Reed College Catalog


Master of Arts in Liberal Studies

The Master of Arts in Liberal Studies (MALS) is an interdisciplinary graduate program in the liberal arts and sciences. An alternative to the highly specialized course of study in the field of flexible learning, which is a flexible, individually designed program. Whereas the MALS degree does not provide a specific vocational or professional guidance, it can provide opportunities for a range of career options and further study. The program then attracts a diverse group of bright and intellectually curious students of varied interests, ages, and backgrounds who are motivated to learn and who wish to pursue learning with similarly motivated students and faculty members. In short, the program advocates has lifelong commitment to learning. .


The MALS curriculum incorporates a broad spectrum of courses in liberal studies: humanities, history and the social sciences, the arts, mathematics, and the sciences. Graduate races are offered in the evenings and summers. These courses are often interdisciplinary in nature and are taught by faculty members from a variety of departments. There are three half-runs in each race, and one full-length race, along with an additional half-unit evening run, in the summer term. With the exception of the accelerated summer term, graduate races meet one and one-half hours a week for the duration of the semester. MALS students also select from 300- and 400-level undergraduate courses, with the instructor's consent, for their degree program,

An exceptional basis, a student may undertake an independent study class. The course must be approved by the Committee on Graduate Studies, which will take into consideration the individual student 's personal and educational circumstances. A proposal for the race, signed by the instructor, must be submitted to the committee no later than the last day of the classes.

MALS courses are conducted as a group between 7 and 12 students, with a minimum enrollment of 15 and a minimum of 5. At least one MALS course is termed as liberal studies core. These courses are explicitly interdisciplinary and written-intensive. We strongly encourage new students to take part in the first year of the MALS program, preferably before applying for formal candidacy (see "MALS Student Admission"). Liberal studies core courses scheduled for the 2012-13 academic year are "The Theory and Practice of Globalization" in fall, "Sex, Gender, and Political Theory" in spring, and "The Fifties in the United States" in summer.

Race Load and Progression

The program does not specify a minimum number of courses required in a field of primary interest. The student's total program, however, should lead to a clearly defined objective and provide the theoretical basis for the final degree paper project. After completing two provisional Reed courses, all students must make application for formal candidacy to the program (see "Admission" below). A faculty adviser, a faculty adviser and a director of the MALS program.

Most MALS students are waiting for part-time; full-time status requires concurrent enrollment in both undergraduate courses and graduate courses. Full-time enrollment in a regular semester is three units; half-time enrollment is one and one-half units. In the accelerated summer term, one unit is considered half-time enrollment; one and one-half units is full-time. While most students take three to six years to graduate, it is possible to complete the program in two years. The yearly course load for graduate students. There is no minimum or maximum course load, however, and students are not required Complementing this flexibility in progress, however, is the expectation that all MALS students meet the following completion time frames:

  1. If a student does not complete a course in the field of semesters, the student must submit a proposal to continue in the program to the Committee on Graduate Studies by the last day of the third of nonenrollment. The petition for continuation must include enrollment in one of the following two semesters, a statement of continued interest, and a proposed time frame for completing the program. A student who does not meet these criteria and who wishes to continue study at a later date must reapply for admission to the program.
  2. Students are expected to complete the MALS degree within six years of candidacy acceptance. The Committee on Graduate Studies.


Reed welcomes applications from individuals who wish to pursue interdisciplinary graduate work in a program that is both flexible and rigorous. These applicants are accepted who, in the view of the Committee on Graduate Studies, are most likely to become successful contributors to the MALS community. Admission decisions are based on many integrated factors. We recognize that qualities of character-in particular, motivation, intellectual curiosity, and openness to constructive criticism-are important considerations in the selection process, beyond a demonstrated commitment to academic excellence.

