Liberal Arts Masters Degree Program Information

Master's degree programs in liberal arts can be customized to meet the student's needs, interests, and career goals. Find out about core requirements, as well as areas of flexibility within these programs.

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Essential Information

Master of Liberal Arts (MLA) and Master of Liberal Arts and Science (MLAS) programs provide interdisciplinary studies in a wide range of subjects. Specialization options include fine arts, humanities, and social sciences. Prior to graduation, students may be required to complete a thesis or capstone project.

In order to apply, candidates must have already earned a bachelor's degree with a GPA of 3.0 or higher. Applicants usually need to submit letters of academic reference, a current résumé and a statement of purpose explaining their career goals and interest in the program. Some programs also conduct interviews as part of the application process.


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  • General Studies
  • Humanities
  • Liberal Arts and Sciences

Liberal Arts Master's Degree

Many MLA and MLAS programs are meant to appeal to adults who want to earn an advanced degree while maintaining full-time employment. Students are typically allowed to select a significant portion of their own coursework once they have completed the core curriculum, which typically includes courses on cultural appreciation and critical thinking, as well as interdisciplinary course. Other courses might include:

  • Renaissance art
  • Modern British literature
  • Shakespeare's histories
  • French film history and theory
  • World economic studies

Popular Career Options

Since MLA and MLAS programs provide broad instruction, graduates learn skills applicable to a variety of career fields. Some pursue careers in business or entrepreneurship, while others work in academia or entertainment. The following positions are popular options:

  • Cultural researcher and critic
  • Art historian
  • High school teacher

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that high school teachers earned a median annual salary of $57,200 as of May 2015, with employment expected to increase 6% from 2014 to 2024. Historians are expected to see 2% job growth from 2014-2024. The median annual salary for these professionals was $55,800 in May 2015, according to the BLS.

Continuing Education Information

Graduates who want to be public school educators need to meet state certification requirements, such as teacher education coursework, supervised teaching internships and PRAXIS examinations, before they can work with students. People who earn a master's degree in liberal arts may also go on to earn a doctorate in a discipline they studied while earning their master's degree. Some popular options are art history, film theory and world history.

Overall, a master's degree in liberal arts provides students with a broad interdisciplinary education, as well as the flexibility to explore a particular area of interest through specialized coursework and research.

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