Fairfield University announces new master's degree in liberal studies


Image: CanisiusFairfield University is launching a new master's degree in liberal studies (MLS), an exciting interdisciplinary program offering graduate students a way to enhance their critical thinking and writing skills, expand their cultural perspectives, study abroad, and much more. Applications are being accepted now for classes that will begin in the Fall 2013.

The new MLS program will provide students with an illuminating educational experience through a broad and varied liberal studies curriculum. Encompassing 11 different departments - and counting - the new program is designed for those with a passion for learning about the connections that exist between academic disciplines and our world. Through integrative learning and research opportunities, MLS students will be able to make connections across disciplines and explore different fields of knowledge such as history, philosophy, literature, politics, the sciences, and the arts.

"An MLS degree serves two main populations of students: those students seeking career enhancement, and those seeking personal enrichment through education - including those who have earned professional degrees, but now desire a graduate degree with a liberal arts focus," said Dr. Steven Bayne, associate professor of philosophy and MLS program director.

People who have earned an M.A. in liberal studies have gone on to have careers in business, education, the arts, journalism, politics, writing and publishing - to name just a few.

The program requires 33 credits (11 courses), including a new team-taught foundational course called "Self, Society, World," nine electives, and a capstone course in which students will complete a master's thesis or project. Future plans for students enrolled in the MLS program include summer study abroad opportunities with two weeks spent in England, Scotland or Rome.

"When you think about our scheduled summer courses," Dr. Bayne said. "To study 17th century England while in London and Oxford, or to study David Hume and Jane Austin while in Scotland and England... What could be more exciting?"

Courses planned for the program couldn't be more diverse: "Urban Biology," "Sex, Money, and Power in Antiquity," "Music of Black Americans," and "Philosophy and Economic Anthropology" are just a few of the MLS courses planned.

Robbin Crabtree, Ph.D., dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, said Fairfield's world-class faculty and the diversity of graduate students' experiences and academic backgrounds will create a vibrant learning atmosphere. "The MLS will appeal to those with a deep love of the humanities," she said. "It is also a program that should be seriously considered by those who live their lives in the corporate sector. These courses will hone critical thinking, improve writing, stimulate the imagination, and strengthen intellectual capacity. These skills support professional success across all industries, in addition to the ways the liberal arts enrich the life of the mind."

The new program fits perfectly with Fairfield's Jesuit tradition, said Paul Fitzgerald, S.J., Ph.D., senior vice president for academic affairs. "The essential value of a Jesuit-inspired, liberal arts education is to be seen in the quality of the life our alumni lead. They are people who have studied life's great questions, bypassed simplistic and cold-hearted answers, and have continued to open their minds and their hearts in a lifelong pursuit of wisdom."

Prospective students who would like to learn more about the new MLS program or meet with faculty and advisors are encouraged to attend Fairfield's next Graduate Information Session to be held at the Aloysius P. Kelley, S.J. Center on Wednesday, June 5 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. To RSVP to the event, or for detailed program and admission information, visit www.fairfield.edu/mls.

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Media Contact: Meredith Guinness, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2950, mguinness@fairfield.edu

Posted on May 2, 2013

Vol. 45, No. 266