College Catalog: 2010-2011
Master of Arts in Liberal Studies (MALS)
The Master of Arts in Liberal Studies is an innovative approach to graduate education whose purpose is as old as the idea of the university itself. As Socrates suggested over two thousand years ago, we need more than specialized learning or mastery of a particular skill to function well in our world. In 1953, the first Graduate Liberal Studies program was established at Wesleyan University, followed soon after by others at Johns Hopkins, Georgetown, Harvard and dozens of other universities. The concept caught on rapidly, and there are now almost 200 such programs throughout the country. Unlike traditional masters’ programs, which focus on developing skill in one specific discipline, Graduate Liberal Studies emphasizes the interrelated nature of knowledge and brings the expertise of different disciplines to bear on the issues it examines.
The Ramapo Program
This program uses the interdisciplinary, multicultural and international perspectives that Ramapo first developed in its undergraduate programs to explore issues that shaped and continue to influence the modern world. Ramapo’s program is unique in focusing upon the contact between western and non-western peoples in the past and the present. It explores how society at different times has been viewed by groups who are outside the mainstream, and investigates the perceptions of peoples from different cultures. Students study these issues in four core courses, followed by four electives which build upon themes introduced in the core, culminating in one of three seminar options.
The breadth and nature of the program have particular relevance to mature students who want to be able to make better sense of the times in which they live and who function in increasingly multicultural settings. Teachers will find it valuable, as will others whose work places them in contact with co-workers or clients from diverse ethnic backgrounds.