FAQ

1. What is the MALS program?

The program consists of at least 33 hours of graduate study to be completed within six years. The curriculum is centered around a series of seminars, and courses that employ the disciplines of the various liberal arts in ways that enrich the students' understanding of themselves and of the world around them. The seminars are organized into three thematic categories, and cover a wide variety of subjects and issues. Seminar topics change each semester.

2. How long does it take to complete the MALS degree?

The MALS degree should be completed within six years from the first course taken. Students can finish the program in less than 6 years if they can take more than one course per semester as they progress.

3. How many credits make up the MALS degree?

33 credits are required, out of which 30 credits are non-thesis course work. Of these, up to 6 credits may be allowed in transfer credit from another university with the approval of the director or the faculty committee on admissions. At least 9 credits must be completed in Great Ideas Seminars, and at least 18 credits in interdisciplinary concentration. Students who choose the Master Thesis options are awarded 6 hours.Students who choose the Master Essay option will be awarded a maximum of 3 hours as a result, they must complete either 4 Great Ideas Seminars or a 21 credit Interdisciplinary concentration.

4. What are the Great Ideas Seminars?

The Great Ideas Seminars examine the books, theories, and the discoveries that have had the greatest impact on the sciences and on the humanities. Students will be exposed to the ideas that have shaped the disciplines, ideas whose influence, for good or for ill, extends far beyond the boundaries of any single academic discipline, and indeed far beyond the boundaries of the academy itself. Also, the Great Ideas Seminars are designed to teach the various higher level thinking and writing skills that are necessary for successful interdisciplinary research. In addition to being taught mostly by members of the Department of Philosophy, each Great Ideas Seminar will make extensive use of guest lecturers from other disciplines.

5. What courses, besides the Great Ideas Seminars, can I take?

Courses can be taken in any department that has graduate level selections AND the student has fulfilled any prerequisite the course requires. The courses can consist in at least 3 different disciplines. These courses must be unified by a theme chosen by the student in consultation with the Director, and they will depend on the interdisciplinary concentration of the student.

6. What is the Interdisciplinary Concentration?

A student's Interdisciplinary Concentration must consist of at least six courses. These courses are chosen by the student in consultation with an advisor whose approval is required. To be approved, an Interdisciplinary Concentration must have both breadth and focus: breadth insofar as the courses comprising it must span at least three distinct disciplines and focus insofar as the courses comprising it must be unified by an appropriate theme identifiable by a brief descriptive title such as "Atlantic Civilizations," "Conflict Resolution," "Ethics and the Environment," "Gender and Women's Studies," "the Human Animal," "International Development," "Legal Studies," "Minorities in America," "Technology and Society," or "War and Justice."These are just a few examples.There is no list of "approved" themes. The student is free to choose whatever theme he or she wants. The only restriction is that there be a sufficient number of graduate courses available at FIU related to that theme. A student's Interdisciplinary Concentration may include:

  • (1) up to three courses outside the College of Arts and Sciences, and
  • (2) up to two independent study courses

7. Can I transfer courses from another graduate institution?

Yes. Up to 6 credits with at least a grade of B may be allowed in transfer credit from another accredited university with the approval of the director of the graduate program. The courses transferred must be graduate courses, have a specific relation to the program chosen, have been completed at the time of admission to the program, and may not have been used toward fulfillment of requirements for another degree. The courses cannot be older than 6 years at the time of the MALS graduation.

No credit is given for "life experience" or for correspondence courses. Transfer credit must be approved by the admissions review committee or Director. Once students are admitted, they must complete their course work at FIU. A maximum of 9 credits in courses taken at FIU as a nonmatriculated student may be accepted in partial fulfillment for the degree with the approval of the admissions review committee or Director. Please bring original transcripts to the Director along with a memo indicating the equivalent FIU courses.

If a student transfers in courses already taken before acceptance into the MALS Program, the six year time line starts with the first course counted.

8. What is the Capstone Project?

  • The capstone project is the final piece of work is central in the graduate degree.
  • The required end product for all MALS students is a Master Thesis or Master's Essay.
  • After completing at least 27 credits of course work for the MALS degree, students undertake a Capstone Project. Specifically, they write a Master's Thesis or a Master's Essay on a topic related to the theme that unified their Interdisciplinary Concentration. Although the topics of the Capstone Projects are expected to be narrower than the themes that unify the Interdisciplinary Concentrations, they must not be discipline specific. Students are required to address their chosen topics from genuinely interdisciplinary perspectives and to advance an original point of view. These requirements apply both to students who choose the Essay option and to students who choose the Thesis option.

