Students enrolled in the Master of Arts in Liberal Studies program design individualized, interdisciplinary graduate study programs in the arts, humanities, and natural and social sciences. Working with Skidmore faculty and the MALS Director, students create curriculum and choose courses that facilitate in-depth exploration of their proposed research topic and fields of concentration.
The low-residency program provides students with the flexibility to work at their own pace while pursuing full-time careers anywhere. The program begins with an intensive, weeklong seminar taught on campus by a member of the Skidmore faculty. Held in January and July every year, the three-credit seminar introduces students to graduate-level reading, analysis, discussion, and writing. Each seminar focuses on a different topic or theme; students read a substantial set of materials in preparation and write a 20-25 page research paper in the month following the course.
Following the Introductory Seminar, students complete seven courses (21 credits) in this 30 semester hour program through a variety of options. In conjunction with their faculty advisor and under the supervision of the MALS Director, students may design unique courses and work independently with Skidmore faculty or other experts in their chosen field, take established master's-level courses at other universities, enroll in online graduate courses, and engage in practical internships. Students must take two in-class graduate courses in addition to the Introductory Seminar, and they are limited to two non-liberal arts courses (internships, practica, etc.) in their course of study. Students have full access to Scribner Library and its many databanks, as well as support from a research librarian, while they complete requirements for the M.A. degree.
Toward the end of their program, students take a three-credit Research and Methods course with their faculty advisor which prepares them to write their Final Project or Thesis. Upon completion of their coursework, students present their curriculum and Final Project Proposal to the MALS Faculty Committee for approval. Typically, students compose a 60-75 page document that incorporates multiple disciplinary perspectives. Students may include creative work in their final project, provided that a significant part of the project entails a theoretical discussion. Students have up to five years to complete the program and graduate with a Master of Arts degree.
*The MALS Program stopped admitting students in February 2015 and anticipates closing by December 2020.