Master of Liberal Studies


Accepting Applications Now for Summer and Fall 2015.  Try up to two courses in our Master of Liberal Studies program that can be applied towards a future master's degree.  Apply now for this Non-Degree program - application information is detailed below.

Do you already have a master's degree? Apply for our Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study for focus in your chosen curricular of study.

Program Overview

Southern Methodist University's Master of Liberal Studies program (MLS) is a graduate program available to students on a part-time or full-time basis. Courses are held in the evening beginning at 6:30 p.m. with some courses available on Saturday mornings. The Master of Liberal Studies program accepts and reviews applications throughout the year on a rolling basis for Summer, Fall and Spring semesters. All applications must be received by May 1st for Summer admission, January 1, 2015 for Spring admission and July 1 for Fall admission. If you have missed one of our deadlines but are still interested in applying, call our office at: 214-768-1016 for information about a possible extension.

Criteria for Admission

SMU strives to enroll motivated and enthusiastic students prepared and interested in rigorous graduate education. All applicants must have a bachelor's degree (or equivalent) from an accredited college or university.

How to Apply for Degree-Seeking MLS Program

To apply for admission to the Master of Liberal Studies program please submit the following for consideration:

  • Application (click to download form)
  • Official "sealed" transcripts from all the colleges and universities you attended.
  • Two letters of recommendation:
    • Academic (if possible)
    • Professional (supervisor or administrator) - two professional recommendations may be submitted if an academic reference is unavailable.
  • A personal interview is required.
  • Two Essays: 
    (1) Using a book of your choice, write an essay (about 3-5 pages type written, double-spaced) in which you could describe the author's central argument, proposal, or theme. Please be sure to describe how this is developed in the book as well as any conclusions you may have reached.
    (2) Write a short essay (about 3 pages type written, and double-spaced) in which you describe what you have been doing since you were last a full-time student. Please be sure to describe two personal or professional achievements in your life and explain why you wish to pursue a degree in liberal studies.
  • A resume is recommended.
  • Fee: $75 (checks or money orders may be made payable to Southern Methodist University). Credit card payments cannot be accepted.
  • The GRE (Graduate Record Examination) is not required, but applicants are welcome to submit their scores if they feel the scores would add to the strength of their application.
  • English Proficiency Requirements: If English is not your native language you must take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). SMU requires a minimum TOEFL score of 550 (80 computer test) or an IELTS test of 6.5 or higher.

How to Apply for Non-Degree MLS Program

The SMU MLS program offers to help students explore graduate interdisciplinary study with a non-degree option. This could be a great way to discern whether the MLS program is the right graduate program for you!

The application for non-degree study is intended to be easy to complete. Admissions standards for non-degree study are the same as admission to the degree program. Non-degree students may take up to 6 credits of coursework with good achievement apply these credits to a future degree program.

If you are interested in taking a course or two in the MLS program as a non-degree student, please download the following form: Non-Degree Application

Submitting Your Application: Individual application materials may arrive under separate cover. Please submit the completed application and mail it via postal mail to the following address: 

Southern Methodist University
Master of Liberal Studies
P.O. Box 750253
Dallas, TX 75275-0253

You may also submit your application by scanning it and emailing it to


Spring/Summer 2015: $568 per credit hour or $1704 for a 3 credit course.
Fall 2015: $596 per credit hour or $1787 for a 3 credit course.

There are no additional student fees associated with this program aside from a parking permit and books which the student is responsible for purchasing.