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Candidates for the degree must complete thirty credits.  Seven credits are required in each of the first two fall semesters.  Twelve credits are taken in elective courses.  The program requires two core seminars (taken in the first two fall semesters), three symposia, four electives, and a final research project.  Up to six graduate credits may be transferred upon admission with the approval of the Director, and elective courses may be taken in other departments with the approval of the Director.

Note that the Registrar's online degree progress reports are not accurate for MALS, because students may take some electives in other departments and institutions, or take an independent study course more than once. Before graduation the Director sends the Registrar a list of electives that are to be counted toward the degree.

Registration Permission

Permission of the Director is required to register for MALS Core I and Core II, and Symposium I, II and III. Permission is also required for non-approved electives taken in other departments (see Electives below).

Required Courses

Students must take either Core I and Symposium I or Core II and Symposium II in their first fall semester and should complete this requirement the following fall.

Symposium III

This required course is usually taken after three or four electives. It consists of a 10-20 page research paper on a topic related to one of the electives, which does not duplicate work already completed in that course. The student asks the instructor of the preferred elective to act as advisor for this project, and determines a topic with the advisor's approval. A presentation is not required. Sample proposal


Twelve credits of electives are required. Examples of the kinds of electives approved for this purpose may be found on the Courses page. Permission is not required to register for the courses on this list. However, permission of the Director is required for all other electives outside of MALS.

Research Project

Liberal Studies 780X, the final research project, is typically a thesis (fifty pages or more), but may also take the form of a documentary film or DVD, multimedia or dramatic presentation, art exhibition with commentary, etc. Abstracts of some recent projects

During the semester prior to registering for 780X consult the Graduate Handbook for Thesis Writing and Research. This describes the procedures for preparing and submitting a proposal. Arrange with a faculty member to act as your advisor, and inform the Director.

Within the first two weeks of 780X, obtain the "Application for Filing Thesis Title" form from the MALS Director. Have your advisor sign it and mail the form to the Director, who will sign and submit it to the Dean.

As you work on the project, submit drafts to your advisor, and revise until the advisor determines that it is satisfactory. Consult the "Instructions for Preparing and Filing the Master's Thesis," published by the Office of Graduate Studies and Research, for preparation of the final copies. That office further requires that this work be of "publishable quality." Work which contains errors in English or which is not scholarly will not be accepted.

Upon completion of the project, submit the following to the Program Director: (1) the "Approval of Thesis" form, signed by the advisor. This form may be obtained from the Director. (2) a word processor file of the project in Microsoft Word or WordPerfect format as an e-mail attachment. If the file is too large to submit in this way, mail it on a CD or DVD. Do not send a printed copy to the Director or to the Graduate Office at this time.

Finally, after the Director has received the signed Approval of Thesis form and has approved the thesis, send him two unbound printed copies. He will submit one copy and the Approval Form to the Graduate Dean. The other copy is kept on file in the MALS office. Approved theses are forwarded by the Dean to the Library, where they are microfilmed and kept on file in the Special Collections division.

The thesis is given the grade of SP (satisfactory progress) while it is in progress, and the grade of P (pass) when it is accepted by the College.

The Director should receive all materials before December 15 for a February graduation, and before May 1 for a June graduation.

Maintenance of Matriculation

You must be matriculated for the semester in which you graduate. If you have completed all the course requirements except the research project, this is done by paying the maintenance of matriculation fee or registering for Liberal Studies 782X.

Declaring Candidacy for Graduation

Students who anticipate graduation within the coming year should (1) Complete the "Diploma Information Form," available in the Office of the Registrar. Return the form to the Registrar by October 15 for graduation in February, and January 15 for graduation in June. (2) Notify the Director in advance that the form will be submitted. The Director will then report the approved electives to the Office of Student Records.


The City University of New York reserves the right, because of changing conditions, to make modifications of any nature in the academic programs and requirements of the university and its constituent colleges without advance notice. The City University regrets any inconvenience this may cause. Students are advised to consult regularly with college and department counselors concerning their programs of study.