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Sister Diana @uc_pres   Our lives have their joys & sorrows. We can hold on to our sense of peace as long as we try to keep the presence of God in our hearts.
Liberal Studies Curriculum

The Master of Arts in Liberal Studies (MALS) is an interdisciplinary and cross-cultural program that prepares students for a lifetime of learning in their personal and professional lives. This program seeks to develop resources of intellect and imagination that prepare students to see the worlds they encounter in fresh new perspectives and to act based on new visions. Values and expressions form the organizing principle for an examination of modern American society in a global arena. In examining values we seek a deeper awareness of resulting choices, their ethical consequences and lessons about responsible ways to promote human fulfillment.

Students have two options. They may take thirty credit hours, which includes a six credit thesis project. Or they may choose a thirty-three credit program, which includes a three credit essay. Both options include two foundation courses (three credits each), eighteen elective credits for the thesis option or twenty four elective credits for the essay option, and the six credit thesis project or the three credit essay. The foundation courses provide grounding in values, critical thinking, research and interdisciplinary study. The thesis or essay option includes faculty direction that helps contribute to a final work grounded in critical thinking.  

Students may apply up to three credit hours of prior learning experience toward completion of the program. The combination of transfer credits and independent study credits applied toward the completion of the program may not exceed six hours.

We also offer a bridge program whereby undergraduate students at Ursuline College are able to earn up to six credits towards MALS.




Course of Study

The MALS curriculum offers a variety of courses structured around a 9 or 12 credit core of requirements.

Required Courses Credits
MLS 501 Introduction to Liberal Studies - 3 Credits
MLS 502 Values and Their Expressions - 3 Credits
MLS 597 The MALS Essay – 3 Credits (33-credit option)
MLS 598 Capstone Tutorial I - 3 Credits (30-credit option)
MLS 599 Capstone Tutorial II - 3 Credits (30-credit option)

The Foundations Seminars are designed to provide a grounding in values, critical thinking, research, and interdisciplinary study. The Capstone Courses provide direction while students complete a master's thesis or creative project in the semesters prior to graduation.

In addition, students select 18 credits of electives chosen from options such as:

Electives Credits

MLS 503 Cultural Literacy - 3 Credits
MLS 505 Multiculturalism and American Values - 3 Credits
MLS 506 End of Life Issues and the Catholic Church - 3 Credits
MLS 507 Men and Women Dressing the Part - 3 Credits
MLS 508 The American Cinema Since World War II - 3 Credits
MLS 509 Transcultural Health Care Issues - 3 Credits
MLS 510 U.S. Civil War: Present Day Implications - 3 Credits
MLS 512 The Drug Culture in American Society: - 3 Credits
MLS 513 The Built Environment: Outside - 3 Credits
MLS 514 The Built Environment: Inside - 3 Credits
MLS 515 Social Justice From a Christian Perspective - 3 Credits
MLS 516 Values in Italian and Italian-American Movies
of the Neorealistic and Post-Neorealistic Era:
Portrayal of Women - 3 Credits
MLS 518 Family: A Christian Social Perspective - 3 Credits
MLS 519 The Novel as Nexus for Cross Cultural Values - 3 Credits
MLS 556 Women and Leadership - 3 Credits
MLS 588 Special Topics/Readings - 1-3 Credits
MLS 589 Independent Study - 1- 3 Credits



Audit Sheet

Liberal Studies Audit Sheet (.pdf)



Course Descriptions

MLS 501 Introduction to Liberal Studies (3 Credits)
This foundational course engages students in reflecting on the meaning of knowing and the processes by which we come to knowledge. It focuses on such topics as the social construction of knowledge, epistemological lenses, disciplinary methodology and liberal studies as a field of knowledge. Further, this course challenges students to think critically about their own knowing and to value themselves as knowledgeable individuals. These interdisciplinary approaches prepare students to examine values and their expressions in society.

