Liberal Studies M.A. Program

Effective: Fall 2020

The M.A. in Liberal Studies Program is an interdisciplinary 36-credit degree program that allows students to design and pursue an individual course of study among several different departments at Lehman College. Students take a 12-credit core of Liberal Studies courses and 18 credits of graduate electives from various departments. The final requirement is to write a 6-credit master's thesis under the supervision of a faculty member, with the option of substituting a 3-credit capstone project and an additional elective.

Admission Requirements

  • A bachelor's degree with at least a 3.0 grade point average or its foreign equivalent from an accredited college or university. In exceptional cases student with a cumulative undergraduate grade-point average below 3.0 may apply by special petition.

  • Submission of an autobiographical letter.

  • Two letters of recommendation.

  • Submission of a tentative course list related to the area intended to be pursued as a concentration.

Degree Requirements

Curriculum (36 credits)

Core courses (12 credits):

MLS 701Introduction to the Liberal Arts


MLS 702The Arts and Humanities


MLS 703The Social Sciences


MLS 704The Natural Sciences


Electives to be chosen by students and adviser (18 credits):

Students may select any graduate courses in the Liberal Arts offered by Lehman College (consult the list of departments below), or enroll in an independent study (MLS 795) with a supervisor approved by the Program adviser.

Thesis (6 credits):

MLS 797 Master's Thesis Preparation (6 credits). 

A written thesis proposal must be approved by the Faculty Advisory Committee, assuming prior approval by the student's first and second readers, by the time the student has completed 20 credits and is about to begin serious research or study related to the master's thesis.


Core courses (12 credits):

MLS 701 Introduction to Liberal Studies

MLS 702 The Arts and Humanities

MLS 703 The Social Sciences

MLS 704 The Natural Sciences

Electives to be chosen by students and adviser (21 credits):

Students may select any graduate courses in the Liberal Arts offered by Lehman College (consult the list of departments below), or enroll in an independent study (MLS 795) with a supervisor approved by the Program adviser.

Capstone (3 credits):

Students who plan to do a capstone project first must successfully complete 33 credits of course work with a 3.0 average. They then must meet with two approved readers to frame an interdisciplinary capstone project (MLS 796), to be completed under the direction of an adviser from the program.

Comprehensive Examination. Upon completion of all course work and submission of thesis or capstone project, all students must successfully pass a one-hour oral defense with their thesis/capstone committee. The chair of this committee and primary reader/adviser of the thesis/capstone is a faculty member in the field addressed by the thesis/capstone; the second reader of the thesis/capstone will usually be a program faculty adviser, but not necessarily in all cases.

Transfer credits. With appropriate permission, matriculated graduate students may apply to transfer up to 12 credits of graduate courses that have been earned within the last five years. A maximum of six credits can be transferred from courses applied toward a previously awarded master's degree.

Credit for Life Experience. With appropriate permission, matriculated graduate students who have not earned any other life-experience credits within the last five years may earn up to 6 credits (to be treated as transfer credits) for Prior Learning Assessment. PLA is based on the student's ability to demonstrate learning that has taken place through volunteer activities or employment services. This knowledge must fall within one or more of the academic disciplines of the college. PLA rewards students for the time and advancement they have achieved in alternative learning settings. PLA must be in an appropriate field and is approved by the Program director. Students interested in PLA may register for a non-credit Portfolio Development workshop offered by the Office of Continuing Education.

Curriculum. The liberal studies program offers students the opportunity to design a course of study reflecting specific interest in a particular area of concentration. Students may take graduate courses as part of an individualized course of study, designed by the students themselves in consultation with a faculty committee, and suited to their own interests and professional needs. In some area of concentration, students should be prepared to meet basic foreign language requirements where appropriate. 

Students may choose any graduate course offered by the following departments: 

  • Africana Studies

  • Anthropology

  • Art

  • Biological Sciences

  • Chemistry

  • Computer Science

  • Early Childhood and Childhood Education

  • Earth, Environmental, and Geospatial Sciences

  • English

  • Health Sciences

  • History

  • Languages and Literatures

  • Latin American and Latino Studies

  • Mathematics

  • Middle and High School Education

  • Music, Multimedia, Theatre, and Dance

  • Philosophy

  • Physics and Astronomy

  • Political Science

  • Sociology

Advisement. Upon admission, each student is assigned a faculty adviser with special knowledge of the student's anticipated area of concentration. In consultation with his or her faculty adviser, a student develops a coherent course of study that must provide a balanced, interdisciplinary selection of courses in the spirit of the Liberal Studies Program. When a student is ready to choose a particular area of special research interest, he or she is assigned to an appropriate adviser with a particular interest in or special knowledge of the subject in question. Students who lack sufficient prerequisites for the particular area of study in which they choose to concentrate (e.g., the foreign languages required for focused historical or geopolitical study) are advised to add appropriate undergraduate courses to their graduate course-load.

Time Limit. Degree candidates must complete all requirements for the degree within a period of five years following matriculation.

Liberal Studies MA Prior to Fall 2020