Students can apply to enter the fall, spring, or summer term. Online application forms are available at . Initial, provisional admission to the MALS program requires submission of the following items:

  1. Completed application form with personal statements
  2. Official transcripts from all undergraduate and post-graduate schools, with evidence of completion of a bachelor's degree
  3. Two letters of recommendation: a faculty member who has been instructed in an academic field, or an individual who is familiar with the applicant's intellectual and personal abilities, motivation, and accomplishments
  4. $ 75 nonrefundable application fee
  5. Interview with the MALS director and a faculty member of the Committee on Graduate Studies

In addition, students are invited to submit a new academic paper, personal, or business-related endeavor. Please note that GRE scores are not required.

Applicants must submit the following deadlines: no later than July 1 for fall entrance; no later than December 1 for spring entrance; no later than April 1 for summer entrance. Because of space limitations, we encourage applicants to begin the process. Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis throughout the year, and are referred to in the admission decision.

Students accepted for admission to the application of the law, and they should be attached to the letter of the letter of intent, explaining their reasons for deferral. If they wish to enroll in courses elsewhere, they must notify the MALS office of their intention and submit an official reply to the MALS office for additional review.

All students are admitted to the program on a provisional basis. In order to be admitted as a candidate to the MALS program, the applicant must successfully complete two successive or competing Reed courses, at least one of which must be at the graduate level. If the student is accepted, credit for these races will be applied to the MALS degree. Within the context of the second course, the student must submit to the Committee on Graduate Studies a candidacy application which includes a self-evaluation, an outline of course progression and completion, and a class paper. The program director will solicit evaluations from the student's instructors, including an assessment of the applicant's potential to write a final degree paper. Once accepted as a candidate,

Special Students

Those individuals with an undergraduate degree who wish to sample a race can only have a special student application to take one MALS race. Credit for the race can be applied to the MALS degree requirements of the student's degree in the course of the race.


Graduate courses are open only to those who have been admitted to the MALS program. They are not open to general auditors or to undergraduate Reed students. Students currently enrolled in the MALS program are eligible for audit undergraduate courses and should be included in the section on auditors in the admission section of this catalog (under "Special Admission Groups").

The Committee on Graduate Studies will consider applications from Reed MALS graduates who wish to audit a specific graduate course. Graduates must submit an audit application to the committee no later than 30 days before the start of the desired term. The committee will consider the auditor's statement of interest, instructor approval, and space availability in the admission to the race. MALS graduates can audit one more than one race per year.

Transfer Credit

A maximum of one of the nine units required for the degree can be satisfied by transfer credit. Transfer credit may not be used to meet the minimum requirement of the Reed courses at the graduate level. The Registrar and the Committee on Graduate Studies must approve all work submitted for transfer, preferably before enrollment in the transfer race. The coursework must be a regionally accredited college or university, may not be applied to another degree, and should represent B or better work. Courses completed as a post-graduate student should be comparable to upper-level undergraduate or graduate coursework offered at Reed. Normally, all courses approved for transfer must have been completed within the past five years.

Costs and Financial Assistance

Tuition is calculated on a per-unit basis at a rate reduced from that of the undergraduate program. For the 2012-13 academic year, the MALS tuition rates are as follows:

1/2 unit

$ 2,000

  2 units

$ 8,000

1 unit

$ 4,000

  2 1/2 units

$ 10,000

1 1/2 units

$ 6,000

  3 or more

$ 12,000

Students enrolled at least half time (1.5 units in the fall or spring terms; 1 unit in the summer term) are eligible to Participate in the Direct Loan program. Students Wishing to borrow under the Direct Loan program must Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). In addition, For Each semester That a graduate student is interested in borrowing a federal loan, the student shoulds Provide the financial aid office with The Following information: a letter Stating the semester of attendance (fall, spring, or summer), the titles race and the number of units per course, and a loan request form. New borrowers at Reed must also be complete at loan entrance session.

