Curriculum

An angled photo of the Shalala Student Center at the University of Miami Coral Gables. An angled photo of the Shalala Student Center at the University of Miami Coral Gables.
The Master of Arts in Liberal Studies (MALS) degree program is 30 credits. Students are required to take 9 core course and 21 credits of electives. Students may elect to complete the program through a portfolio or by writing a thesis, which will account for 6 of their 21 elective credits. With the guidance of the program director, students design a curriculum suited to their own interests and time constraints.

Core Courses - 9 Credits

With the assistance of the program director, students can design their own individualized course of study. The core curriculum of 9 credits provides students with a broad understanding of cultural backgrounds and lays the groundwork for the additional 21 credits of elective interdisciplinary study that completes the degree.

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  • MLS 601 - Aspects of Creative and Reflective Thought

    The course will examine a number of ways in which humans construct ideas of nature (often as the non-human world), our relations to such, and our place within it. We will study a variety of sources-literary, visual, philosophical, and scientific; ancient and modern-as we pursue these interrelated questions across a long historical spectrum. 

  • MLS 602 - Perspectives on Human Nature

    Basic theories of human nature proposed by the humanities, the sciences, and the social sciences. The course deals with insights, provided by different perspectives into human nature and related issues, 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. Special attention will be given to the historical development of theories of human nature and their implications for social and political policy.

  • MLS 603 - Theories of the Physical Universe

    This course will examine a variety of theories and models of the physical universe including perspectives from various physical sciences and disciplines such as philosophy, religion, and history.

Elective Courses - 21 Credits

Students are required to complete 21 credits worth of elective courses. Please find the elective course options below:

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  • MALS Program Electives

    Click here to view a list of the MALS program electives.

    Semester course offerings are mailed to students 2 weeks prior to registration. Contact the Office of Interdisciplinary and Professional Studies if you do not receive information on courses.

  • Other University Courses

    Students may enroll in approved courses in other departments within the university. Courses must be based in the humanities, and at the 600-level or above. Outside courses must first be approved by the Program Director and students must meet any prerequisites.

  • Directed Reading Courses

    A directed readings course allows you to work independently with a MALS professor, researching a topic of your choice. Students must find a professor in that field that is willing to act as their advisor. Only students with a 3.0 GPA (or higher) can enroll in a directed readings course. In order to register for the course, you will need to submit a 2-page proposal along with a bibliography of at least 10 academic sources, in the MLA style format.

    The final paper must be a minimum of 15 pages, MLA Style, and be submitted to both the professor and the MALS office on the last day of final exams. Only hard copies will be accepted. Proposals must be sent to the MALS Director and the Office of Interdisciplinary and Professional Studies before registering. Please check the course booklet for proposal deadlines. Students are allowed two directed readings courses during their studies in the program.

Thesis or Portfolio

The capstone for the Master of Arts in Liberal Studies (MALS) program consists of either a thesis paper or a final portfolio. Students should contact the MALS director to discuss which option is best for them.

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  • Thesis

    If desired 6 of the 21 elective credits may be in the form of a thesis. Students interested in pursuing a thesis should schedule a meeting with the program director to discuss the intended topic. 

    Students will need to establish a Thesis Committee consisting of three members (one of whom should be the program director). A graduate school dissertation editor must also be contacted to oversee the correct completion of the thesis.

    A thesis must be defended before the Graduate School deadline, and committee members must sign the Certificate of Approval and Signature page. The thesis should then be submitted electronically using the ETD Database. Final materials should be sent to the Graduate School.

    For more information on thesis requirements please visit the Graduate School’s Electronic Theses & Dissertations webpage.

  • Final Portfolio

    Prior to graduation those students who have elected course work instead of a thesis are required to submit a portfolio as their final project. The portfolio is due at the end of your last semester of study and should be submitted to the Office of Interdisciplinary and Professional Studies. Clearance for graduation cannot be given until the final portfolio has been received. The following are guidelines for your final project:

    • The portfolio must include at least three (3) of your best papers.
    • A two to three-page narrative placing the papers in context of your learning experience in the program.
    • Include a cover page with your name, date, and title of your project.
    • The portfolio may be presented in a binder or you may have it professionally bound.
    • Make two copies of the portfolio, one for yourself and one for the MALS program.

Writing Workshop

A writing workshop will be offered each semester (twice during the fall and spring terms). All students are required to attend at least one session early in their academic career, but are welcome to attend multiple sessions. More information will be sent to students as the workshops are scheduled.