Master of Arts in Liberal Studies

The Master of Arts in Liberal Studies (MALS) is designed for writers, scholars, educators, visual and performing artists, activists, advocates, and lifelong learners who, in collaboration with their academic advisor, want to design their own graduate degree plan and unique final project. Are you experienced, imaginative and creative? Are you an active learner who values an interdisciplinary sequence of studies focused on a central theme, concept or issue? Would you be interested in incorporating an advanced certificate into your degree program and earn a second credential? Join us in the MALS program. Submit an admissions application during our Application Review period.

Program Design

The Liberal Studies master's degree incorporates online courses with several (usually 2-3) virtual residencies. The degree is highly individualized and provides two program options: 30 credits (10 3-credit courses) or 36 credits (12 3-credit courses). Your program begins with two courses that provide the tools you need to understand and adopt the perspectives of multiple disciplines. These are followed by a series of electives that you can design or select, culminating in a unique final project.

Required Courses

  • LACS 6005 - Seminar in Liberal Studies: examine the nature and value of liberal study (virtual residency attendance required)
  • LACS 6020/25/27/30/35 - Models of Critical Inquiry: develop the skills necessary for graduate-level critical reading, writing and thinking (virtual residency attendance required)
  • LACS 6010 - Perspectives on Interdisciplinary Study: explore interdisciplinary study and lay the foundation for your educational plan (virtual residency attendance required)
  • LACS 6015 - Literature Review: review literature relevant to your individual program

Elective Courses and Final Project

You design or choose six elective courses to reflect your interests and to reinforce the individual focus of your degree. Check out our areas of concentration. You are encouraged to use your electives to build a concentration around your final project topic. Many students choose to incorporate one of the advanced certificates into their master’s degree as their focus area.

The final project focuses on a topic of your interest that draws upon your prior course work and allows for a meaningful contribution to your field of study and/or practice. This project may take several forms, including a thesis, a practicum. an educational design project, a position paper, or a creative project. Take a look at some sample final projects.

Sunbridge Institute Partnership

SUNY Empire State College has partnered with Sunbridge Institute to provide its students a pathway to earning a Liberal Studies (MALS) degree with a self-designed concentration in Waldorf Education. Twelve elective credits will be awarded to SUNY Empire graduate students in these programs who provide official transcripts documenting their completion of the Waldorf Early Childhood or Elementary teacher education programs. This credit is awarded based on a SUNY Empire Professional Learning Evaluation of Sunbridge Institute’s educational program. More information about this partnership can be found on the Sunbridge Partnership webpage. The typical enrollment sequences for this program can be found at this link: Sunbridge Enrollment Sequences or the link provided in the More Information section above.