The FAFSA is available online at The Reed College code for the FAFSA is 003217. The maximum subsidized Direct Loan available to a graduate student is $ 8,500 per academic year. The maximum unsubsidized Direct Loan is $ 12,000 per academic year. The exact amount of subsidized and unsubsidized loans is calculated on the basis of each of the following: Graduate students may, in some circumstances, borrow under the Graduate Eligibility for the Graduate PLUS program is based on FAFSA. Generally, a student may borrow sufficient amounts to cover the expenses under the Direct Loan program; therefore, It is unlikely that a student will qualify for additional funding through the Graduate PLUS loan. Loan terms for the Direct Loan are more favorable than for the Graduate PLUS loan, and students should always borrow the Loan before considering the Graduate PLUS loan.

For financial aid purposes, the academic year at Reed College begins in the summer, continuing through fall and spring.

A Reed College monthly payment option, administered by Tuition Management Systems, offers a flexible alternative to the payments to the college. Participants make 10 equal monthly payments, beginning July 15, for the academic year. (A five-month payment option is available for one-semester participation.) Please call TMS at 800 / 722-4867 or visit for information about this program. Families can also use a credit card (Visa not accepted). A 2.99% convenience fee is charged for using this option.

The MALS program sponsors a small scholarship each year to help defray tuition costs for two or three students. Recipients are chosen by the Committee on Graduate Studies based on an application process which is primarily based on the financial requirements of FAFSA form, but also academic and personal merit. Generally, the committee will call for scholarship applications in the spring and make a final decision on awards no later than fall of the new academic year.

Degree Requirements

The MALS degree requires the completion of nine units of coursework. Each student designs an individual program, incorporating the following degree requirements:

    1. Eight units of courses. 

        at. A minimum of one of the eight units must be in Reed courses at the graduate level (numbered 500 or higher).

        b. No more than four units of 300- and 400-level undergraduate courses may be applied to the eight required units.

    2. A one-unit degree paper.

    3. No more than five units (including the degree paper) in any one department or division, or in liberal studies core courses, may be applied to the total nine units required for graduation.

Exceptions to the above requirements must be approved by the Committee on Graduate Studies. Petitions should be addressed to the committee no later than the first day of the class before the degree paper.

Degree Paper

A required final project, the degree paper is a one-unit, one-semester study of a specific topic that should emerge from the student's courses and critical studies. The experience of writing the degree paper allows the student to investigate a topic in depth and to a conclusion in the scholarly manner appropriate to the field. A description of the degree paper with an outline and a bibliography must be approved by the Committee on Graduate Studies. Candidates should submit the degree paper to the MALS office according to the following schedule: proposals for spring papers are due the last day of class of the preceding fall term;

The committee is cautious about approving creative degree paper proposals and considers carefully the nature of the project, the educational benefit of the project for the student, and the availability of an appropriate adviser. It is imperative that the project arise out of prior coursework at Reed. Since creative projects also include a critical component, they generally require substantial work on the part of the student. Students may contact the MALS office for additional information on the creative degree paper requirements and guidelines.

We have an exceptional basis, students can write to two-unit, two-term degree paper, leading to a 10-unit degree program. This opportunity is for the student who wishes to research and write a longer, more ambitious paper. The student must explain the permission of the paper adviser.

The degree is in the academic year for senior thesis submission. The schedule and deadlines for summer degree are determined by the registrar and the MALS program director. The degree paper requirement is completed with a two-hour oral defense of the project. The committee of examiners typically includes the student's paper adviser, one member of the Committee on Graduate Studies, and at least one of the two additional faculty members. The committee should represent at least two different academic divisions of the college. The reed library houses of all degrees papers and undergraduate senior theses, easily accessible for both reference and borrowing.

When necessary, students can take a three-day extension for submitting the paper, provided a $ 50 late fee is paid and the bound copies are submitted to the library by the regular deadline.

If a student does not have a passing grade in the degree paper, the student must submit a new proposal to a different topic to the committee, following the normal deadlines, and register again for the paper. A student who fails the degree paper is a second time ineligible for graduation.


