The MALS Admission Process in addition to the application form, the application fee, and official transcripts, requires the completion of a two-part admission essay describing the prospective student’s desire to pursue graduate education and the ideas, books and people which have influenced the prospective student’s thinking and goals.
Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores are not required for MALS application.
For students who have taken an undergraduate degree within the past five years, a minimum GPA of 2.75 is required, although promising students with lower GPAs may be admitted conditionally.
The IDS admission process, in addition to the application form, the application fee, official transcripts, and letters of recommendation requires a Statement of Academic Purpose and a proposed List of Courses. Qualified candidates may be required to have an interview with the program director. However, Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores are not required for IDS application.
An undergraduate GPA of 3.0 is the minimum for admission, although promising students with lower GPAs may be admitted conditionally.
MALS students have the freedom to develop their focus as they go. IDS students have the flexibility to change course selection throughout their program; however the basic goals and focus of the program are created at the beginning.
MALS students are easily able to meet each other and create a community in the MALS core classes before they go on to take elective courses. IDS students must work a bit harder to meet other IDS students due to the diverse nature of their curriculum.
While all graduate students are eligible for loans and any outside scholarships, MALS students are eligible for some internal tuition assistance.
Combining MALS and IDS
Even though MALS is basically oriented toward the liberal arts, it is possible for MALS students to take courses for professional enhancement. They are permitted to take up to three courses in professional areas, including business, computer science, public service, education etc.
It is possible for IDS students to enroll in MALS courses. In fact IDS students who have some interest in the liberal arts regularly take one or more of the MALS core courses because they provide an excellent grounding in graduate-level intellectual and research skills for humanities and social sciences.
Using a MALS or IDS Degree
For students who have pursued a MALS degree, professional goals often include teaching, writing, consulting, leadership in foundations and other non-profit settings, etc. The great breadth of cultural knowledge, communication and leadership skills developed in the MALS program has served our graduates well time and time again in career change and career enhancement. The required MALS Culminating Project also enhances a graduate's professional portfolio.
Any interdisciplinary MA graduate will have to be creative to use the degree for career change and enhancement, since the designation "MA in Interdisciplinary Studies" or "MA in Liberal Studies" is likely to be unfamiliar to prospective employers. However, employers are often less interested in the MBA degree than with the actual knowledge that the prospective employee brings. On a resume, for example, an interdisciplinary graduate may list "MA in Interdisciplinary Studies, with a concentration in computer science and public service," and stress these areas of expertise when meeting a prospective employer. It is also helpful to create a final project or thesis that shows how the various areas of expertise have been combined. This is especially effective when looking to move into a new area, but is also helpful for advancing in a current field.