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  • Master of Arts in Liberal Studies


    The Master of Arts in Liberal Studies is a multidisciplinary degree for students seeking an alternative to traditional graduate courses of study that focus on professional training in a single area. Instead, the 30-credit Liberal Studies program is designed for the life-long learner seeking intellectual development, personal enrichment and the benefits of an advanced education in the liberal arts and sciences. The program allows each degree candidate the opportunity to develop an individualized Plan of Study tailored to his or her own personal and/or professional goals. Through this Plan of Study, the student examines significant ideas and contemporary issues from the perspectives of the fine arts, humanities, social sciences and natural sciences. It provides an integrative educational experience that promotes a deeper understanding of self, nature and society, and offers opportunities to sharpen critical thinking and communication skills.

    Online Option

    SUNY Brockport offers the ability to complete the Master of Arts in Liberal Studies (MALS) program fully online. While this entails no changes to the application/ admission processes, financial aid or graduation requirements, it is specially designed to meet the increasing demands for flexible and student-centered course offerings, leverage experiential learning, increase student engagement and to facilitate on-time degree completion.

    Admission to the Program

    Admission requirements include a bachelor's degree from an accredited four-year college or university, and completion of the application for graduate admission. The application process is managed by the Center for Graduate Studies, and application materials are available online. The application includes:

    1. At least three letters of recommendation.
    2. A written essay on reasons for pursuing the Liberal Studies program.
    3. A statement indicating a particular central theme or focus for a proposed Plan of Study
    4. Official transcripts for all prior undergraduate and graduate work documenting an undergraduate and/or graduate GPA of at least 3.0.

    For more information about applying to this program, contact the Center for Graduate Studies.

    Program Requirements

    Students must meet the College's standards for graduate study.

    The degree requires students to earn a total of 30 graduate credits:

    Major Departmental Requirements (12 credits)

    Electives (18 credits)

    • 18 credits of graduate elective courses, as part of a plan of study constructed by advisement subject to the selection criteria described below

    Note: specific seminar options might change from semester to semester depending on topicality, faculty interest, faculty availability etc. The seminar courses are offered online only. As of the publication of the catalog, the MALS program offers two seminar courses in each term per the following schedule:

    • fall semester: an arts & humanities seminar and a social science seminar
    • spring semester: an arts & humanities seminar and a natural science seminar
    • summer session: a natural science seminar and a social science seminar


    Electives are selected through advisement and they must reflect a programmatic theme or focus that satisfies the degree candidate's goals. The following restrictions apply to the selection of these courses:

    1. At least one elective course (three credits) must be at the 600-level or higher (i.e., courses designed exclusively for graduate students).
    2. At most two courses (six credits) may reflect content intended for application in a specific professional setting (these courses are usually designated as "B" courses at SUNY Brockport).
    3. At most six credits may be taken as Independent Study.
    4. Elective course may not be taken on a "Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory" grade basis.
    5. Internships are not allowed.
    6. Written approval of the program director is required for any change to a matriculated student's Plan of Study.

    Total Credits (30 credits)

    Additional Degree Requirements



    Student Learning Outcomes

    Student learning outcomes (SLOs) for Liberal Studies students must be understood in the context of a multidisciplinary program with no prescribed core of specific courses (although there is a core of prescribed disciplinary categories), considerable variation in courses making up each Liberal Studies candidate’s plan of study (POS), and each student’s differing personal and professional goals. Nevertheless, a number of SLOs are expected for all Liberal Studies candidates. These include:

    • Contributors to Knowledge – Examine the unique perspective of the arts and humanities, natural sciences, and social sciences as contributors to knowledge.
    • Multidisciplinary Nature of Knowledge – Analyze the multidisciplinary nature of knowledge, and assess the value of a multidisciplinary approach to scholarship.
    • Self and Nature within Contemporary Society – Provide examples of the way in which insights and methodologies from the arts and humanities, the social sciences and the natural sciences contribute to an understanding of one's self and nature within contemporary society.
    • Knowledge Skills and Application – Assess interrelationships between areas of knowledge and skill within the Plan of Study, illustrate how these areas provide an integrated holistic overview.
    • Critical Reasoning – Use critical reasoning skills to evaluate and synthesize knowledge from different disciplinary perspectives.
    • Effective Communication – Employ effective communication skills through coherent and well-organized written and verbal presentations.