masters in liberal studies

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by originalbigjim, Dec 27, 2007.

  1. what if any is the utility of a masters in liberal studies? I thought the purpose of the masters degree is to get a more advanced knowledge in your area of choice. how do employers look at these degree? thanks guys.
  2. BillDayson

    BillDayson New Member

    Liberal studies bachelors degrees originated as elementary (multiple-subjects) teaching degrees. That's probably still their main use. I've heard of people using them as pre-law degrees, since they give students a very broad (if shallow) background.

    I suppose that liberal studies masters programs are largely aimed at elementary school teachers who receive pay incentives for obtaining a masters degree.
  3. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    Sometimes liberal studies programs have a concentration that is professionally oriented, like Harvard's. Sometimes they don't, and they appeal to people who are simply interested in the material rather than for professional development.

  4. Dave Wagner

    Dave Wagner Active Member

    I don't exactly know how MLS degrees are currently perceived by employers, but I think they could allow one to add a new dimension to the resume. While there are many MLS options, I think looking at the MLS concentrations at Fort Hays State University ( will give you an idea of the variety that can be packaged in this format. Listing one of these concentrations on your resume should positively enhance your educational background. My opinion.

  5. Bruce

    Bruce Moderator Staff Member

    The only true "liberal" studies graduate degree available by DL I know of is the Master of Liberal Arts from Texas Christian University; there are no core courses, major or concentration, and students are given wide latitude in course selection;

    The main attraction to this degree is probably for someone who needs "a" graduate degree, but I think personal enrichment and/or interest is a perfectly good reason also. If it weren't so expensive I would have considered it awhile ago; where else can you find a RA graduate course in parapsychology?
  6. Ted Heiks

    Ted Heiks Moderator and Distinguished Senior Member Staff Member

    If your MLS degree has a concentration (e.g., MLS in History, Fort Hays State University), it could be used for: (a) obtaining a position as an adjunct instructor in history/liberal studies at a community college; (b) getting a salary increase in a position as a high school history teacher (or getting that first position as a high school history teacher, in those states requiring a master's degree); or (c) gaining admission to a doctoral program in history.
  7. CoachTurner

    CoachTurner Member

    My take (which others may not agree with) regarding degrees at any level with a "major" of Liberal Arts or Liberal Studies or Humanities or etc....

    Sometimes, though seemingly not often these days, the intent of the student is not to develop a resume or to build employment credentials. Sometimes, the objective of the student is to study; nothing in particular or everything, depending upon how you look at it. These students aren't after the high pay or the prestige of a vocational/occupational preparation and therefor aren't interested in how potential employers look at their degree, they're interested in how the degree has made their brain a better place to live and play.

    It's for these students (too few there are) that the Master of Liberal Arts is truly best suited. And, the best preparation for an MLA might just be a solid BA/BS in Liberal Studies. :)
  8. nobycane

    nobycane New Member

    Once I had completed my B.S. degree from Excelsior College, I was actually enrolled and accepted into their MLS degree program, thinking that I was going to be able to designate my course of study (or focus), I was wrong. It is mainly a "humanities" focused degree program, many of the courses at EC's MLS was so heavy in the humanities, that it only allowed me 9 semester hours in my science focus/area...and that was not what I wanted to pursue if I wanted to teach post-secondary academics sciences...not to mention that cost was so astronomical per course, that it would have bankrupt me in two semesters!!!
  9. Ted Heiks

    Ted Heiks Moderator and Distinguished Senior Member Staff Member

    Another use for the liberal studies degree might be simply for the "check in the box" that the prospective employer requires.
  10. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    A really good use for a liberal arts degree is to take an interdisciplinary approach to a particular subject or issue.
  11. Tom H.

    Tom H. New Member

    Bill Dayson correctly separated the liberal arts bachelors from the liberal arts masters. Liberal arts bachelors are frequently used in order to complete the bachelor's degree quickly when the student has a wide range of undergraduate credits. The liberal arts masters is a different animal because most programs will only allow the transfer of 6 credits max, the programs tend to be highly structured and can't be completed quickly.

    As far as the typical student profile, the one with which I'm most familiar, the University of Oklahoma's Master of Arts in Liberal Studies (MALS) program, has students with the following backgrounds:

    military officers, government employees from all levels, a pro athlete, engineers, self-employed/small business owners, homemakers and a significant number of educators

    Due to the expansion of DL, there are many quicker and easier master's degrees available if someone just wants to "check a box." Most MALS-type programs have a thesis component, a factor which makes receiving the degree significantly longer and more involved than non-thesis programs.
  12. buckwheat3

    buckwheat3 Master of the Obvious

    +1 on everything he said!
    I'm wrapping up an MLS degree at the moment, ( yes I need to alter the sig line)I have enjoyed it immensely. I thought the thesis component would be a monster, but in hindsight, really not too bad. If someone was really wanting to push their thesis towards completion, maybe 3-4 months start to finish. For me, much longer...a little burn out, but now I have my second wind.

    Here at a local college they have an MLA program without the just 12 classes for 36 hours credit and WHAM, you're done. But drop that idea, they are too haughty to go online. Maybe others out there know of an online MLS program without the thesis, if that spook's ya.

    I would say the MLS would be great for those considering going into education, you can pick up most of your subject content area through the degree.

    Actually here in SC, it works out good for me because my sitiuation might be unique...maybe not. I'm thinking of a complete career change. I have a Bachelors in Business Administration, yet my passion is History. While I dont have the necessary courses to enter the public school system at the undergrad level (30 hrs, or a major) to teach my love, I'm able to pick them up at the graduate level (24 hrs. required). That's why I like the MLS can pick and choose to study what you like (in most cases the humanities).

    all the best,
  13. dlady

    dlady Active Member

    I’m not exactly sure what “liberal studies” are, but since I don’t see Harrison Middleton listed ( in this thread I’ll add it. You design your own program based upon the philosophies of a liberal education as defined by Mortimer J. Adler & Encyclopedia Britannica’s Great Books.

    The first course is to research and propose your program, regardless of the level of the program. My proposal was just accepted: DA – Western Classical History & Philosophical Thought. I would say that is a pretty "liberal study".
  14. dlady

    dlady Active Member

    The “utility” of this degree type is that there is an emerging trend to look for well rounded generalists and move away from deeply tooled specialists in many fields. This is just starting to emerge as a trend, my prediction is that it will be main stream in 5 to 10 years, so pursuing this type of education now positions you to be on the front of the coming curve.

Share This Page