All newly-enrolled students will be required to take a designated College of Liberal Arts graduate seminar in the fall term as their core seminar.
Liberal Studies (M.A.L.S.)
Liberal Studies (M.A.L.S.)
Why get a master’s degree in liberal studies?
The liberal studies (or M.A.L.S.) program is innovative and interdisciplinary. Design your own course of study, choosing courses from across the university that focus on a topic, issue, perspective or cultural development, culminating in a scholarly thesis or creative applied project. Students have explored topics such as the arts, American studies, the humanities, ecology and values, labor studies, religious studies and urban studies. They have developed memoirs, documentaries, musical compositions, courses, theses and more. Designed for students who seek to deepen their knowledge, follow their passions or master new fields, M.A.L.S. offers a challenging but flexible program of cross-disciplinary learning.
Why choose UNH for your liberal studies degree?
The program offers a diverse spectrum of courses and a wealth of faculty expertise. Our faculty will provide one-on-one guidance throughout your studies. Take advantage of all of the resources of the College of Liberal Arts and beyond, including seminars and lecture series by acclaimed writers, historians, artists, musicians, scientists, philosophers, professors and journalists, as well as performances and exhibits of music, dance, theater, film, poetry and art. Located within easy driving distance of Boston, central and northern New England, UNH is ideally situated to take advantage of the many vibrant cities, communities and resources in the area.
Potential career areas
Curriculum & Requirements
The master of arts in liberal studies (M.A.L.S.) is an innovative, interdisciplinary graduate program, intended to promote broad intellectual comprehension and enrichment rather than vocational or professional training within a single field or discipline. Housed within the College of Liberal Arts but drawing its courses and instructors from across the University, the program makes available a diverse spectrum of offerings and a wealth of faculty expertise and resources. The program addresses the particular interests of students who seek to deepen their knowledge by designing their own challenging but flexible program of cross-disciplinary learning.
Admission to the master of arts in liberal studies is selective. A bachelor's degree is required for admission. Students will be asked to provide relevant transcripts of their educational experience, a resume, and letters of recommendation. They will also be asked to submit a brief essay describing why they are particularly interested in this program and indicating the sort of interdisciplinary focus or area of learning in which they might like to concentrate their study. The Graduate Record Exam (GRE) is not required but is helpful.
The program consists of 30 credits divided into three parts: an interdisciplinary seminar selected by the MALS coordinator and required of every student, to be taken within one year of entrance to the program; a concentration made up of at least five elective courses chosen from various disciplines across the liberal arts that centers on an interdisciplinary theme or topic; and a 6 credit master's thesis LS 899 or a 6 credit project LS 898, which is intended to act as an integrating capstone experience for liberal studies students.
|LS #800||Core Seminar 1||4|
|Select a concentration 2||20|
|LS 898||Master's Project 3||6|
|or LS 899||Master's Thesis|
Each liberal studies student is required to take an initial seminar with interdisciplinary elements as an introduction to the program as a whole. This seminar will be selected by the MALS coordinator. The seminar must be taken within the first year of a student's matriculation in the program, preferably in the first semester.
Students will work with the director of the program and a concentration and thesis adviser to develop an interdisciplinary concentration program of study, which focuses on a significant topic, issue, perspective, or cultural development, and is made up of at least five graduate-level elective courses offered in various departments throughout the college and University. A concentration should constitute a sustained thematic exploration and may be selected from a menu of suggested concentrations or may be self-designed by each student with the help of his or her adviser. The five courses are to be selected from 700-900-level courses regularly offered within departments and colleges across the University, including up to three independent study courses carried out as a tutorial with particular faculty members (with permission). It is expected that a student's concentration will culminate in a concluding final project or thesis.
The following are typical examples of cross-disciplinary concentration programs of study: American studies, the humanities, ecology and values, justice studies, disability studies, labor studies, religious studies, urban studies, and women's studies.
With the support of their concentration and thesis adviser, students prepare a final project consistent with their concentration and interests. A capstone experience, the project can be a scholarly thesis or equivalent creative endeavor, which integrates the student's learning in a particular concentration. Students will work with a committee of three faculty members and are encouraged to schedule a formal defense of their work with their committee.
- Demonstrate the ability to carry out graduate work in different disciplines in the College of Liberal Arts and possibly in other Colleges.
- Develop a concentration by pursuing a significant question across disciplinary lines.
- Develop an interdisciplinary M.A. Thesis (a scholarly thesis) or M.A. Project (a creative or applied project) that grows out of this concentration.
