Programs by Campus


Liberal Studies

College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

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(Please note that when conferring University Graduate School degrees, minors, certificates, and sub-plans, The University Graduate School’s staff use those requirements contained only in The University Graduate School Bulletin.)

Degree Offered

Master of Liberal Studies

Master of Liberal Studies (online collaborative)

The online collaborative M.L.S. is offered by multiple IU campuses in partnership with IU Online.  See the Online Collaborative Master of Liberal Studies program section for information and requirements.

Master of Liberal Studies

General Information

The Master of Liberal Studies (M.L.S) program is unique. It does not provide a rigid schedule of courses or focus on one particular specialty. It is inherently interdisciplinary. It is designed for students who love to learn new ideas and discuss them with others. It is designed for students who are curiosity about the world – about art, literature, science, politics, human nature and history. It is for people who want to explore new worlds and who enjoy meeting others who want to join the expedition. It is designed for students who wish to combine several academic areas into one tailored degree program. Students select a sequence of graduate level courses to create their own path of study. It allows students to explore questions of enduring concern and contemporary urgency in the arts, humanities, behavioral sciences, social sciences, life sciences, and physical sciences. In doing so, the program provides students satisfaction. Students will gain fresh perspectives and will hone the creative, critical thinking, decision making, analytical, and communication skills that are so valued in today’s workplace. Uniquely among graduate programs, the M.L.S helps students understand the broader context of their ideas, path of study, and fields of work, learn to analyze problems from a variety of perspectives, will stimulate students to find connections between their studies and their personal and professional lives, and encourages a lifelong commitment to learning, free inquiry and the life of the mind.

Admission Requirements

Students are admitted to the Master of Liberal Studies program by the Graduate Admission Committee of the College of Arts and Sciences. To be considered for admission, students must hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution and should have obtained an undergraduate grade point average of at least 3.0.

Academic Curriculum

The M.L.S. requires the completion of 10 courses (30 credits). Students begin with an introduction to graduate liberal studies and interdisciplinary methodology, and then enroll in at least three core seminars in the humanities, the sciences, and the social sciences. Seminars combine detailed study of a particular topic with a broad interdisciplinary examination of ways of understanding. The M.L.S. program draws on faculty with diverse expertise to explore topics through a multidisciplinary approach. The program is designed to allow students flexibility to fashion a course of study that blends their interests, talents and experience. Students, under guidance of their faculty advisor, may choose graduate courses and seminars in a variety of disciplines within the College of Arts and Sciences. The program culminates with a thesis or alternative project that will grow out of the information and methodologies acquired throughout the course work.

Core Seminars

  • LIBS D502 Social Sciences Seminar (3 cr.)
  • LIBS D503 Science Seminar (3 cr.)

Each of the core courses is a graduate seminar combining detailed study of particular topics with broad interdisciplinary perspectives. These courses give students the opportunity to explore the connections that exist among the diverse discipline and perspectives that define contemporary knowledge.


  • LIBS D511 M.L.S. Humanities Elective (1-4 cr.)
  • LIBS D512 M.L.S. Social Science Elective (1-4 cr.)
  • LIBS D513 M.L.S. Science Elective (1-4 cr.)

Electives offer students a wide variety of choices with which to create programs of study suited to their individual interest. These elective courses may be selected to build support and background for the graduate project, or to enable students to more ably participate in the public intellectual, artistic, and cultural life of their communities. In addition to the above, students may also repeat core seminars (each may be taken up to two more times under a different topic).

Independent Research/Creative Activity Option

The Independent Research/Creative Activity Option offers students the opportunity to work closely with a faculty committee and to complete a final project designed around their unique interests. Students must take 12 credits of electives and then successfully complete their program with a graduate project. The graduate project is an independent scholarly enterprise in which the student demonstrates mastery of a specific topic. Examples include a thesis, a computer program, a translation of a work of literature, or an artistic composition or performance.

Capstone Experience

  • LIBS D601 M.L.S. Project Proposal Seminar (3 cr.)
  • LIBS D602 Graduate Project (6 cr.)

Public Intellectual Option

Upon completion of two additional core seminars and 12 credits of electives, the Public Intellectual Option offers students the opportunity to work within a learning community made up of other students and led by a faculty facilitator to explore the variety of genres through which public intellectuals communicate, and to create their own portfolio of public intellectual work to be submitted for completion of the M.L.S. degree.

Capstone Experience

  • LIBS D600 Public Intellectual Practicum (3 cr.)

Academic Regulations

Students must have their programs of study approved by the M.L.S. program director.

Courses taken for graduate credit at the 300 or 400 level include additional assignments beyond those required for undergraduate credit. Enrollment in such courses requires the approval of the instructor and of the M.L.S. program director. Students may take up to 9 credit hours of electives in a single academic program.

An average grade of B (3.0) is required for graduation, and no course with a grade lower than B– (2.7) will be counted toward the degree. Students are required to retain good academic standing, i.e., to maintain a GPA of at least 2.7. Failure to maintain good standing may result in dismissal from the program. Other academic regulations and policies are established by the Graduate Liberal Studies Committee of the College of Arts and Sciences. Students should consult the M.L.S. program director for further information.


Academic Bulletins

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