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Graduate: Liberal Studies

  • Program Overview

    Liberal Studies 

    The Master of Arts in Liberal Studies (MALS) 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 MALS program, or they may apply to the MALS 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 MALS 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. 

  • Admissions

    Master of Arts in Liberal Studies Admissions


    A. Personal statement. 

    B. Resume.

    C. A bachelor’s degree, with a cumulative 3.0 grade point average.

    D. Two letters of recommendation. Letters of recommendation should be from teachers or professors with whom you have studied. Letters from professionals in fields of work related to the area of specialty you wish to pursue are also appropriate.

    E. In those cases where the departmental admissions committee deems it desirable, personal interviews with departmental representatives may be necessary.



  • Degree Requirements

    Master of Arts in Liberal Studies

    (New requirements – effective Fall 2017)

    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 - 15 credits

    ** Please note that at least two (2) of the four (4) LSF courses must be taken within the first twelve (12) credits taken as a student in the MA in Liberal Studies program. All four (4) LSF courses must be taken within the first 24 credits taken in the program.**

    • 3 credits – LSF 501 - Effective Professional Communication

    • 3 credits – LSF 502 - Effective Professional Thinking

    • 3 credits – LSF 503 - Effective Professional Global and Cultural Awareness

    • 3 credits – LSF 504 - Effective Professional Action and Leadership

    • 3 credits – NSLS Elective – Any course with the NSLS designator

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

    2. Thematically-Related Concentration - 15 credits

    A concentration is a group of courses that represents a focused area of interest. Students are allowed considerable freedom and flexibility in designing their concentrations, and may choose from most of the courses offered through SPD. (Teachers must read the Teacher Certification page prior to developing their concentrations.)

    Students may also choose to incorporate a 3- or 6-credit internship into their thematically related concentration. Visit the Liberal Studies Internship information page for details and an application.

    In addition, students may choose courses from one of Stony Brook's Advanced Graduate Certificate (AGC) programs to fulfill concentration requirements . A separate application is required; restrictions may apply. See a list of SPD's AGC programs on our Graduate Programs page. Students should also consider earning any of SPD’s University Badges; no additional application or fee is required for earning a University Badge.

    2. Capstone Seminar (CED 595) - 3 credits

    The goal of the Capstone Seminar is to teach students to understand and conduct graduate-level research. 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.

    Prerequisites: Matriculation in MALS, MPS or MS degree program; completion of 24 graduate credits within the program.

    Note: There are no transfer credits or substitutions permitted for CED 595 Project Seminar. Students must earn a a minimum of a "B" grade in this course to fulfill the degree requirement.



  • Facilities
  • Faculty


    Program faculty are drawn from various University departments, as well as K-12 educators and practitioners who are leaders in their respective fields. 

  • Contact

    Liberal Studies

    Faculty Director
    Elisa Scott,

    Academic Advisor
    Sharon Brown,

    Academic Advisor
    Katherine Mitra,

    Degree Awarded
    MA in Liberal Studies