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Master of Liberal Arts

Graduate Program DirectorClara Paulino, 803/323-4572

Visit the Master of Liberal Arts home page for more information

The Master of Liberal Arts Program provides learners with the unique ability to pursue a highly customized interdisciplinary graduate degree program, developed according to their own interests, while building broad analytical and problem solving skills that reach across the boundaries of academic disciplines and beyond the structured format of traditional graduate degree programs. The program is designed for mature learners who seek intellectual stimulation within a broad framework of studies, mid-career adults who wish to expand and enhance their knowledge and skills, and recent university graduates who desire an innovative curriculum for building and deepening their reading, writing, and communicative abilities. The MLA degree is based on “The Search for Order,” a theme that explores rational, intuitive, and empirical ways of knowing and learning. This approach, central to graduate liberal education across the country, is evident through the program at Winthrop.

The Master of Liberal Arts program has been a full member of the Association of Graduate Liberal Studies Programs (AGLSP) since 1995.

Admission Requirements

Admission to the program requires a baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution, an essay and an interview with the program director. Potential applicants should first contact the program director at 803/323-4572 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 consist of the following: 

  1. A completed application for graduate admission 
  2. Official transcripts for a completed bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution and for all graduate work 
  3. A 5-6 page double-spaced essay explaining interests in the MLA program based on individual intellectual history and interests

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.

The application materials are reviewed by the MLA admissions committee which makes recommendation to the MLA program director. When an applicant is approved by the committee, the director arranges for a personal interview with the candidate. A final decision regarding admission is reached after the interview. 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 write to G14 Bancroft Hall, Winthrop University, Rock Hill, SC 29733.

Program Requirements

The Master of Liberal Arts degree requires completion of 33 semester hours of approved graduate level courses as indicated below, at least half of which must be 600-level courses. Twelve hours are in four courses designed for the program. Three of these courses are interdisciplinary colloquia developed on the “Search for Order” theme. The fourth required course, to be taken at the end of the program, is an individual project on a topic of interest to the student. The remaining seven courses (21 hours) are elective graduate courses in liberal arts and science disciplines selected by the student upon consultation with the director.

Requirement (Semester Hours)

LART 601 The Search for Order: The Empirical Eye (3)
LART 602 The Search for Order: The Rational Eye (3)
LART 603 The Search for Order: The Intuitive Eye (3)
LART 604 Capstone Colloquium (3)
500-600 level electives (21)

Total Semester Hours   33 

Read more about the Master of Liberal Arts (pdf- 413 kb).


Graduate School
211 Tillman Hall
Rock Hill, SC 29733, USA
800/411-7041 (toll free)
803/323-2292 (Fax)

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