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IU Northwest sees robust interest in Master of Liberal Studies program

Recently added program draws graduate students to the IU Northwest College of Arts and Sciences


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Emily Banas
Office of Marketing & Communications

Charles Sheid
Office of Marketing & Communications

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Indiana Commission for Higher Education approves Master of Liberal Studies degree at IU Northwest

College of Arts and Sciences

Less than one year after its approval by the Indiana Commission for Higher Education, the Indiana University Northwest Master of Liberal Studies program in the College of Arts and Sciences is attracting strong enrollment from graduate students interested in pursing individualized graduate studies.  

The program is open to any qualified student who holds a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution.

“This program is unique. It does not provide a rigid schedule of courses or focus on one particular specialty, but is designed for students who love to learn new ideas and collaborate and discuss with others,” said Bob Mucci, Ph.D., associate professor and the director of the MLS program

Mucci believes the current robust interest in the MLS can be attributed to the program’s flexibility.

“In the past month, we’ve had about 50 inquiries,” he said. “To date, we have accepted 38 students into the program.

“No one expected we would receive this much initial interest,” Mucci said. “Our biggest advocates and form of publicity have been students. We just recently included the program’s information on IU Northwest’s Web site.”

Course information states the MLS program is designed for students who are curious about the world – about art, literature, science, politics, human nature and history. The program will help students to understand the broader context of their ideas, paths of study, and fields of work by learning to analyze problems from a variety of perspectives.

Mucci mentioned that about 87 percent of the enrolled MLS students began classes in the Fall 2010 semester.

“Students will select a sequence of graduate-level courses to create their own path of study,” he stated. “The program provides students with an opportunity to engage their curiosity in an intellectual exploration of the world of ideas.”

The MLS requires the completion of at least 33 credit hours. Required courses include a proseminar as an introduction to graduate liberal studies and interdisciplinary methodology. Three core seminars are also required, each focusing on the study of humanities, sciences and social sciences.

“We had students ask about a science seminar and if there is a math course,” he said. “In this instance, we advised the students on enrolling in a meteorology course to learn how to forecast the weather. That course will then count as their science seminar.”

Beyond the required courses, students work with an advisor to tailor a study plan that blends their interests, talents and experiences.

“The MLS program draws on faculty with diverse expertise to explore topics through a multidisciplinary approach,” Mucci explained.

Other courses being offered this semester fall within the category of electives, with topics ranging from African American History to Poetry Writing to Politics and Society.

Mucci noted that the MLS students are an even more diverse group than the array of courses available to them.

“The program typically appeals to someone who is 10 or more years out of school who has a bachelor’s degree in a professional field like business or nursing,” Mucci said. “I just spoke with an individual who was interested in learning more about the program, and she was embarrassed to tell me she is in her early sixties. I told her not to worry, we just admitted a man who got his bachelor’s degree in 1977, and at that time he was 40.”

One of the most important things Mucci mentioned about the degree program is that its focus is not necessarily on career advancement.

“This degree was truly designed with personal advancement and growth in mind,” he said.