9. Do I have to do a Master's Thesis?

No. You may do either a Master's Thesis or a Master's Essay. However, A student engaged in thesis preparation must be registered for at least 1 hour of thesis credit in every semester, including summer semester, once he or she begins such preparation. If a thesis is required, the candidate must be enrolled for thesis credit during the semester in which the masters degree is awarded.

10. What is the difference between a Master's Thesis and a Master's Essay?

The main difference between these options is their length. Essays will range between 30 and 50 pages, while theses will range between 60 and 100 pages.

11. Do I have to take the GRE to be admitted to the program?

No you do not have to take the GRE to be admitted to the program. But your GPA must be at least 3.0, and you must fulfill all other admission requirements.

12. May I take courses before being accepted into the program?

  • Students seeking admission to graduate degree programs who enroll prior to completing the requirements for admission are considered to be non-degree-seeking students. Enrollment as a non-degree-seeking student does not imply a right to future admission as a regular degree-seeking student.
  • A maximum of 12 graduate level credit hours earned at FIU as a non-degree-seeking student may be counted toward a graduate degree provided they were earned within the six years preceding admission to the degree program.
  • To apply for a non-degree student status, you complete and sign a Non-Degree Seeking Student form. The form can be faxed at 305-348-2941, or submitted in person at PC 130 prior to the deadlines. For more information please go to: http:/onestop.fiu.edunon-degree-students/non-degree-seeking/index.html

13. When and where are the MALS courses taught?

Fall and spring courses are usually taught 6:25 p.m. to 9:05 p.m. one or two nights a week, at the Maidique Campus. Summer school classes are taught twice weekly starting at 6:25 p.m. Currently, we do not offer any online courses.

14. Who teaches MALS courses?

FIU Department of Philosophy Faculty, and faculty from other departments within the College of Arts and Sciences, many distinguished scholars with Teaching Excellence Awards.

15. Do I have to take some sort of entrance exam?

No. In lieu of an entrance exam, we request a personal statement of purpose (2-3 pages long explaining how the MALS can meet your intellectual and educational goals), and a substantive writing sample (8 -25 pages long) of a critical thinking paper.

16. Do I have to maintain an acceptable GPA to remain in the program?

Failure to maintain an acceptable GPA will result in academic warning, probation or dismissal according to University rules. A regularly admitted graduate student who has not been registered for three consecutive semesters (including the summer semester) is deemed dismissed unless a leave of absence has been approved. A student who does not complete all requirements for a graduate degree within the time limit is dismissed.

A student who has been academically dismissed from a graduate program may apply for readmission to the same or any other graduate program at F.I.U. under the regulations in force at the time of reapplication. A period of at least one calendar year must elapse after the date of dismissal before an application for readmission will be accepted for consideration. When the application is for readmission to the same program, admissions criteria shall include consideration of previous performance in that graduate program in addition to the normal admission requirements.

17. What is a leave of absence?

A student who finds it necessary to be excused from registration in a graduate degree program for three or more consecutive semesters must formally request a leave of absence from the graduate program. Leave time must be approved by the program director and the academic dean. Leave will be granted only under exceptional circumstances. When there is no mutual agreement the decision will be made by the academic dean.

18. How do I remain in good standing?

To remain in good standing, students must maintain a graduate GPA of 3.0. Only courses required by the graduate program will be counted in the GPA. Undergraduate prerequisites taken after the bachelor's degree will not count toward the graduate GPA.

19. How do I maintain my active status in the program?

Masters programs require a minimum of l credit hour per semester to maintain active status in the program. Lapses in enrollment for three or more consecutive semesters require that the student apply for readmission subject to the admission procedures, criteria and policies in effect at the time the reapplication is made.

20. How do I fulfill the Master Thesis or Master Essay enrollment requirement?

The student must be registered for at least 1 credit when he/she presents the Master's Essay.

21. Can I change my major field of study after having been admitted to MALS?

If a student wishes to change his or her major field of study or college after having been admitted to a graduate program, he or she must apply for admission to the new program. The student must filled out a change of program form and provide copies of the form to the Director of the admitted and the Director of the new Graduate Program.

