Students who wish to lend more structure to their MALS experience can elect to complete a specialization. A specialization may be especially beneficial to educators, students who are thinking of going on to a PhD program, or anyone who wants to focus their liberal studies more precisely. Students complete four thematically linked courses for a specialization.

Please see the academic catalog for additional information regarding the curriculum. Current students should refer to curriculum requirements in place at time of entry into the program.

American Studies

Students enrolled in the American Studies specialization pursue an interdisciplinary course of study allowing intensive examination of the culture, society, political system and other aspects of the United States. Students may engage in comparative study of history, literature, visual media, or other materials produced by and helping to constitute American culture.

Chicago Studies

Students enrolled in the Chicago Studies specialization will take an interdisciplinary approach to the study of Chicago, choosing from courses on its history, literature, culture or social characteristics. The emphasis will be not only on Chicago’s particular traits, but on this city’s place in a national and indeed global universe of great cities.

Digital Studies

Digital Studies is a diverse and growing interdisciplinary field in which humanistic inquiry is enhanced and redefined by the possibilities of digital tools for the researching, analysis, publishing, distribution, and consumption of scholarly work. The Digital Humanities specialization will enable students to pursue research topics of personal interest in literature, history, and visual culture using a variety of digital resources and analytical methods in the context of the most current theoretical discussions about the digital in the humanities.


Students enrolled in the History specialization pursue a course of study focusing on the analysis of historical developments, events and interpretations. Students will deepen their understanding of current scholarship on the past, as well as of the fundamental problems of historical evidence and explanation. 

Religious and Ethical Studies

Students enrolled in the Religious and Ethical Studies specialization pursue a broadly interdisciplinary course of study focusing on the comparative analysis of belief. Students will expand their knowledge of both religious and ethical systems and of the lived experience of religion. The relationships between faith, morality and social context will also be considered.

Interdisciplinary Studies

Students enrolled in the Interdisciplinary Studies specialization may create their own course of study from available courses in consultation with their Student Adviser.

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