To earn the Master of Liberal Arts degree (MLA), students must satisfactorily complete nine courses (five of which must be drawn from the core seminars) and a final independent project for a total of 30 units of graduate study. A maximum of 6 credits of related and comparable graduate-level course work may be transferred from another university or from a related graduate program at Washington University with the approval of the program director. These must be graduate-level units not used to fulfill undergraduate degree requirements. Transfer credit may be granted only for authorized courses for which the student received a grade of B or higher.
A Final Project, developed under the supervision of a Washington University faculty member, is required for the Master of Liberal Arts degree. This project presents an opportunity to explore independently and extensively an area of personal interest and must be completed at the conclusion of a student's course work. The project also provides an opportunity for students to work closely with a member of the MLA faculty. The topic may be a subject first identified during a course or one that has emerged over time in the program.
The M.L.A. program encourages one to explore subjects that would be off the beaten track from a more focused M.A. That is the beauty of the program--one can experiment and explore.
- Evy Warshawski, Managing Director, Edison Theatre, Washington University
The Master of Liberal Arts program consists of seminars that introduce students to the methods and questions of different disciplines.
Planned and taught by full-time Washington University faculty, the core interdisciplinary seminars are organized into four general categories and cover a wide variety of topics and issues. Actual topics vary each semester.
Most core seminars are held one evening a week during the fall and spring semesters and twice a week during the summer term.
Some students take all 30 hours of the degree in the seminars that are designed specifically for the MLA program; others augment a particular interest by taking related courses drawn from different departments.
Once-a-week seminars fall into four general categories:
IDEAS AND INQUIRY
How do we know what we know? What ideas have shaped human consciousness? How do ideas and myths define our theories, models, and metaphors? The Legacy of Greece - Critical Passages - The American Dream: Myth and Reality - Religion, Society, and Culture - Metamorphoses: Ancient Myth and Modern Drama - Questions of the Soul in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam
THE CREATIVE IMAGINATION
What are the nature and sources of creativity, especially in the arts and literature? What does creativity mean to the artist, scientist, writer, or composer? What qualities of mind, personality, and environment affect creation and innovation? On the Nature of Story - Theater and the Politics of War - Film and Psychoanalysis - Optimal Plans - Seeing Double - Eros Unveiled: Sexuality in Western Culture - Literature of Catastrophe - Visions and Revisions: 19th-Century Arts and Society
SCIENCE AND HUMAN VALUES
How has the growth and application of human knowledge affected human society? What is the non-scientist to believe as new discoveries are announced daily? What new ethical choices are posed by developments in science and technology? On Account of Illness: Stories on Affliction and Recovery - You Are What You Eat: Animal Rights and Hunting - How the Earth Works
What have been the enduring values of the Western and non-Western cultures? How can we cultivate in ourselves empathy and understanding for people in other times and places? The Spanish Civil War - Islamic Movements of Reform, Revival, and Revolution - Jewish, Muslim, and Christian Scriptures: The Formation of Community - Crow on the Withered Branch: The World(s) of Japanese Poetry - Focus on Cuba