The Master of Arts in Liberal Studies (MALS) is a flexible, interdisciplinary graduate program that offers students from a variety of backgrounds the opportunity to study across the boundaries of academic disciplines in order to create knowledge from multiple perspectives. Firmly grounded in the values of liberal education, it allows students to design an individualized program of study that enables them to develop complex, nuanced understanding of human society and culture.
Graduate liberal studies programs provide an alternative to the specialized focus of many graduate degrees. While education for careers is useful, it is not in itself sufficient to satisfy the student's intellectual interests. Graduate liberal studies programs seek to develop and encourage exploration of values, breadth of inquiry, and intellectual versatility and resiliency, as well the ability to cope with an increasingly complex world.
MALS strives to ensure that graduating students are able to:
Recognize complexity by approaching an object of study from multiple perspectives
Demonstrate proficiency in related fields and disciplines that enables deep understanding of the object of study
Articulate the systemic interrelationship of multiple factors that influence problems and phenomena of human society
Employ critical thinking and analysis in approaching those problems and phenomena
Integrate alternative and opposing viewpoints into a broad understanding that enables the formulation of comprehensive solutions.
Who pursues MALS?
The MALS program at ETSU serves a variety of students from many different backgrounds.
Like many graduate liberal studies programs, MALS at ETSU is designed to accommodate
adult students who have existing full-time careers that require them to attend classes
at night, as well as those who are returning to the academic world after a number
of years away and are seeking to pursue personal intellectual interests. However,
there are also many traditional graduate students who desire to pursue a liberal studies
degree in preparation for careers or further graduate study who completed their bachelor's
degrees shortly before beginning the program. Most MALS students come from East Tennessee
and the bordering counties in North Carolina and Virginia, although others do come
to the region specifically to attend ETSU. The MALS student body also includes international
students from countries such as Brazil, Cameroon, Canada, England, and Russia. MALS
students may attend either full-time or part-time; the program is designed so that
all requirements can be met within the six-year matriculation limit designated by
the ETSU School of Graduate Studies.