22. What is the graduation process?

  • The student is responsible for making certain that all requirements have been met and that every deadline is observed.
  • Each student who plans to graduate is required to submit to the Office of Registration and Records an Application for Graduation form. This form, supplied by the Office of Registration and Records, must be submitted before the end of the third week of classes of the academic semester in which graduation is expected. A student turning in the Application for Graduation after the deadline will graduate the following semester. No charge is made for applying for graduation.
  • The Application for Graduation must be signed by the academic advisor prior to being submitted to the Office of Registration and Records. Please submit the plan of study to the MALS Director. The plan of study is the record of your classes and your grades in the MALS program. A student denied graduation must complete the requirements for graduation and reapply for graduation.A student must be registered for the term in which the degree is received.

23. Which Departments offer graduate programs at the College of Arts and Sciences at FIU?

For a list of all graduate programs at FIU please visit: http://catalog.fiu.edu/2012%5F2013/Graduate/College%5Fof%5FArts%5Fand%5FSciences/

24. Can you give me more information on the Graduate School?

The University Graduate School is located at the Charles Perry Building (aka "PC''), room 231, Florida International University, Miami, FL 33199. To contact the Graduate Schools please go to: http:/gradschool.fiu.eduindex.shtml

25. What is the (4+1)-MALS program?

  • The (4+1) Master of Arts in Liberal Studies program is an accelerated and combined Bachelor/Master of Arts in Liberal Studies. It is designed for FIU outstanding undergraduate students who major in Philosophy or Liberal Studies, and who have broad interests and a tendency for cross-disciplinary and interdisciplinary inquiry.
  • This competitive program allows students to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree and a Master of Arts degree in as few as five years. The (4+1)-MALS offers students individualized graduate studies that transcend traditional discipline-based programs of study. Students are encouraged to pursue a study of a broad range of subjects in the humanities, social sciences, and arts, and find connections among different areas of human thought. The program proceeds through a core curriculum of ``Great Ideas’’ Seminars, a series of graduate course offerings from various disciplines tailored to the student’s interest, and culminates in the Capstone Project.

26. What are the differences between the MALS program and the (4+1)-MALS program?

  • 1.The (4+1)-MALS is designed for FIU undergraduate students who major in Philosophy or Liberal Studies, have a GPA of a 3.20 or better, and have not completed their Bachelor's degree. The MALS is designed for students who have completed a Bachelor's degree in any major from an accredited university, and have a GPA of 3.00 or better in upper-level work.
  • 2.Students who are admitted to the (4+1)-MALS can have up to 9 graduate credits count for both the Bachelor's and the Master's degree. (All double counted courses must be at the 5000 level or higher.) Because of this overlap, it it is possible to get a MALS degree in only one additional year after completing the Bachelor's degree.
  • 3.The prospective (4+1)-MALS student must have completed at least 90 credit hours, (including all general education and core requirements for their undergraduate degree) and no more than 105 credit hours, before they are admitted to the program. In other words, students need to be admitted to the program no later than the end of the first semester of their senior year. However, students may apply to the (4+1)-MALS program as early as the second semester of their sophomore year (or when they have completed 60 credit hours).
  • 4.The regular MALS program can be completed within six years, while the (4+1)-MALS must be completed within a year after the completion of the Bachelor's degree.
  • 5.The (4+1)-MALS requires a GPA of at least 3.20 to be admitted to the program and remain in the program. MALS requires a GPA of at least 3.00 to be admitted to the program and remain in the program. There is no GRE requirement for any of the two programs.
  • 6.Students in both programs are required to complete at least 33 credit hours for the degree. In addition, students in both programs are required to fulfill the MALS curriculum, i.e., take at least 3 Great Ideas Seminars, undertake an Interdisciplinary Concentration, and complete a Capstone Project on a topic related to the unifying theme of their Interdisciplinary Concentration.

27. Admission Criteria for (4+1)-MALS applicants

  • 1.Applicant must have completed at least 75-­‐90 credits in a bachelor’s degree program
  • 2. Application must be submitted before the applicant starts the last 30 credits of his/herbachelor’s degree program
  • 3. Applicant must meet the graduate degree program’s admissions criteria.

29. More questions?

Please contact the Director, Dr. Kiriake Xerohemona, at xerohemo@fiu.edu or at (305)- 348-7563.