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Master of Liberal Studies

Contact Information
The Program Director,
Richard M. Berrong,
is best reached by e-mail
The Program has no phone number.

Program Information

Design your own Interdisciplinary Masters degree, using courses online or in the classroom, with the Masters of Liberal Studies at Kent State University, your chance to create a masters program tailored to your specific interests and needs.

Kent State University is one of 6 institutions in Ohio to offer the Master of Liberal Studies (MLS) degree, but the only one that allows you to take courses from any college or school in the university. It also has the fewest required courses: only ONE required course, AS 61000 Introduction to Liberal Studies, about which more below.  The KSU Master's Degree in Liberal Studies therefore provides you with a unique opportunity to study at the graduate level in fields that are of interest and use to you. KSU Master of Liberal Studies students, under the guidance of the Program Director, select courses from across the university to form their own individualized and  integrated course of study. 

Students may start the program in the fall, spring, or summer. Applications are considered throughout the regular academic year. However, because of budget cuts occasioned by the current Recession, applications can no longer be considered over the summer. Students interested in starting in the fall therefore need to make sure all their application materials have reached Graduate Studies before the end of the previous spring semester. For information on how to apply, click on the Application Procedures link at the top of the grey frame on the left of this page.

For those in Northeast Ohio, the University also provides many cultural and research opportunities that advance learning and distinguish academic life at Kent.

Additional information may be obtained by e-mail from the Director of the Liberal Studies program. See Contact Information above.

Program Requirements  

In developing their program of study, Liberal Studies students should keep the following points in mind: 

  • The degree consists of a minimum of 29 hours of coursework (30 for those starting as of Fall 2012), which is usually 10 courses, plus the writing of a capstone Essay, for which the student receives 3 credit hours under the rubric AS 61098 Liberal Studies Essay.
  • There must be a minimum of 16 hours at the 60000-level. Those 16 hours include the one required course, Introduction to Liberal Studies (AS 61000, 2 hours, offered online each fall), the capstone  Essay (AS 61098, 3 hours), and at least 11 additional hours, usually 4 courses.
  • There must be at least 12 hours in a single discipline (the major discipline).
  • There must be at least 12 hours divided among two or three additional disciplines (the minor disciplines).
  • There must be at least 12 hours from the College of Arts & Sciences in addition to  AS 61000 and AS 61098. At Kent State the College of Arts and Sciences includes the departments of Anthropology, Biological Sciences, Chemistry and Biochemistry, Computer Science, English, Geography, Geology, History, Math, Foreign Languages, Philosophy, Physics, Political Science, Psychology, and Sociology. Arts and Sciences courses are not just courses listed in the Schedule of Classes under Arts and Sciences with the AS prefix, therefore.
  •  The program of study must emphasize interdisciplinary perspectives to learning and be integrated.
  • All students are required to complete the online course, Introduction to Liberal Studies (AS 61000), successfully within the first twelve months after they are admitted.  They write their Liberal Studies Essay (AS 61098) as a capstone undertaking near the end of their program.

Please be aware that some graduate courses may require appropriate prerequisite study.  Also, not all courses are offered every semester.

Required Courses: 

  • AS 61000 INTRODUCTION TO LIBERAL STUDIES (2 credit hours) taught online only, fall only. Students study a topic from an interdisciplinary perspective. Currently the topic of this course is Impressionism in Art and Literature: Monet, Zola, Loti, Kipling. To see the class website, click here.
  • Students who feel they need work in on writing a graduate-level research paper may, in the same semester they take AS 61000, take an add-on course, AS 61001 LIBERAL STUDIES RESEARCH PAPER (1 credit hour). Students who either already have the ability to write a good graduate-level research paper or will be working in fields that do not require that skill may be exempted from this requirement by the program director.
  • AS 61098 LIBERAL STUDIES ESSAY (3 credit hours) Under this rubric the student writes an Essay of approximately fifty pages on a topic related to her or his  program of study under the direction of his or her Adviser and in consultation with a Reader. This is done near the end of the student's time in the program. You can find examples of Essays students have written by clicking on Examples of MLS Programs and Capstone Essays in the left frame of this page .

Finding Online Courses

KSU offers a wide variety of graduate courses online, which is helpful for those who cannot get to Kent regularly. Getting a list of all the online graduate courses in a given semester isn't a one-click procedure yet, unfortunately, but you can do it by following these few steps:

1. Go to the University Registrar's page by clicking on this link:
2. Scroll down until you see Schedule of Classes in blue in the grey column on the left. It's the third item from the bottom. Click on that.
3. That will take you to the Schedule of Classes page. In the window under Search by Term, choose the semester in which you are interested. You are usually able to look at the present semester and the ones immediately before and after it.
4. Then click on the gray Submit button beneath that.
5. In the Schedule of Classes (Viewable Only) window that appears next, click on Detailed Class Search or Summary Class Search as you prefer. Summary Class Search will be easier to work with.
6. In the Schedule of Classes - Summary Class Search window that opens next, do all of the following one step at a time:
     a. In the box to the right of Subject: 
          highlight Accounting 
          then, using the little gray box on the right, scroll down to Women's Studies 
then hold down the Shift key on your keyboard and click on Women's Studies. That will highlight all the programs in the university.
     b. Then, five boxes down, to the right of Course Level:, click on Graduate
     c. Then, at the bottom left of the page, click on the gray Class Search button.

This will give you a list of all the online courses offered that semester.

     If you are only interested in seeing what online courses are offered in a certain department, just choose that department, rather than highlighting all of them.
     If you are interested in seeing what online courses are offered in several departments, hold down the Control key and then scroll down through the list of departments, clicking on those that interest you.


See and hear some of our recent graduates, below, on the opportunities the program provided for them.