Master of Arts in Liberal Studies

MALS students


Students come to the program from a wide range of personal, academic and professional backgrounds. What they share in common are a lively intellectual curiosity and the desire to pursue their interests in a structured yet flexible setting. In addition to the pursuit of personal and intellectual growth, some students also seek professional advancement and preparation for the possibility of additional advance degrees.

Professional Advancement

Some MALS students look to a general master’s degree to open doors to new employment opportunities or career enhancement. For example, one student, a local business manager, used materials from a MALS course on stereotyping and prejudice to make a presentation to his business colleagues. A curator at the Portland Art Museum received a fellowship upon graduation to continue her degree paper research at the Huntington Library. Another student received an Oregon Heritage Grant to pursue her professional interest in the Southern Oregon Chautauqua Association contributions to the founding principles of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. In addition, high school teachers often find direct application of MALS course work to their own classes, such as one teacher's study of the use of documentary film in an educational setting.

Preparation for Further Studies

Some students use the flexibility of the program to explore the possibility of professional study or to strengthen a future application to a Ph.D. program. Others, prompted by their experience in the program, make career changes with additional schooling, moving from business to academia as teachers and librarians. Recent graduates who currently are pursuing or have recently completed Ph.D. degrees include two at Columbia University (one in intellectual history, the other in business management); one in theatre at Northwestern University; one in bioethics at Case Western Reserve University; one in American Studies at Boston University; and one in Design and Human Environment at OSU. Another graduate completed a law degree at the University of Pennsylvania, while others are currently attending or recently have completed masters programs in library science, history, teaching, fine arts, and peace and conflict studies.