MLS 502 Values and Their Expressions (3 Credits)
This course examines values and their expressions in contemporary American society from interdisciplinary, historical, and cross-cultural perspectives. It introduces frameworks, based on ways of knowing, for understanding sources of values. Students will use values and their expressions as a lens to better understand behaviors and their implications for society and self through several "case studies." Values and their expressions will provide the organizing principle for course work throughout the program.

MLS 503 Cultural Literacy (3 Credits)
Cultural Literacy examines the values that underlie literacy as an intellectual, social, political, and critical phenomenon. Seeking a broad range of definitions of the term, it investigates underlying assumptions about "reading and writing" across historical periods, geopolitical borders and disciplinary boundaries. It raises questions about access and inclusion as well as content and methodology, with a goal of understanding the ethical weight of literate practices.

MLS 505 Multiculturalism and American Values (3 Credits)
Taught from a sociological perspective, themes of values and social responsibility are explored by examining the different value systems of selected American subcultures and the ways these groups understand and fulfill their responsibility to society. This seminar challenges students to imagine ways in which their education can make them more fulfilled, productive and responsible in their lives, their careers, and their world. The emphasis is on values analysis, values consciousness, values critique and values application in the student's life and in society.

MLS 506 End of Life Issues and the Catholic Church (3 Credits)
The course will examine selected moral issues commonly faced at the end of life and the values at risk. The perspective will be that of the moral tradition of Catholic teaching and practice. Tools for decision making on these important issues, based on the values of the Catholic tradition, will be learned and applied.

MLS 507 Men and Women Dressing the Part (3 Credits)
The study of the differences and similarities and the freedom to choose and to create an image of self, whether in the tangible forms of appearance or the abstract qualities of self-concept, has been a celebrated source of self-expression and a chronic source of conflict for men and women.

MLS 508 The American Cinema Since World War II (3 Credits)
This course will focus on American film from the late 1940s through the 1990s from two perspectives: historical - film as a reflection of the attitudes and values of a certain period of time; and artistic - film as a reflection of the director's vision. As the world's leading film-producing country, the United States experienced a boom in filmmaking following World War II. Audiences from all socio-economic backgrounds went to movies in record numbers. While subject matter and style vary widely, the films share the distinctly American theme of the individual struggling for identity.

MLS 509 Transcultural Health Care Issues (3 Credits)
This course will focus on health care policies, values, beliefs, and lifeways from a transcultural perspective. Health care beliefs, health behaviors and health policies will be compared and contrasted as to their ultimate effect on the health of the world. Through this course, the learner will better understand others and their health needs from a global perspective.

MLS 510 The U.S. Civil War: Present Day Implications (3 Credits)
This course draws on the previous knowledge and skills of MLS 501 and 502. In an interdisciplinary American Studies context, this course examines political, historical, economic, cultural and social aspects of the U.S. Civil War and how its values and beliefs continue to impact American thinking and society.

MLS 512 The Drug Culture in American Society: Social, Political and Health Problem Perspectives (3 Credits)
This course is an examination of the drug subculture with American society. It includes a study of society's values and beliefs toward drug use, misuse, abuse and addiction. Misguided values and beliefs create negative societal stereotypes causing health, social and political problems within American society.

MLS 513 The Built Environment: Outside (3 Credits)
This research and writing intensive course focuses on the themes of values and social responsibility as reflected in the built environment. Cities, their physical plans and individual structures - residential dwellings, public places and commercial buildings - embody the values of the society which built them. Whether serving the needs of the general population or only a select few, the location, design, construction and maintenance of a city's architecture mirror the needs, values, priorities and culture of its builders and inhabitants.

MLS 514 The Built Environment: Inside (3 Credits)
This research and writing intensive course focuses on the themes of values and social responsibility as reflected in the furnishings and objects found and used inside the built environment. Interior architecture, furniture and decorative arts, tools and other objects embody the values of the society that made and used them. These objects will be identified and analyzed for the cultural, aesthetic and social values that they reveal. Solutions to perceived problems will be offered by students.