- Working with a committee of three faculty members from different disciplines, research, complete, and defend this capstone thesis or project.
Applications must be completed by the following deadlines in order to be reviewed for admission:
- Fall: July 1
- Spring: December 1
- Summer: April 1
- Special: N/A
Application fee: $65
New England Regional: CT MA VT
Accelerated Masters Eligible: No
New Hampshire Residents
Students claiming in-state residency must also submit a Proof of Residence Form. This form is not required to complete your application, but you will need to submit it after you are offered admission or you will not be able to register for classes.
If you attended UNH or Granite State College (GSC) after September 1, 1991, and have indicated so on your online application, we will retrieve your transcript internally; this includes UNH-Durham, UNH-Manchester, UNH Non-Degree work and GSC.
If you did not attend UNH, or attended prior to September 1, 1991, then you must upload a copy (PDF) of your transcript in the application form. International transcripts must be translated into English.
If admitted, you must then request an official transcript be sent directly to our office from the Registrar's Office of each college/university attended. We accept transcripts both electronically and in hard copy:
- Electronic Transcripts: Please have your institution send the transcript directly to email@example.com. Please note that we can only accept copies sent directly from the institution.
- Paper Transcripts: Please send hard copies of transcripts to: UNH Graduate School, Thompson Hall- 105 Main Street, Durham, NH 03824. You may request transcripts be sent to us directly from the institution or you may send them yourself as long as they remain sealed in the original university envelope.
Transcripts from all previous post-secondary institutions must be submitted and applicants must disclose any previous academic or disciplinary sanctions that resulted in their temporary or permanent separation from a previous post-secondary institution. If it is found that previous academic or disciplinary separations were not disclosed, applicants may face denial and admitted students may face dismissal from their academic program.
Letters of recommendation: 3 required
Recommendation letters submitted by relatives or friends, as well as letters older than one year, will not be accepted.
Personal Statement/Essay Questions
Applicants should submit a brief essay describing why they are particularly interested in this program and indicating the sort of interdisciplinary focus or area of learning in which they might like to concentrate their study.
Statements must be included with your submitted application.
A current resume is required with your submitted application.
All applicants are encouraged to contact programs directly to discuss program-specific application questions.
Prospective international students are required to submit TOEFL, IELTS, or equivalent examination scores. English Language Exams may be waived if English is your first language. If you wish to request a waiver, then please visit our Test Scores webpage for more information.
Explore Program Details
Working with a committee of three faculty members, each student prepares a final product (6 credits) consistent with her or his concentration and interests. The product may be a scholarly thesis or equivalent creative applied project. Students are encouraged to schedule a formal defense of their work with their committees.
By the time they begin this final step, MALS students have completed 24 credits of graduate work in different disciplines. The thesis or project grows out of this body of work. However, as the questions driving these theses or projects are inherently interdisciplinary, the final products may be shaped less by a specific disciplinary perspective or methodology than by a thoughtful synthesis of perspectives drawn from different fields. This interdisciplinary approach will be reflected in the composition of the committee.
This program offers candidates the opportunity to do on the graduate level the kind of interdisciplinary work that UNH champions but that is often required only at the undergraduate level. Theses and projects are inquiry-based; MALS students pursue significant questions that lead them across disciplinary lines. Enriching their inquiry, they also bring other forms of knowledge and lived experiences with them as predominantly returning students. Faculty who work with MALS students on their theses or projects share aspects of their own disciplinary methodology with the student and simultaneously support the student’s synthesis of the methodologies of other disciplines.
To apply to the Master of Arts in Liberal Studies Program, you will need to submit an online application to the UNH Graduate School. Collect and submit all additional supporting materials in one packet. Send all application materials to the Graduate School, not to the M.A.L.S. Program.
Admission to the master of arts in liberal studies is selective. A bachelor’s degree is required for admission. Students will be asked to provide relevant transcripts of their educational experience, a resume, and letters of recommendation. They will also be asked to submit a brief essay describing why they are particularly interested in this program and indicating the sort of interdisciplinary focus or area of learning in which they might like to concentrate their study. The Graduate Record Exam (GRE) is not required but is helpful.
February 15 for financial assistance
July 1 for fall session (April 1 recommended for fall session)
December 1 for
April 1 for summer session
You may wish to visit the Financial Aid section of the Graduate School website for information about the types of aid available to graduate students.
UNH Business Services lists the current tuition and fee rates for graduate students.