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  • Master of Liberal Arts
  • Graduate Studies

  • Fall 2011 Graduate Catalog
    Graduate Level - Master of Liberal Arts (MLA) (31 Credits)
    Department: Dean:Graduate Student

    Core Requirements (4 Credits)
    • Minimum of 31credits, including a 4-credit thesis. Up to 15 of the credits may be other graduate courses. Note: 15 credits may be in graduate courses from other MSUM graduate programs or from other Minnesota State Universities or from Tri-College courses. A maximum of 12 credits may be in graduate courses from other accredited institutions and these courses must have a Liberal Arts orientation. These maximums cannot be combined. A student may not transfer in 12 credits from other accredited institutions AND 15 credits from other MSUM, MnSCU, or Tri-College courses. After admission, any credits applied from graduate courses outside the MSUM MLA Program require approval by the MLA Program Coordinator.
    • Students who wish to transfer credits from other institutions or who have taken courses before admission to the graduate program should refer to the “Residence and Transfer of Credit” section for further information. Any courses completed at this or at other institutions more than five years previous to admission will be individually reviewed.
    • 3.0 grade point average required for courses submitted for the degree, including an average of at least 3.0 in MLA courses.
    • All MLA students must complete a 4-credit thesis under the supervision of a thesis committee. This thesis must be judged satisfactory by the student's committee.
    • All MLA students must pass an oral examination, conducted by their thesis committee, on their thesis.

    MLA 699 (4 credits) is a written project to be undertaken near the completion of course work in the program. It consists of a research paper or essay for the purpose of exploring ideas or issues congruent with the objectives of the MLA program. The paper shall have an interdisciplinary perspective, incorporating two or more academic disciplines. Students, in some cases, may propose a creative project, which would be accompanied by an explanatory essay discussing the goals, interdisciplinary aspects, and results of the undertaking. The thesis becomes the basis of an oral examination of the student by his/her thesis committee.

    Liberal Arts courses are intended for persons enrolled in the Master of Liberal Arts program. Others may register with permission of the instructor.

    MLA course offerings are flexible and are geared to student and faculty interests, and many particular offerings are done under MLA 690: Special Topics.

    As part of the MLA program assessment measures, students admitted after June 2004 will be asked to assemble four papers they produced during the course of their program, to be submitted to the MLA Graduate Coordinator at least three weeks prior to graduation. Portfolios are used for program assessment purposes only and will not be used for grading. A detailed description is available from the MLA Graduate Coordinator and on the MLA homepage (

    MLA 699 Thesis (Plan A) (1-4)

    Restricted Electives (12 Credits)
    Students must take 12 credits from the MLA curriculum.

    Restricted Electives (12 Credits)
    Students must take 12 credits from the MLA curriculum.

    Electives (12 Credits)
    Students must take 12 credits in the Hispanic concentration at the 500 or 600 level.

    Electives (15 Credits)
    Students must take 15 credits in electives which may be selected from the MLA curriculum or from other graduate level courses. Any non-MLA courses will need to be chosen in close consultation with the MLA advisor.

    Hispanic Studies Emphasis (7 Credits)

    MLA 630 Masterpieces of Spanish Literature (3.00)
    MLA 699 Thesis (Plan A) (1-4)

    Program Description
    The MLA Program is a small but vital graduate program for students seeking intellectual stimulation or personal growth and development. It is a program that is designed for post-baccalaureate students who seek an interdisciplinary educational experience that emphasizes historical and cultural breadth rather than specialization. The program establishes an environment which encourages the integration of learning and life experiences and provides college graduates an opportunity to develop further the competencies essential for participation in a world of unprecedented change. The program, which is seminar-based, is open to people holding degrees in all undergraduate majors. An MLA Degree Program with a Hispanic Studies emphasis is an option available for persons who wish to pursue graduate study with this sort of focus.

    The MLA program encourages life-long learning and personal enrichment and strives to educate its students broadly in the traditional curriculum of the liberal arts, while also requiring them to pursue concentrated study in one or more disciplines. While some students may use the MLA Program for further professional preparation in their field (for example through its Hispanic Emphasis component) the Program emphasis is not primarily vocational so much as it is an effort to put MLA graduates in contact with a broader range of cultural and intellectual life and in contact with communities of knowledge, problem-solving & critical thinking skills, and stimulating forums for the discussion about revolutionary ways re-imagining their life and their world.

    Student Learning Outcomes
    The MLA Program is interdisciplinary. An informal way of understanding this is to approach a topic with the perspective that one field of knowledge may shed light on another. This means that interdisciplinary classes are designed from two disciplinary perspectives (i.e philosophy and art, or literature and psychology) that allow students to read and analyze topics and issues so that they:
    • Develop conceptual links using a perspective in one discipline to modify or inform a perspective in another discipline.
    • Recognize a new level of organization with its own processes in order to solve unsolved problems within existing disciplines or problems that lie beyond the scope of any one discipline.
    • Use research techniques developed in one discipline to elaborate a theoretical model in another.
    • Modify and extend a theoretical framework from one disciplinary domain and apply in to another.
    • Develop a new theoretical framework that may re-conceptualize research in separate domains as it attempts to integrate them.

    Admission Requirements
    • Baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited institution. No specific major is required.
    • 2.75 grade point average, or at least 3.25 for the last 30 semester credits of graded course work. Applicants presenting a lower average may be admitted with provisions.
    • Completed "Application for Admission to Graduate Study" form.
    • Official transcripts from ALL colleges and universities attended.
    • Non-refundable $20.00 fee for first-time applicants to Minnesota State University Moorhead.
    • Personal essay (between 250-300 words) describing their academic experiences and why they are interested in pursuing an MLA degree.
    • The two priority deadlines for completed applications are November 15th and April 15th.

    **Please note that the Master of Liberal Arts (MLA) program does not accept applications from international students at this time because it is a part-time program. In order to maintain visa status, international students must be full-time students (eight credits). **

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