting study at the 500G or higher level, which can include independent studies or internships. All MLS supporting study credits must be clearly relevant to the student's MLS program.

A student may register for "MLS 690 Master of Liberal Studies Capstone" upon completion of MLS 600 and at least 24 credits in the Master of Liberal Studies program (at least 8 supporting study credits, and at least 8 credits in MLS 620's); and with an approved Capstone Project Proposal. The MLS 690 Capstone revolves around the final revisions and completion of students' self-directed capstone projects.


Program Curriculum (32 credits)


MLS 600 is a student's first Master of Liberal Studies course, and MLS 690 is the last. Apart from that there is significant flexibility in the order or pace at which a student takes Master of Liberal Studies courses (subject to the availability of classes).

Admission Requirements

To be considered for admission, a student is expected to have completed a bachelor's degree before beginning Master of Liberal Studies coursework. The Master of Liberal Studies Admissions Committee will make admissions decisions on the basis of the following:

  • Official copies of all undergraduate transcripts (and graduate transcripts, if any) showing a BA or BS degree from an accredited institution, a major or significant coursework in liberal arts disciplines and a minimum GPA of 3.00 from the degree-granting institution.
  • Two letters of recommendation from individuals familiar with the applicant's intellectual preparation for advanced liberal arts study.
  • A resume or vita (The admissions committee will value occupational and/or community experience relevant to advanced liberal arts study, in addition to academic preparation.)
  • The Purpose Essay, written by the applicant about his/her interests and goals in pursuing advanced liberal arts study; see the essay prompts given in the "Graduate Application Checklist" in the MLS Application Packet.
  • A writing sample, either from an earlier upper-division liberal arts course, or written in response to questions given in the "Graduate Application Checklist" in the MLS Application Packet

See Applying to the Program for application packets and details on the requirements and deadlines.

Pre-application Interviews

It is strongly recommend that those considering the MLS program arrange an informational interview with the MLS director before submitting their applications.

Transfer Credits

Up to 8 graduate credits earned at another accredited institution (or at Metropolitan State University before MLS admission) may be applied to the MLS program's supporting study requirement, provided those credits are clearly relevant to the student's MLS program, and not part of any other completed degree.

Academic Advising

Since its founding, Metropolitan State University has emphasized a student-centered educational philosophy, with strong faculty involvement in advising. For MLS students, advising occurs in several ways. One is embedded in "MLS 600 Introductory Seminar," where students articulate their MLS educational objectives.

Each MLS student will also be assigned a graduate faculty advisor, who can advise students towards appropriate course selection, and also help to arrange creative learning strategies, including customized independent studies and internships.

As a student nears completion of the MLS, the advisor also helps with the appointment of a faculty reader from a discipline related to the student's evolving capstone project. The faculty reader reviews a student's capstone project, and thus in addition to the team teachers of MLS 690, can advise to reinforce cohesion and quality in the final stages of a student's MLS.


Metropolitan State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

Higher Learning Commission
30 North LaSalle Street, Suite 2400
Chicago, IL 60602-2504

Contact Information

For questions, or application materials contact:
Professor Lawrence Moe
Director, Master of Liberal Studies Program
Phone 651-793-1429
Fax 651-793-1446

Mailing Address

Master of Liberal Studies Program
Metropolitan State University
700 East Seventh Street
Saint Paul, MN 55106-5000