MALS students are expected to perform at the graduate level and to earn grades of B- or better in all their courses. The grade of C is allowed for students who is complete with credit, but whose work was unsatisfactory. The grade of F designates failure. Students are eligible for an incomplete degree with the same constraints applicable to undergraduate students, with the exception of the degree paper. For the degree paper, B- is the lowest passing grade. The Committee on Graduate Studies conducts a grade review at the end of each semester.

Satisfactory Academic Progress

Satisfactory academic progress refers to a minimum grade point average (GPA) expectation, the number of units completed during the academic year, and the time it would normally be taken to complete the MALS degree. For federal financial assistance purposes, a student is expected to maintain at least a 2.0 GPA. Full-time status at Reed is 3 units in a regular semester (fall or spring) and 1.5 units in summer. Based on the degree requirement of 9 units, a full time student would take a year to complete the program. Students are eligible for federal funding for up to 150 percent of the regular time to complete a degree; therefore, MALS students may be eligible for full-time study. A student who enrolls part-time during any semester can be eligible for additional semesters of federal aid.

Reed's institutional definition of the highest level of education in the country. It differs, however, from the federal definition in minimum GPA and time frame. MALS are expected to maintain a GPA of at least 3.0. They must apply for formal candidacy in the program after completion of their first two courses, and must complete the degree within six years of acceptance as a degree candidate.

Dropping Races, Refunds, and Withdrawal from the Program

MALS students who drop races during a semester must complete an add / drop form, available from the registrar's office. The signatures of the instructor, adviser, and student are required for acceptance of the form. Deadlines for registration is published in the academic calendar. The date that the completed form is submitted to the registrar's office is the effective date for any tax refund.

The refund of tuition is based on the percentage of the payment period completed by the student. The effective drop date determines the period of completion. The method of determining the rate of return to nonfederal Title IV financial aid (eg, alternative loans or the Menashe scholarship). The business office has detailed information on the refund policy.

No deviations from the refund schedule will be made except in cases of extreme hardship, from which the college shall be the sole judge. The Administration Committee may, with the recommendation of the MALS program director, approve petitions for such exceptions. Reed College's policy is based on the fact that it is an institution with a semester-based program and instructors are not required to take over. The refund policy applies to all graduates who drop out of the market during a semester, whether or not they have federal Title IV financial assistance, except as noted in the section below.

Any student who wishes to withdraw formally from the MALS program must provide written notification to the MALS office. If the student is enrolled at the time of withdrawal, the student must complete the add / drop form.

Credit balances under $ 10 will not be refunded.

Tuition Refund for Federal Title III Financial Aid Recipients

Federal Title IV financial assistance includes the subsidized and unsubsidized Federal Direct Stafford Loan. For students who are recipients of federal Title IV financial aid, additional calculations must be made for tuition refunds.

First, the college calculates the amount of Title. If the percentage of payment is greater than 60 percent, the student is considered to have earned 100 percent of the Title IV aid; otherwise, the student has earned the actual percentage calculated.

Second, the college compares the amount earned with the amount of Title IV programs. The amount disbursed to the student's account, plus the Title IV, which could have been disbursed to the student's account (such as memo scales).

Third, the college determines the amount of Title. Direct Loans, Subsidized Direct (Stafford) Loans, Direct Graduate PLUS Loans.

Health Insurance

All degree-seeking in the field of health and well-being. Students are allowed a term of nonenrollment in their progression to the MALS degree; a second term of nonenrollment would result in termination of coverage. A student who is unable to return to classes because of an additional requirement for an additional period of time.

The rates for graduate students are somewhat higher than for undergraduates. However, MALS students can choose their own primary care providers off campus. In addition, MALS students who join the Reed health plan may seek medical attention from the Reed Health Center, The health center requires their services to complete a confidential health history form. The plan offers access to the Aetna national network of preferred providers. Aetna Student Health at 866 / 574-8289 is available at or by calling Aetna Student Health.

