To earn the Doctor of Liberal Arts (DLA) 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.