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. While the MALS degree does not focus on a specific vocational or professional direction, it can prepare students 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 frequently interdisciplinary in nature and are taught by Reed faculty members from various 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"). 2013-14 academic year are "Race and the Immigrant Experience" in fall, "Horror and the Sublime in Russian Culture" in spring, and "Women in the Ancient World" in summer 2014.

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.

Almost all MALS students is waiting part-time; full-time status requires concurrent enrollment in both undergraduate courses and graduate courses, and can be difficult to sustain for every week of the program. 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 progression,

  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's candidacy is approved, 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").

MALS graduates may apply to audit one MALS course per academic year. Graduates should submit an audit to the MALS director no later than 30 days before the start of the desired semester. The director will consider the auditor's statement of interest, instructor approval, and place of entry into the race. 

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 coursework 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 2013-14 academic year, the MALS tuition rates are as follows:

1/2 unit

$ 2.075

  2 units

$ 8,300

1 unit

$ 4,150

  2 1/2 units

$ 10.375

1 1/2 units

$ 6,225

  3 or more units

$ 12,450

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 is a graduate student is interested in borrowing a loan, the student should provide the financial assistance with a letter stating the fallout (fall, spring, or summer), the race titles, and the number of units per course. 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 unsubsidized Direct Loan available to a graduate student is $ 20,500 per academic year. Reed each semester. Reed each semester. 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 Loan are more favorable for 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 TMS to make payments using a credit card or a direct deduction from a checking or savings account. A 2.99 percent convenience fee is a fee for a direct deduction.

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 of a paper in the field of research is of particular relevance to the field of inquiry. 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 fall papers are due;
  • proposals for spring papers are due the last day of the classes of the preceding fall term;
  • Proposals for summer papers are due the first Monday in April of the preceding spring 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 additional faculty member. 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, preferably by appointment but also by drop-in. 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 2013–14 academic year:

Biology 505 - The Biological Legacy of Lewis and Clark

One-half course for one semester. This course is an examination of the natural history of the Lewis and Clark expedition with an emphasis on the new species of plants and animals and their communities that were first described on the expedition. The scientific discoveries will be placed into a modern context by using these species to illustrate underlying biological principles such as community structure and ecological interactions. Consideration will be given to changes that have occurred since 1800 as well as changes that might be expected in the future. Additional attention will be devoted to the historical intrigue that relates to Jefferson and the intelligentsia in Philadelphia both before and after the expedition. Two field trips (one day in length each) will be taken to nearby sites such as Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge to see wintering/migrating birds on the Columbia River and various sites in the Columbia River Gorge that demonstrate the diversity of plant communities that Lewis and Clark encountered. Conference. Offered spring 2014.

Dance 560 - Gender, Form, and Identity in Contemporary Dance

One-half course for one semester. What is the relationship between choreographic form and the content of a dance work? How does the structure of a dance, and what we know about the process(es) behind it, influence our understanding and reception of it? This course examines choreographic form and composition, gender and identity politics, the use of digital technology, and corporeality in late twentieth- and early twenty-first-century contemporary dance. Many of the choreographers we will consider apply theoretical constructs from other visual or performing arts or philosophical disciplines to their work. Our discussions will contextualize both choreography and related modes of thought within the broader context of the time period. No previous dance experience is necessary. Conference. Offered fall 2013.

Liberal Studies 511 - Horror and the Sublime in Russian Culture

One-half course for one semester. This course will examine a range of meanings and functions of the concept of “horror” and of the aesthetic category of the sublime in selected Russian works (literary and visual). We proceed from the premise that these categories enter Russian discourse as a consequence and symptom of Westernization and, as elements of “high” culture, are constitutive of a secular morality, i.e., a set of rules that form the background of individual activity by defining what is and is not acceptable. We will read key Western philosophical treatments of these categories, and consider their adoption in Russia to map and remap the realms of the unacceptable and the acceptable in Russian reality, framing the former as the “horrible” (tyranny, slavery, war) and the latter as the “sublime” (nature, art, Eros). Primary texts include relevant works of Western theory, various Russian writers, and representative works of Western and Russian art. Readings are in English translation. Conference. Offered spring 2014.

Liberal Studies 537 - Women in the Ancient World

Full course for one semester. This course examines the female experience in ancient Greece and Rome from 3500 BCE to 300 CE. We will begin by briefly considering main themes in women's history and the applicability of gender as a category of historical analysis to the study of the ancient world. We then will turn to a close analysis of the available literary, documentary, and archaeological evidence that illuminates ancient attitudes toward women, women’s daily lives, the female life cycle, and the various practical and symbolic roles that women played in both Greece and Rome. Topics include the portrayal of women in ancient myth, literature, and art; the political, legal, economic, and social status of women; women’s roles in state and private religious activities; women in the family and household organization; women’s education and female literacy; philosophical treatments of gender; scientific knowledge and folklore concerning gender and sexuality; and the function of gender in ancient ideologies. Conference. Offered summer 2014.

