Master of Arts in Liberal Studies Program

You honor the inner life. You have deeper questions, need better answers. You want to read the books and talk about the ideas that shape our world. You have an inquiring mind, an experienced perspective, and a firm sense of purpose about learning. The Master of Arts in Liberal Studies program is designed for the returning student who seeks to develop the critical thinking that marks a truly educated person—for the student who brings a heightened awareness of the unanswered questions that confront an inquiring mind—for the self-motivated person who never stops asking the first question: why?

MALS students come from varied backgrounds. They are artists, business people, engineers, homemakers, lawyers, matriculating students, physicians, and teachers. The program gives them the opportunity for intellectual and personal growth and for sharing their experiences with others in a community of learning.

A New Approach

The extension of liberal studies to the graduate level is a relatively new venture in higher education. In contrast to traditional subject-specific graduate programs, the interdisciplinary approach of the Master of Arts in Liberal Studies, cuts across the arbitrary boundaries of specialization, drawing upon a broad range of knowledge to provide a clearer focus on the complex problems.

Degree Requirements

The Master of Arts in Liberal Studies degree is awarded when a student completes 30 credits―9 required and 21 elective – with a 3.0 or higher. The last 6 credits may be in the form of a thesis or additional courses. Students who elect course work instead of a thesis are required to submit a portfolio as their final project. With the guidance of the director of the program, students design a curriculum suited to their own interests and time constraints.

The Core Curriculum

Students are required to take either MLS601 or MLS602 in their first semester of study.

MLS601   Aspects of Creative and Reflective thought

Selected aspects of creative and reflective thought, based on materials from the arts, the humanities, the sciences, the social sciences, and history. The focus is on themes and issues represented in a variety of cultural traditions.

MLS602   Perspectives on Human Nature

Basic theories of human nature proposed by the humanities, the sciences and the social sciences. The course deals with fundamental issues regarding the concept of human nature, such as the nature of the self and its relation to society, the impact of culture on self perception, and the relation of thought to human action.

MLS603   Theories of the Physical Universe

Various understandings of the nature of the universe and their impact on human culture. The course will deal with critical issues addressed in the various attempts to understand the physical world, such as fundamental structures and processes, the limitation of human perception, and the interaction between the human species and its environment.


MALS students may enroll in other University of Miami graduate courses, such as architecture, history, philosophy, and international studies, with the approval of the director of the program. Independent study courses designed to meet special needs and interests of MALS students may also be arranged.