Master of Arts in Liberal Studies

Earn your degree in just nine months

Beginning fall 2025, MALS graduate students can earn their degree in nine months in our full-time, in-person program with courses on Northwestern's Evanston campus. MALS students will be able to select from a wide range of courses across campus taught by Northwestern's distinguished faculty. Students will follow an interdisciplinary curriculum through the humanities and social sciences, engaging with influential academic arguments and methods and developing deep expertise in their self-designed course of study.

Our practicum core course will allow students to learn how professionals use their liberal arts training in public humanities, non-profits, and cultural institutions. Elective courses will be available in disciplines such as history, literature, film, and religious studies will allow students to hone their skills in critical thinking, argumentation, and communication, while the practicum will allow them to apply those skills in the wider community.

In the final capstone course, students will work closely with Northwestern faculty to complete an original piece of written scholarship—ideal for generating writing samples for PhD applications—or a public-facing project designed in tandem with such faculty advisor.

Recent graduates considering PhD applications; professionals who miss the challenge of academic work; and adults whose work or family lives have quieted enough to allow them to revisit their passions—all of these demographics are represented among our MALS alumni.

We invite you to join us for an immersive year of intellectual exploration and discovery.  



Strengthen your analytical and communication skills

  • Prepare for the demands of professional life and for application to PhD programs by strengthening your ability to analyze, write and complete research while enriching your understanding of a broad array of social and cultural issues.
  • Benefit from opportunities to engage with others who are passionate to learn more about vitally important social and cultural issues through history, religion, philosophy, art, literature, and film.
  • Develop your fluency and eloquence in written and oral argumentation.
  • Translate academic training into real-world contexts through public-facing practicums and capstone project opportunities.
  • Discover new intellectual terrain and set your mind free to learn!
Kasey Evans

By embracing interdisciplinary approaches, the MALS program allows students to take advantage of Northwestern’s stellar faculty across disciplines while crafting their own curriculum and pursuing their intellectual passions. Our faculty, all PhDs doing cutting-edge research in their respective fields, are ideally situated to mentor students through rigorous scholarly conversations and ambitious interdisciplinary projects to help them realize their professional goals. ”

Kasey Evans, PhD, Faculty Director, MA in Liberal Studies program


Students must complete nine courses to earn the MA in Liberal Studies degree: four core courses, and five elective courses. See the curriculum page for details. 

Accelerated Program Features

  • Full-time pace that allows for completion of the program in less than one year. Each cohort begins in fall quarter and students complete their degree before summer quarter.
  • Exposure to the expertise and passion of Northwestern’s world-class faculty members.
  • Incredible variety of course offerings in a blend of day, evening, and online classes.
  • Admittance to Northwestern’s Evanston and Chicago campuses and programming across campuses.
  • Exclusive access to career, industry, and networking events as well as other benefits for Northwestern graduate students.

Meet the Faculty

The Master's in Liberal Studies faculty is comprised of dynamic and distinguished educators. Get to know the instructors on our Liberal Studies Faculty page.


Are you ready to get started?


Take the next step

Move your professional or academic career forward with a Northwestern master's degree.

Still researching? Request information from our enrollment advising team.


Interested in a part-time master's program?

We offer our MA in Literature program in a part-time format. The MA in Literature offers a flexible humanities curriculum with a wide range of course options led by outstanding Northwestern faculty.


Find out more about Northwestern's Accelerated MA in Liberal Studies

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