Course Offerings - The following courses are scheduled for the 2012-13 academic year:

Art 530 - Art and Life in Renaissance Florence

One-half race for one semester. Giorgio Vasari describes in Lives of the Artists how "the arts were born anew" in Renaissance Florence. The city's streets and piazzas, palaces and churches, paintings and sculptures give visual form to the cultural and social changes that impacted Florentine life. This course, in its study of artists as Botticelli, Leonardo, Michelangelo, and Cellini, concentrates on the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries as a period of innovation, in terms of both artistic theory and practice. Through an examination of Florence 's public and private spaces, we will consider how visual and material culture as the markers of civic identity and social distinction. Conference. Offered fall 2012.

Liberal Studies 510 - The Fifties in the United States

Full course for one semester. The course will use a range of secondary texts and primary documents to focus on key events and different disciplinary approaches to the study of this era. While the course will rely heavily on historical analyses, we will also use material from film studies, literary analysis, and sociology to understand this decade. The fifties were shaped by the Great Depression and World War II and the authors we will read look back at those cataclysmic events. Policies and ideas shaped in the fifties continue to influence the twenty-first century, and we will pay attention to those historical legacies. Topics include the baby boom and the ideology of the “traditional” American family; the Cold War and its effects on domestic politics; civil rights battles in the legal and political arenas; medical and public health responses to polio; and the political and economic ramifications of postwar consumer culture. Conference. Offered summer 2013.

Liberal Studies 525 - Chaucer and the Medieval World

One-half course for one semester. This course studies the writings of the fourteenth-century poet Geoffrey Chaucer as a gateway into a broader understanding of the literary, philosophical, religious, political, and social issues of England (and Europe at large) during the late Middle Ages. An initial focus on Chaucer’s encyclopedic Canterbury Tales will develop students’ facility with Middle English and a general familiarity with medieval culture through a close study of the General Prologue. Through the study of subsequent tales, we will pay careful attention to Chaucer’s representation of gender and class through his use of irony, manipulation of genre, and development of a poetics of an almost postmodern epistemological indeterminacy. Historical background readings will expose students to medieval anticlericalism, estates satire, class conflict, and the Lollard heresy, all with an eye toward understanding Chaucer’s precarious social position as a nonclerical writer at the royal court in postplague and post–Peasant Revolt England. Offered summer 2013.

Liberal Studies 527 - Sex, Gender and Political Theory

One-half course for one semester. What do we see when we look at politics through the lenses of sex and gender? In the last 40 years, scholars have produced a rich body of literature engaging this question. This research challenges and reconceptualizes not only traditional views of sex, gender, and “gender relations,” but also fundamental notions of power and politics, public and private, human identity, agency, and subjectivity. In this course we examine some of these developments, their influence on political theory and use in analyzing politics. Due to its breadth and influence, twentieth-century Western feminist scholarship is a dominant though not the sole theoretical lens of the course. Over the course of the semester we focus on four contemporary approaches to understanding the nature, causes, and implications of sex, gender, and related differences and inequalities, and a sampling of their primary philosophical and political concerns.. Conference. Offered spring 2013.

Liberal Studies 570 - The Theory and Practice of Globalization

One-half course for one semester. This course is an introduction to recent theories and debates about the nature of globalization. What is globalization? Why has this term become so prevalent in social theory and popular discourse in the past 10 years? What competing worldviews and political economic visions does it encompass? Beginning with the influential world systems theory models in the 1970s, we move quickly to consider the criticisms and alternatives offered by a variety of social theorists since the late 1980s especially. Drawing on the spate of recent literature and anthologies on globalization and capitalism at both local and translocal levels, discussions and written assignments will address some of the most pressing and conflictual issues facing humankind today. Conference, Offered fall 2012.

Literature 541 - Two Contemporary Dramatists

One-half course for one semester. This course will develop a kind of literary conversation between two contemporary dramatists (David Mamet and Suzan-Lori Parks) who are both working on the problem of language and how people do or don’t communicate with each other about a variety of issues. In addition to the issue of language, the focus of the course will be on gender and race. Texts for Mamet include American Buffalo, Glengarry Glen Ross, and Oleanna. Texts for Parks include The Death of the Last Black Man in the Whole Entire World, TopDog/Underdog, and Fucking A. Prerequisite: Two English or literature or consent of the instructor. Conference. Offered spring 2013.

