Master of Arts in Liberal Studies

Currently Accepting Applications!

Apply by 10/07/22 | Start Class 10/24/22

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Program Overview

Offered by the College of Liberal Arts at USI, the 100% Online Master of Arts in Liberal Studies (MALS) provides a graduate degree that takes an interdisciplinary approach, focusing on developing key skills for understanding the modern world that can be applied in a multitude of professions. 

MALS students can take specialized courses in Liberal Studies to explore historical and contemporary issues and topics. In addition, they can take courses from other graduate programs at USI to focus on specific topics, skills, and issues. The 100% online degree is flexible enough to accommodate both full-time and part-time students.

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- Flexible Program to Meet Your Needs -

Choose courses from many areas of study, including history, communication, public administration, sport management and more.

Admission Procedures & Requirements
  1. Submit an online application and $40 application fee.
  2. Upload a current resume to your application account.
  3. Submit official transcripts to Graduate Studies.
  4. International applicants may be required to submit additional information.

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Program Benefits

The Master of Arts in Liberal Studies helps students master practical skills that are broadly applicable. These include: 

  • Effective Writing Skills to communicate ideas clearly and professionally.
  • Information Literacy to identify the need for information, locate reliable sources, and validate information and evidence applicable to specialized and broad-based topics.
  • Data Literacy to understand and communicate information with numbers - that is, the ability to use numbers to tell a story.
  • Cultural Literacy to recognize and act upon the impact of different cultural perspectives in a variety of situations or settings.

Students also select 15 to 18 hours of electives from diverse electives to suit their individual career paths.

Program Curriculum

33 hours minimum required

All students must complete 15-18 hours of required courses:

  1. LBST 501 - Information Literacy and Research - Learn to know when information is needed, being able to find relevant information, evaluate it for credibility, and use it responsibly.
  2. LBST 512 - Advanced Academic Writing: Learn the fundamentals of effective writing at advanced levels to express complex ideas that increase an audience’s knowledge and understanding.
  3. LBST 521 - Cultural Literacy - Learn to recognize and interpret elements that are important to one’s own and other cultures and communicate information that reflects understanding of multiple cultures.
  4. LBST 522 - Data Literacy - Learn to understanding the story told by numbers and being able to use numbers to tell a story.
  5. Choose from one Capstone experience:
    1. Thesis or Project Capstone - Independent study completed under the direction of a qualified faculty member. Final thesis or project reflects mastery of graduate-level skills and comprehension that reflect the program goals.
    2. Portfolio Capstone - May be completed as independent study; students select materials for portfolio that demonstrate mastery in the program goals, write a reflective essay that synthesizes learning in the degree, and have an oral defense of their portfolio before a faculty committee.  

Students will also complete 15–18 hours of electives; these can be selected from graduate courses in LBST or other USI graduate programs.

Mission & Vision

To promote advanced student ability to

  • use various research methods to generate and analyze evidence or data
  • locate, understand, analyze and draw conclusions from evidence
  • identify and communicate effectively with multiple or specialized audiences
  • understand the role of diverse cultural perspectives in historical or contemporary issues
  • develop and apply knowledge and skills across disciplinary boundaries

To equip students to be self-sufficient learners who can reason effectively in a rapidly-changing and complex world.

Program Delivery & Technology Requirements

Students can complete the MALS entirely online using the Blackboard Course Management system; to most effectively engage with classes, students will need access to a computer with up-to-date software and reliable high speed internet. Courses are offered in a combination of 7-week and 16-week formats.

headshot of tamara hunt, mals program director

"What students find so attractive about [the MALS degree] is that the degree is applicable to so many different fields."

- Dr. Tamara Hunt, Program Director, USI

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Program Calendar 

Course Start Application Deadline Document Deadline Registration Deadline
08/22/22 08/05/22 08/13/22 08/19/22
10/24/22 10/07/22 10/14/22 10/21/22

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Dr. Tamara Hunt
Program Director

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