The Master of Liberal Arts degree offers people of all ages the opportunity to pursue interdisciplinary studies at a graduate university level. The theme of the program is “The search for order.” Through three complimentary core courses and elective courses chosen in consultation with the program director, students engage in both deep and wide-ranging explorations of the arts and sciences.Two broad goals infuse the program. The first is to introduce all students to the challenges of critical thinking, deep reading, and effective communication in English. Course readings and assignments—especially as found in the core curriculum—are reading and writing intensive. Engaging in the “heavy lifting” of careful writing, close editing, and responding to critical feedback build skills and confidence in written expression. Written critiques and in-class discussion of content, themes, and significance motivates the learner to read carefully and critically. The interplay of reading, writing, and discussion clarifies the key questions and challenges within The Search for Order, and then motivates each student to both formulate and defend positions on how those questions are to be addressed.These skills enable the learner to travel across a varied and enticing intellectual terrain. No writer or thinker is “out of bounds.” No reading too controversial. Professors in the program seek to enhance a natural curiosity in all knowledge and to make connections across disciplines and fields. The value and the joy of interdisciplinary study comes when those connections are made. And that develops, preserves, and extends a classical and truly liberal education—one that provides the framework and inspiration for a life of informed thought, open-mindedness, and active engagement.
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