Stony Brook University
School of Professional Development

Master of Arts in Liberal Studies (MA/LS)

The Master of Arts in Liberal Studies (MA/LS) is an interdisciplinary degree program that examines issues and themes in the arts and humanities, social and behavioral sciences, and natural and applied sciences. The program is offered primarily to working adults who seek educational enrichment and professional development on a part-time basis, and does not specifically serve as a prerequisite for a more advanced degree.

Flexible Scheduling: On-campus and Online
To meet the demands of working professionals, courses are scheduled on-campus during the evening or online. Students may choose to combine face-to-face and online courses in our traditional MA/LS program, or they may apply to the MA/LS Online program and take all of their courses via the Internet. Prospective online students should review the online course schedules from prior semesters to see the scope of the courses we offer prior to applying. » Learn more about online learning at the School of Professional Development.

Important note for teachers: The MA/LS degree is valid toward meeting requirements for a professional license (certification), provided the degree course work contains 12 credits relevant to your area of initial certification. It does not, however, lead directly to an initial certification. Please read the Teacher Certification page before applying.

Stony Brook University Excellence
Stony Brook University is one of the State University of New York's (SUNY) University Centers. It is ranked one of the top 100 universities in the nation and one of the top 40 public universities by U.S.News & World Report. The University is fully accredited by the Middle States Association and its MA/LS Online program is approved by the New York State Education Department for both in-person and online delivery.

Course of Study

This degree program consists of 11 three-credit courses, distributed among the three areas listed below. All degree requirements must be completed within five (5) years from the semester date of admission as a matriculated student. Students are advised to print and keep this student advisement worksheet (PDF) for reference.

1. Liberal Studies Core - 12 credits

Only courses designated as "Liberal Studies" core courses will apply toward fulfilling this requirement. Courses that have met the University's standards for the Liberal Studies core are coded in course descriptions and in the SPD Bulletin with an AHLS, SBLS or NSLS.

  • 3 credits - Arts and Humanities Liberal Studies (AHLS)
  • 3 credits - Social and Behavioral Sciences Liberal Studies (SBLS)
  • 3 credits - Natural and Applied Sciences Liberal Studies (NSLS)
  • 3 credits - Any additional Liberal Studies course with an AH, SB or NS designator

There are no transfer credits or substitutions permitted for the Liberal Studies Core curriculum.

» View Liberal Studies Course Offerings (PDF)

2. Thematically-Related Cluster - 18 credits
A cluster is a group of courses that represents a focused area of interest. Students are allowed considerable freedom and flexibility in designing their clusters, and may choose from most of the courses offered through SPD. (Teachers must read the Teacher Certification page prior to developing their clusters.)

Students may also choose to use courses from one of Stony Brook's Advanced Graduate Certificate (AGC) program as their cluster. A separate application is required; restrictions may apply. See a list of SPD's AGC programs on our Graduate Programs page.

Please Note: Supervised Student Teaching or Educational Leadership Internship credits are not valid to meet any MA/LS degree requirements. (Please see individual course descriptions on the SOLAR System: Course Catalog, School of Professional Development or Graduate School, as applicable.)

3. MA/LS Project Seminar (CED 595) - 3 credits
The goal of the SPD Project Seminar is to teach students to understand and conduct graduate level research. The research paper may or may not result in a project, e.g., a model curriculum for a school-based substance abuse program. Students will be guided in selecting a topic for their research paper. Methodology and resources will be reviewed as the student’s work is developed.
Prerequisite: Matriculation in MA/LS or MPS degree program; completion of 12 graduate credits within the program.
Note: No "I"/Incompletes will be given. If a "U"/Unsatisfactory grade is received, the course must be repeated. There are no transfer credits or substitutions permitted for CED 595/Project Seminar.

Tuition and Fee Information

Tuition rates are available on the Bursar's webpage.

Application Information

Students are admitted into this program three times per year.

» View admission requirements, application instructions and deadlines.

Statement of Student Responsibility
Students themselves—whether new, returning, or continuing—are responsible for reviewing, understanding, and adhering to their degree and/or certificate program requirements. (SPD’s non-matriculating [non-degree] graduate students [GSP] are responsible for adhering to the guidelines related to non-matriculated status.) All SPD students are responsible for reviewing, understanding, and complying with University and SPD regulations, policies, and procedures, as described in all official publications, the University website, and the SPD website, including, but not limited to, SPD’s online references, the SPD Bulletin and SPD Academic Calendar.

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Teacher Certification Information

Contact Information

School of Professional Development
Admissions and Advisement Office
N 201 SBS Building
Stony Brook University
Stony Brook, NY 11794-4310
Tel. (631) 632-7050 (option 1)





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Last modified on 01/16/2014.
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