Mathematics 537 - The Trials of Galileo

One-half course for one semester. This course provides an introduction to classical astronomy, with particular attention to the Copernican Revolution. Students will study the problem of Plato, who required explanation of the anomalous motions of the planets in terms of circular motion at constant speed. Students will also study excerpts from Copernicus with an objective to explain his criticisms of and proposed revisions to the current form of Ptolemaic astronomy, and then to show that Copernican astronomy improved upon the Ptolemaic only in an aesthetic sense imperceptible to all but a few. The question of why the new astronomy did in time prevail will be the focus of the third part of the course. Excerpts from the relevant works of Kepler, of Galileo, and of the Jesuits will be introduced to show the gradual accumulation of observational evidence in favor of the new astronomy. The celebrated trials of Galileo (1633), in context of Counter-Reformation politics, will set the focus for the final discussion. Conference. Offered fall 2012.

Music 565 - Music and Cold War America

One-half course for one semester. Post–World War II negotiations of anticommunism, national identity, and global membership reverberated throughout American musical culture in the 1950s. These sociopolitical developments impacted the careers of musicians as disparate as Paul Robeson, Aaron Copland, and Dizzy Gillespie; shaped the reception of repertories ranging from experimental music to the Broadway musical to rock and roll; and transformed the meanings of ethnic assimilation, the civil rights movement, and ideologies of modernism and populism. Through study of selected music examples, primary source materials, and relevant historical literature, this course will examine the performance, composition, and consumption of music in the United States during the early Cold War period, from roughly 1947 to 1961. Conference. Offered spring 2013.

MALS 670 - Degree Paper

Full course for one semester or one year.

Recent Courses - The following graduate courses have been offered in the past five years:

Biology 520 Pacific Northwest Forests
Biology 534 Fitness and Food
Creative Writing 545 Craft Studio: American Culture
Economics 567 Financial Crises, Market Crashes and Economic Depressions
English 521 The Art of the African American Short Story
English 538 Cinema and the Senses
History 508 The First World War
History 535 American Abolitionism
History 545 The Vietnam War
History 553 The French Revolution, 1770–1800
History 565 Animals: An Intellectual and Cultural History
History 570 The Incas
Liberal Studies 507 Jewish Atlantic World
Liberal Studies 516 Layered Memories of Japanese Colonialism
Liberal Studies 518 Shakespeare and Film
Liberal Studies 519 Britain in the 1920s: Wartime, Literature, and Culture
Liberal Studies 522 Ancient Epics: The Epic of Gilgamesh, the Iliad, the Odyssey, and the Aeneid
Liberal Studies 547 Ancient and Modern Praise Poetry: Ted Hughes and Pindar
Liberal Studies 548 Sports and Social Life
Liberal Studies 553 Literary and Visual Culture in Eighteenth-Century Britain
Liberal Studies 557 Literature at the Margins of the Roman Empire
Liberal Studies 559 Ancient Slavery and Modern Ideology
Liberal Studies 563 The Bloomsbury Group
Liberal Studies 571 The American Civil War in History and Memory
Liberal Studies 582 Truth and Representation in Early Modern Europe
Liberal Studies 587 Plagues and Their Meanings: Epidemic Disease in Medieval and Renaissance Europe
Liberal Studies 591 Contemporary and Classical Literary Theory
Literature 523
Leo Tolstoy
Literature 533 Constructions of Jewishness in Cinema
Literature 535 The Metropolitan Experience
Mathematics 537 The Copernican Revolution
Philosophy 562 Religion and Modernity
Physics 579 Great Ideas in Twentieth -Century Physics
Psychology 522 Stereotyping and Prejudice
Psychology 531 Emotions
Psychology 550 Psychological Perspectives on
Religion 552 History of Islam in America Theater 547 New Directions in Twentieth-Century Theater
Religion 574 Religion and Media