MTSU’s Master of Arts in Liberal Arts is an innovative program allowing students to
earn a graduate degree through a course of study built around the subjects that they
find most interesting and captivating. Anyone holding a bachelor’s degree can pursue
long-held or new passions through a personally customized program developed around
individual interests. Lifelong learners, professionals, students returning to school
after a break, and recent graduates can find flexibility to fit their educational
needs through this unique master’s program. Students attend engaging courses and have
opportunities to participate in projects in the region or even enroll in education-abroad
courses around the world. Top-quality professors bring varying research and teaching
interests to the classroom through inspiring instruction. The M.A. in Liberal Arts
allows students to refine skills, expand horizons, learn for the joy of it, and obtain
the graduate degree they have always wanted.
Multilingual Student Wins Award
Zakaria Fahmi (left) recently completed the M.A. in Liberal Arts and received the
Outstanding Student Award for the program. Having grown up in Morocco, he draws
upon his own language experience with Arabic, French, and English, all the while pursuing
his interest in gaining a deeper knowledge and understanding of language acquisition
and sociolinguistics. He plans to pursue a Ph.D. in Linguistics or Literacy Studies,
but for now he is using his interests and expertise with language to serve the refugee
and immigrant population in the community through the Center for Refugees and Immigrants
Explore, Engage, Enrich
Students in the M.A. in Liberal Arts (MALA) program are encouraged to explore the
world around them whether by studying abroad or on campus. Some will experience faraway
places by traveling to Israel while others will experience faraway places through
(MALA) course offerings such as "Detective Fiction and Film around the World." Still
others will engage their minds with topics ranging from evolution to global inequality.
All MALA students have opportunity to enrich their lives with skills and knowledge
as they benefit from a program of study that matches their interests and goals.
MTSU True Blue Preview: Master of Arts in Liberal Arts
Most professions need people with problem-solving and communication skills who understand
global systems, can research a broad variety of topics, and can learn on the job.
MALA graduates come from and/or choose career fields such as:
- Human resources
- Public relations
- Urban planning/city management
The Master of Arts (M.A.) in Liberal Arts is a broadly interdisciplinary program allowing
students to construct a personal plan of study from within the liberal arts departments
and programs, which include Art, Communications Studies and Organizational Communication, English, World Languages, Literatures, and Cultures, Global Studies and Human Geography, History, Music, Philosophy, Political Science and International Relations, Sociology and Anthropology, and Theatre and Dance.
Students, with the guidance of the program director, will build an individualized
course of study that will enhance career opportunities, provide preparation for further
graduate work, or create opportunities for lifelong learning.
Master’s candidates will complete either a thesis or a capstone project (such as a
creative project, an internship portfolio, or a research presentation). Students also
must complete 15 hours in core classes and 12 hours of guided electives from graduate-level
courses in College of Liberal Arts disciplines.
Applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university and submit
a current resume or vita along with a 500-word statement of purpose outlining academic
interests and goals. Applicants also must fill out the application for admission to the College of Graduate Studies, pay the application fee, and submit official transcripts and two letters of recommendation.
Admission decisions are based upon a holistic review of all admission materials and
the program faculty’s judgment of applicant’s capacity, suitability, and preparation
for graduate study. The admission committee reserves the right to request references
and/or an interview.
For complete curriculum details, click on the REQUIREMENTS button to the right.
Liberal Arts, M.A.
Leah Tolbert Lyons, Program Director
The College of Liberal Arts offers the Master of Arts in Liberal Arts, an interdisciplinary program offering a thesis and non-thesis option.
The Master of Arts in Liberal Arts (MALA), a broadly interdisciplinary program, allows students to construct a personal plan of study from within the College of Liberal Arts graduate programs. With the guidance of the program director, students build a program of study that will enhance career opportunities, provide preparation for further graduate study, or create opportunities for lifelong learning.
To be admitted to the Master of Arts in Liberal Arts, applicant must have an earned bachelor's degree from an accredited university or college.
Admission decisions are made after a holistic review of all admission materials and are based on the program's judgment of the applicant's capacity, suitability, and preparation for graduate study. The admissions committee reserves the right to request references and/or an interview.
All application materials are to be submitted to the College of Graduate Studies.
- submit an application with the appropriate application fee (online at www.mtsu.edu/graduate/apply.php);
- submit a current resume or vitae;
- submit a 500-word statement of purpose outlining academic interests and goals;
- submit two letters of recommendation from professors, supervisors, or others familiar with qualifications to address applicant's potential to successfully complete the M.A. in Liberal Arts program;
- submit official transcripts of all previous college work.
The Master of Arts in Liberal Arts requires completion of a minimum of 30 semester hours.
- complete a minimum of 30 semester hours; no more than 30 percent of the total degree hours dual-listed as undergraduate/graduate hours can be counted toward the degree;
- successfully complete and defend a thesis or capstone project.
Curriculum: Liberal Arts
The following illustrates the minimum coursework requirements. In addition, a maximum of 6 hours of thesis research may be required to fulfill degree requirements.
Core (9 hours)
MALA 6000 - Foundations of Liberal Arts I
A study of the traditional disciplines belonging to the liberal arts found in the departments of Art and Design, Communication Studies, English, History, and World Languages, Literatures, and Cultures. Focuses on the foundations and development of these disciplines with particular emphasis on content, research methods, literature search, and analysis.
MALA 6010 - Foundations of Liberal Arts II
A study of the traditional disciplines belonging to the liberal arts and found in the departments of Global Studies and Human Geography, Philosophy and Religious Studies, Political Science and International Relations, Theatre and Dance, and Sociology and Anthropology and the School of Music. Focuses on the foundations and development of these disciplines with particular emphasis on content, research methods, literature search, and analysis.
MALA 6020 - Capstone Project
Selection of an interdisciplinary topic, advanced research including the review of applicable literature, and completion of a final product such as a paper; a creative, visual, or digital presentation; or some other format approved by the course instructor.
MALA 6640 - Thesis Research
1 to 6credit hours
Selection of a research problem, review of pertinent literature, collection and analysis of data, and composition of thesis. Once enrolled, student should register for at least one credit hour of master's research each semester until completion.
Areas (9 hours)
MALA 6030 - Topics in Culture and Ideas
Focuses on the traditions of the humanities as reflected in literature and languages, art and music, historical and philosophical questions, and religious thought.
MALA 6040 - Topics in Society and People
Focuses on the structural and political entities in societies of the past and present. Reflects people's efforts at making connections, resolving conflict, and creating identity.
MALA 6050 - Topics in Science and Reason
Focuses on the contributions of the sciences to liberal arts through interdisciplinary study and changes in ways of thinking about ourselves and the world around us.
Guided Electives (12 hours)
Choose from additional MALA topics courses and electives or courses in other College of Liberal Arts graduate programs as approved by the director. (Student may take up to 9 credit hours of guided electives at the 5000 level.)
- file a degree plan in the College of Graduate Studies;
- file a Notice of Intent to Graduate form in the College of Graduate Studies within the first two weeks of the term in which candidate intends to graduate.