Graduate Liberal Studies

Graduate Liberal Studies

Graduate liberal studies education allows each student the intellectual and personal freedom to chart his or her own self-directed course to a master’s degree, advanced certificate, and/or doctoral degree without the typical constraints or requirements of a traditional graduate program. Students are encouraged to cultivate their own passions with the opportunity to personally distinguish themselves personally and professionally to make greater contributions to society.

SMU offers three graduate programs:

Master of Liberal Studies (M.L.S.) – Designed to offer freedom and flexibility to students in planning a course of master’s level study. Its coursework encourages critical and imaginative thinking on intellectual, social, political, historical, literary and artistic issues within a broad humanistic perspective. The M.L.S. program requires 36 credit hours of graduate study to be completed in six years. Students can pursue an optional concentration by taking 18 hours in a specific curricular field.

Doctor of Liberal Studies (D.L.S.) – Designed for the experienced adult learner who has earned a master’s degree. These intellectually serious adult students who, by focusing on their own advanced personal and professional growth, will make high-level contributions to their workplace, society and the world. Their productivity also enhances the university’s outreach and engagement. Under the guidance of senior faculty, DLS students engage in focused scholarly reading and research on an interdisciplinary topic or issue, culminating in a doctoral thesis that demonstrates interdisciplinary analysis, synthesis, and interpretation. The D.L.S. program requires 36 credit hours of traditional graduate coursework to include engaged learning components, and 9 credits of doctoral thesis research and writing after earning a relevant master’s degree and passing a written and  oral comprehensive exam.

Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study (C.A.G.S.) – Provides students the opportunity to pursue advanced graduate studies in the liberal arts in a focused and disciplined manner. The certificate program encourages in-depth study of a core topic while drawing upon various disciplines to provide a broad understanding of the subject. The C.A.G.S. program is an 18-hour course of study beyond the master’s degree.


Highlights of the Graduate Liberal Studies Experience

Self-designed, interdisciplinary curriculum

The Human Experience. Wit and Humor in African American Literature.
The Struggle for Human Rights. Creating Poetry. Consuming News in the Digital Age.
Religion and Politics in 20th Century India. The Art of Renaissance Italy.

Provocative courses like these and many more carry a cachet unique to the SMU Graduate Liberal Studies program. Few teaching institutions offer the depth and breadth of study, and the variety of educational avenues available to pursue.

The curriculum includes courses in the behavioral sciences, fine arts, humanities, science and culture, and social sciences. Students can concentrate in a multitude of areas: humanities, human rights and social justice; the arts and cultural traditions; global studies; gender studies; American studies; creative writing; organizational dynamics; environmental sustainability; and communication, media and technology. To explore our extended course offerings, click here.

Passionate and diverse adult learning community

From all walks of life and educational pursuits, from all manner of ethnic, cultural and educational backgrounds, inquisitive students of all ages come to the SMU Graduate Liberal Studies program with educational goals as diverse as their backgrounds. This program offers degrees and certificates on a part- or full-time basis in the evenings.

Distinguished interdisciplinary faculty

The distinguished interdisciplinary faculty represents the best of the best. From honored poets to internationally acclaimed human rights scholars, more than 40 professors bring a wealth of knowledge to their classrooms that radiate their love of teaching and passions for their areas of expertise.

Ready to learn more? Explore the program that is best for you:

Master of Liberal Studies (M.L.S.)

Doctor of Liberal Studies (D.L.S.)

Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study (C.A.G.S.)