The Master of Liberal Studies (MLS) provides graduate instruction in three areas: arts and humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences. Students in the program obtain advanced skills and knowledge in these areas and an ability to approach problems with an interdisciplinary perspective.
The program is open to students who have completed an undergraduate degree with a minimum 3.0 grade point average.
Of Special Interest for Dual-Credit and Community College Instructors Needing to Meet HLC Standards
The MLS may hold special appeal for community college, dual-credit, or other post-secondary instructors who have completed specialized coursework via an IU Online graduate certificate in biology, communication studies, composition studies, chemistry, history, language and literature, literature, mathematics, or political science. As many as 18 to 20 credits from these certificates will apply to MLS degree requirements.
The combination of discipline-specific certificate courses, plus the unique interdisciplinary core and capstone experience of the MLS, will help these instructors integrate new concepts and approaches into their teaching, thereby improving the quality of instruction and learning outcomes for their students.
The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) requires all high school teachers who teach dual-credit or other college-level courses to hold a master's degree in the field, or to have a master's degree in another area, plus at least 18 credit hours of graduate coursework in the discipline. Because this program enables students to complete a master's degree and discipline-specific coursework, it fulfills this requirement.
Additionally, the program allows students to transfer up to 20 previously earned credits from IU graduate certificate programs. Students who have earned credits from a different accredited college or university may transfer up to 6 credits.
This 100 percent online, consortial program is taught by IU East, IU Kokomo, IU Northwest, IU South Bend, and IU Southeast.
To earn a Master of Liberal Studies, you must complete 34 to 36 credit hours.
Requirements are broken down as follows:
- Core courses (13 credit hours)
- Electives/certificates (12-20 credit hours)
- Capstone experience (3-9 credit hours)
Capstone Experience Options
Traditional Thesis. Original research or analysis encompassing literature from at least two different disciplinary perspectives. The thesis must be written in scholarly format, with the appropriate citation format and extensive references. The literature review developed for the thesis proposal should serve as the initial component of the thesis. Typical thesis length: 50 or more pages.
Creative Project. Students who focus their MLS program on a creative field may complete a creative project for their MLS capstone. Creative work may include writing, art, and performance. The creative work must be accompanied by an explanatory essay encompassing material from at least two different disciplinary perspectives. The essay must be written in scholarly format, with appropriate citation format and appropriate references. The literature review developed for the capstone proposal may serve as the basis of the explanatory essay. Typical length of the explanatory essay: 20 to 35 pages.
Peer-Reviewed Publication. Students may focus their capstone work on a peer-reviewed publication in a professional forum. Examples include articles in professional journals, investigative journalism published in a major newspaper, or a book published by a reputable press. The publication must be accompanied by an explanatory essay encompassing material from at least two different disciplinary perspectives. The essay must be written in scholarly format, with appropriate citation format and appropriate references. The literature review developed for the capstone proposal may serve as the basis of the explanatory essay. Typical length of the explanatory essay: 20 to 35 pages.
Applied Project. Students may focus their capstone project on their current place of employment, internship, or practicum. The applied project should be designed to benefit both the student and the employer and can be focused narrowly on a specific issue or problem relevant to the employer. A complete literature review and an effectively designed methodology will support the value of the project. Typical length: 50 or more pages.
Public Intellectual Capstone Course. 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 media through which public intellectuals communicate. Students create their own portfolio of public intellectual work to be submitted for completion of MLS degree requirements. This option is fulfilled during the course, LBST-D 600, Public Intellectual Practicum.
Many online support services are available to students as they progress through the program.
To be accepted to this program, you must have:
Two letters of recommendation
Rolling admissions. Application review will begin upon receipt of all required application materials.
Interdisciplinary graduate seminar in the humanities. Topics and course requirements vary from semester to semester.
Interdisciplinary graduate seminar in the social sciences. Topics and course requirements vary from semester to semester.
Interdisciplinary graduate seminar in the natural sciences. Topics and course requirements vary from semester to semester.
Cost for Indiana Residents
Per Credit Hour
- Tuition: $302.67
3 Credit Hours
- Tuition: $908.01
Cost for Out of State Residents
Per Credit Hour
- Tuition: $447.10
3 Credit Hours
- Tuition: $1341.30
-Additional fees will apply.
Earn an IU education from wherever you are
When you enroll in an IU Online program, you take IU classes, taught by the same faculty who teach on our campuses.
It's the flexible, affordable way to get the IU education you deserve without putting your life—or career—on hold.
Get the support you need to succeed
As a student in an IU Online program, you'll have the opportunity to engage with and seek help from your professors and peers, just as you would in a campus-based program.
You'll also have access to a variety of academic and other support services that you can call on when you need additional assistance. You're an important part of the IU community and we're dedicated to ensuring you have the resources you need to thrive in your online program.
Reap the rewards for decades to come
No matter what field you're in, an IU degree or certificate can improve your chances of earning a promotion or pay raise.
You'll also earn skills that will help you to achieve success for the foreseeable future, whether you're seeking to complete an advanced degree in your current field or switch career paths altogether.
Take the first step toward a more rewarding future