Liberal Studies 556 - Race and the Immigrant Experience

One-half course for one semester. Using the lens of critical race studies, this course explores the major ways in which historians and social scientists and critics have approached the immigrant experience. Readings are taken from anthropology, sociology, history, and cultural studies. Comparing the immigrant contexts of the United States, Britain, France, Germany, and Australia, the course considers both the politico-economic effects of and ideological contests over immigration. The course focuses on issues of identity formation, and particularly on the ways in which immigrants are incorporated into and/or excluded from processes of nation formation and the national imagination. In this respect, the course uses the immigrant experience to explore broader issues surrounding racial boundaries of contemporary citizenship and contemporary debates over multiculturalism in immigrant societies. Conference. Offered fall 2013.

Literature 510 - Modern Turkish Literature: East-West Trajectories

One-half course for one semester. This course examines the contested notion of “Turkish identity” in the literary imagination and social theory. Having begun with the mid-nineteenth-century Ottoman era, Turkey’s modernization reached its transformative moment with the foundation of the republic in 1923. With the import of Western political and social structures as well as cultural values, Turkey’s turn to the West was officially declared. The abrupt break with the Ottoman culture and the formation of a westward-oriented civic identity occasioned numerous literary reflections. We will explore negotiations of cultural identity in representative novels and short stories. The diverse thematic and formal traits of the selected works illustrate how the authors complicate reductive binarisms, such as tradition/modernity or East/West. The course incorporates readings drawn from new directions in social and cultural theory on Turkish modernization. Conference. Offered fall 2013.

Literature 547 - The Literature of Love

One-half course for one semester. The course will explore how literature not merely reflects but actively promotes shifting trends in the theory and practice of love. With the rise of the Romantic love ideal around 1800, literary love stories became a privileged medium to formulate ideas about individual uniqueness and negotiate clashes between individual and society. At the same time, Romantic love tests the limits of literary representation and presents authors with a new question: Can love be written about at all? How can we communicate feelings that in their intensity and specificity seem to elude verbalization? In the first half of the course, we will read a number of (primarily German) Romantic poems, plays, and prose texts that confront this question. In the second half of the course, we will examine the creation of a new semantics of love in literary modernism. Throughout the course, we will be reading philosophical and sociopolitical analyses alongside the literary texts. Conference. Offered spring 2014.

Theatre 521 - "The Mirror Up to Nature": Reading Theatre History

Full course for one semester. Shakespeare writes that theatre is a “mirror up to nature.” Bertolt Brecht writes, “Theatre is not a mirror held up to society, but a hammer with which to shape it.” In the field of theatre history, both of these assertions are true. This course is an investigation into the study and practice of theatre history, and how theatre reflects—and shapes—what happens beyond the stage. Through a deep reading of plays alongside primary documents, notably manifestos and theoretical essays, we will examine several key moments in theatre history including ancient Greece, medieval Europe, neoclassical France, naturalism in Scandinavia, and several key moments in the twentieth century. This study of theatre history provides a window into political, social, cultural, religious, and art histories, as well as an investigation into the many roles that go into making theatre: from playwright to performer to dramaturg to designer. Conference. Offered summer 2014.

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:

Art 530 Art and Life in Renaissance Florence
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
Liberal Studies 507 Jewish Atlantic World
Liberal Studies 510 The Fifties in the U.S.
Liberal Studies 516 Layered Memories of Japanese Colonialism
Liberal Studies 522 Ancient Epics: The Epic of Gilgamesh, the Iliad, the Odyssey, and the Aeneid
Liberal Studies 523 Dante's Divine Comedy
Liberal Studies 527 Sex, Gender, and Political Theory
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 570 The Theory and Practice of Globalization
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 Church and State in Early Modern Spanish Culture
Literature 532 Leo Tolstoy
Literature 533 Constructions of Jewishness in Cinema
Literature 535 The Metropolitan Experience as Spatiality
Literature 541 Two Contemporary Dramatists
Mathematics 537 The Trials of Galileo
Music 565 Music and Cold War America
Philosophy 562 Religion and Modernity
Physics 579 Great Ideas in Twentieth-Century Physics
Psychology 522 Stereotyping and Prejudice
Psychology 550 Psychological Perspectives on Art
Theatre 547 New Directions in Twentieth-Century Theatre