University of Southern Indiana
Liberal studies graduate classroom

Degree Program

The Master of Arts in Liberal Studies at the University of Southern Indiana consists of 15 to 18 credit hours of required coursework and 18 hours of individualized program courses, for a total of 33 to 36 hours to degree completion.

The majority of MALS students are part-time, taking one or two courses each semester, but full-time students have enough course options that they could, in some instances, complete the degree in three semesters, counting summer terms.

This is an extremely flexible program that allows students to devise their own program of study within a framework of core classes, electives, and a capstone experience, consisting either of a capstone project or capstone courses. All core courses meet in late afternoon and evening, as do most electives.

MALS coursework includes the following components:

  • Humanities, Social Science, and Science Core 
    The core of the MALS is a series of interdisciplinary seminars, one in each of the physical sciences, social sciences, the humanities, and a capstone seminar. They are required of all students.

    Each core course emphasizes the analysis of a major liberal arts and sciences topic or theme. The rigor of this analysis will be in keeping with a graduate-level seminar. Ample opportunity will be provided for seminar participants to discuss practical applications of their new knowledge.

  • Individual Program of Courses 
    A member of the graduate faculty, typically the program director, will consult with each student about appropriate courses to include in an 18-hour individual program of study. Choices can be made from among graduate-level courses offered in the areas of the sciences, social sciences, and humanities, and in some instances, courses from other graduate programs. Independent Study courses are available in some circumstances, and up to 12 hours of appropriate work from other institutions, including graduate level distance education courses, could count toward the degree.

    Admission into such courses requires consultation with MALS program director and directors of other graduate programs.

  • Capstone Experience 
    In addition to working with the student in developing a coherent course of study, the graduate advisor also will help the student decide on the appropriate capstone experience.

Course Descriptions

A list of required courses and their descriptions can be viewed on the Philosophy Department website.

View current class schedules.

In addition to dedicated liberal studies classes (LBST prefix), the MALS also accepts courses from other disciplines and from other master’s programs at USI, though the director of the MALS has to seek approval for students in such cases. The net effect is that the MALS has access to more courses than just those with the LBST prefix.


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