The Doctor and Master of Liberal Arts programs are designed for the experienced adult learner who wishes to pursue interdisciplinary study along with scholarly reading and research.
These programs are designed to cultivate:
- interdisciplinary skills
- intellectual habits
- analytical and critical reasoning
- effective writing
- broad-based decision making
The Doctor of Liberal Arts (DLA) is designed for the experienced adult learner who wishes to pursue rigorous interdisciplinary study along with independent, scholarly reading and research. The degree is designed to cultivate interdisciplinary skills, intellectual habits, analytical and critical reasoning, effective writing, and broad-based decision making. The DLA is primarily for working professionals who have already earned a master’s degree and who seek further intellectual enrichment while pursuing advanced graduate study on an evening, part-time basis. This degree neither constitutes a professional credential nor provides training for an academic career.
To earn the Doctor of Liberal Arts degree at Washington University, a student must complete 45 credit hours after earning a relevant master’s degree, pass a written and oral comprehensive examination, and write and defend a thesis. Program highlights:
- 36 units of graduate coursework and 9 units of thesis research and writing.
- Coursework includes two required DLA seminars, five concentration courses, and five elective courses.*
- Students choose among four interdisciplinary concentrations to focus their studies: Textual Traditions, Historical Context, Visual Culture, or Global Perspectives.
- The DLA thesis emphasizes original interpretation and synthesis.
- A faculty advisor, appointed to each student early in the program, works closely with the student at all stages of the thesis.
- Part-time students complete all DLA coursework within four to five years, followed by comprehensive exams, and an additional two years to complete the thesis.
- A comprehensive exam that tests the student's ability to synthesize the knowledge he/she has gained in individual DLA courses. For more information, please view the comprehensive exam information sheet (PDF).
*The DLA Proseminars (U96 605 DLA Interdisciplinary Proseminar, U96 620 DLA Counterpoints and Flashpoints) are gateway courses to the DLA Program, providing training in analytic thinking and writing through critical examination, discussion, research, and progressive writing on interdisciplinary topics such as historical narrative, text and image, the life of the mind, the creative impulse, the good life, and other major themes that have guided scholarly investigation and research in many fields. In the Proseminars students will analyze works from at least four disciplines (e.g. literature, art history, film, history, philosophy, women and gender studies, religion, political science, anthropology, history of science) and write a progressive research paper, submitted and reviewed incrementally, that demonstrates comparative, analytic, and critical thinking. The topics of the Proseminars will vary by semester.
Candidates for the Doctor of Liberal Arts program must already hold a master’s degree in a relevant subject from an accredited institution of higher learning. Candidates must have an exceptionally strong undergraduate and graduate academic record, and they must demonstrate superior writing and, preferably, research skills.
Normally, the minimum undergraduate and graduate GPA will be 3.7.
The DLA application (PDF) carries an April 1 deadline for fall admission and an October 15 deadline for spring admission, and requires:
- three letters of recommendation
- a personal statement
- an academic writing sample
- a current resume
- official copies of all undergraduate and graduate transcripts
- a non-refundable $35 application fee
- A personal interview with University College staff is recommended, and an interview may be requested by the Program Coordinator or Director of Admissions.
Candidates will be selected by faculty members of the DLA Faculty Steering Committee and recommended to the dean of the graduate school for approval. A maximum of 6 units of graduate credit may be transferred to the DLA.
DLA Faculty Steering Committee
Harriet Stone, Chair, DLA Faculty Steering Committee; Director, Master of Liberal Arts (MLA); Chair, Department of Romance Languages and Literatures; Professor of French and Comparative Literature
Randall Calvert, Director, American Culture Studies; Professor of American Culture Studies; Thomas F. Eagleton University Professor of Public Affairs and Political Science
Marvin Marcus, Director, International Affairs; Associate Professor, Asian and Near Eastern Languages and Literatures
Henry Schvey, Professor of Drama and Comparative Literature
Andrew Sobel, Associate Professor of Political Science; Fellow in the Center in Political Economy
For more information on the Doctor of Liberal Arts, please contact Elizabeth Fogt, Director of Advising and Student Services, University College, email@example.com, (314) 935-6778.