MLS 515 Social Justice From a Christian Perspective (3 Credits)
This course introduces the student to the social teaching tradition of the Catholic Church, Christian business ethics and the principles of Christian nonviolence. It provides a critical study of papal social encyclicals, writings of American bishops and contemporary Protestant ethicists on the economy, and writings on the development of a theory and practice of Christian nonviolence. This course is cross-listed with the Masters in Ministry program.

MLS 516 Values in Italian and Italian-American Movies of the Neorealistic and Post-Neorealistic Era: Portrayal of Women (3 Credits)
This course introduces students to cinematography and cineliteracy structured around the realism-formalism dichotomy. The unifying theme is the social and political awakening of the Italian and Italian-American women as reflected in selected movies. As a category of the oppressed, the topic of the plight and liberation issues concerning women in general will stretch from literature to movies as a continuation of the role of the arts in raising consciousness.

MLS 518 Family: A Christian Social Perspective (3 Credits)
This course seeks to introduce the students to teachings of Christianity on the family. This will include an understanding of what scripture, the Christian tradition, and contemporary theology say about the family. The course also discusses the understanding of the family in the context of Christian social ethics, for example the relationship of the family to the common good. Finally, the course develops skills to critically apply the above material to discussions concerning contemporary family life and contemporary developments in family ministry. This course is cross-listed with the Masters in Ministry program.

MLS 519 The Novel as Nexus for Cross Cultural Values (3 Credits)
The novel has the virtue of communicating the concreteness of an experience of values in a way that is inaccessible in other forms of communication. It presents women and men as totally engaged in the project of discovering and creating values for themselves in the world. The "metaphysical" novel deals with the many basic issues, such as freedom, that affect us as humans in the ordinary language of lived experiences described by the author. This course analyzes metaphysical novels, each of which deals with questions of experience, particularly the experience of values. In the process, students will work at the development of criteria for the interpretation of the novels they read.

MLS 556 Women and Leadership (3 Credits)
An introduction to women's development and personal/professional values as they affect their leadership. Identification of traditional cultural expectations and biases that are often incompatible with women's worldviews, experiences and values. Deconstruction of traditional notions of leadership and the exploration of the social responsibility of a democratic leader.

MLS 588 Special Topics/Readings (3 Credits)
This special topics/readings course includes assigned readings/projects and class discussion from a values perspective. Topics vary according to student needs. Past examples have included Ethics from a Values Perspective, Missionaries in El Salvador, the Age of Transcendentalism in America and Women in Leadership.

MLS 589 Independent Study (1-3 Credits)
This is an opportunity to study in depth some area of interest within one's chosen specialization. Approval of the program director is required.

MLS 597 The MALS Essay (3 Credits)
In this course, students develop a final essay under the guidance of faculty members. The essay is based on materials from courses taken throughout the MALS Program. Students are expected to analyze, synthesis, and integrate these materials using a framework based on values and their expressions. In the process, students are expected to clarify their own values. 

MLS 598 Capstone Tutorial I (3 Credits)
This course prepares students for the culminating project that combines the student's interest with the values approach to the program. The student may choose the traditional master's thesis format or a creative expression such as a theatrical production, a film, video program, an exhibit, etc. with a thesis and written component. Students learn the research process in this course. They locate readers from the faculty and work closely with them throughout their culminating project. Students develop a research proposal and present it to interested students and faculty. Completion of the proposal presentation and approval by the readers signify completion of this course.

MLS 599 Capstone Tutorial II (3 Credits)
Students complete their culminating project under the direction of their readers. Students orally defend their project to the readers, make revisions when needed, obtain necessary signatures indicating approval of the thesis, and present the completed product, with necessary fees, to the library for binding. MALS requires one copy of the thesis for the library. The Capstone Tutorial course, final product and accompanying procedures must be completed before a student is permitted to participate in commencement ceremonies and receive the degree. Prerequisite: MLS 598

In addition to these MALS courses, the MALS program regularly cross-lists courses from other programs. These may include upper level undergraduate courses and other graduate courses.