Master of Liberal Arts

Admissions Procedures

Potential applicants should first contact the program director at 803/323-3016 to discuss their interest prior to the application process. Program admission requires a baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution, an additional essay (see below), and an interview with the program director (in some circumstances an inquiry and interview may precede the actual application process).

Applications should be submitted to the Graduate School office. Complete applications are strongly suggested to be sent by June 15 for Fall admission and October 15 for Spring admission and should consist of the following:

  • A completed application for graduate admission 
  • Official transcripts for a completed bachelor's degree from an accredited institution and for all graduate work
  • A five page double-spaced essay explaining interests in the MLA program based on individual intellectual history and interests
  • Letters of recommendation (either academic or professional) are strongly encouraged

The essay should specifically focus on the academic and intellectual "fit" between the applicant and the program. This should include a description of the applicant's intellectual interests, academic background, academic goals, reading habits, plans for personal development, and ultimate "outcomes" that the program might provide. The essay is an intellectual self-evaluation in which the applicant explains why the MLA program is the right thing for the applicant's personal growth at this time. The "fit" between the applicant and the program should also be explained in terms of what the applicant can bring to the program. Here, the applicant should focus on insights and perspectives that might grow out of formal education, lifetime reading habits, professional and career experiences, cultural awareness (including travel, contact with other cultures, and knowledge of other languages), hobbies, non-academic interests, and any other relevant personal experiences.

These materials are reviewed by the MLA admissions committee which makes its recommendation to the MLA program director. When an applicant is approved by the committee, the director arranges for a personal interview with the candidate (in some instances an interview may precede the actual application process). A final decision regarding admission is reached after the interview is conducted and the completed application packet is reviewed. The Graduate Record Exam (GRE) is not required at the present time for admission. For more information and application materials, call the MLA office at 803/323-4572 or apply online.