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Customizing your Curriculum

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One of the beauties of the Master of Arts in Liberal Studies (MALS) program is the ability to shape the curriculum to pursue your passions. Here are seven ways you can do that.

  1. Plan semesters ahead. Future semester courses are listed on the website (and we'll be working to give you even more advanced notice):  Look ahead to create a strategic path.
  2. Concurrently earn a certificate. MALS has special arrangements with three University of Delaware graduate certificate programs: Graduate Certificate in Historic Preservation, Museum Studies Certificate, and the Graduate Certificate in Community Engagement. The first two are twelve credit certificate programs and nine of the certificate credits will count as MALS electives. You only complete three credits as overload for the MALS program and you earn both your master’s degree and a graduate certificate. The Graduate Certificate in Community Engagement is a nine credit certificate and can be taken completely concurrently with MALS.
  3. Explore outside the MALS courses. Every student has the opportunity to take at least two courses (six credits) outside the program. You can take more by submitting a brief proposal to the Faculty Advisory Committee (via the director) and explaining your rationale. Please contact the director for guidance on registering.
  4. Consider a "special problems course." If a graduate course is not available in a particular subject, we can arrange a "special problems" course (aka independent study). You work one on one with a faculty member. Talk to the director to explore this option.
  5. 400-level courses are possibilities. Occasionally you will see a 400-level course that catches your eye. We can work with the instructor to find ways that you can do additional or enhanced assignments to bring the work in the class to the graduate level. See the director if you would like to use a 400-level course for MALS.
  6. Target your papers. You'll write a paper in almost every MALS class. Even if the class does not directly relate to your specific academic interests, think of ways you can chose a topic that is connected.
  7. Think about your focus early. Some people come to MALS with an idea of what they want to pursue. Some are exploring. Both are perfectly fine ways to proceed, but the earlier in the program you develop a focus, the more opportunity you have to customize your program. Talk to the director, meet with your professor, connect with a student who is further along in the program.

Tara, as the director, is your advisor until a faculty member in your area of interest is assigned. She is available at any point in your journey through the program to help you explore ideas and think through your strategy. She can also suggest other resources to help develop your focus. Contact her at or 302-831-4130.

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