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Course Descriptions

Master of Arts in Liberal Studies Course Descriptions

The Master of Arts in Liberal Studies requires the successful completion of a minimum of 15 credits in core courses, 15 credits in elective courses, and a capstone course that includes an integrative paper (3 credits) for a minimum total of 33 credits.

Core Courses: 15 Hours

PreNumCourse TitleHours
MLS501Introduction to Scholarly Research

Introduction to Scholarly Research is a co-requisite for MLS 502, MLS 505, MLS 508, and MLS 511 and must be taken within the first two semesters of the M.L.S. program. This course introduces students to the nature and purpose of research methods used by scholars in the liberal arts and orients students to the values and practices of the academic community. Students learn to distinguish between established and poorly established written claims. Students are trained to use the Barry library, analyze sources, and critique published research.

MLS502The Origins of Modern Culture

Study of the cultures and ideals of classical Greece and Rome with particular attention to humanistic philosophies. Study of issues of authority and religion during the Middle Ages. Examination of how these ideas shaped subsequent cultures and found expression in the arts from 500 B.C. to 1300 A.D.

MLS503The Liberal Arts Tradition and Cultural Theories

The Liberal Arts Tradition and Cultural Theories must be taken within the first two semesters of the M.L.S. program and is a co-requisite for MLS 502, MLS 505, MLS 508, and MLS 511. This course introduces the student to the development of the liberal arts tradition and theoretical approaches to studying culture.

MLS505The Emerging Modern Mind

Study of the changes brought about by the revival of classical ideals after the fall of Constantinople. Their effects on social, political, economic and religious institutions throughout the Renaissance and Reformation. The expression of these ideas in the arts of the period will also be examined.

MLS508Reason and Science

The impact of science and commerce, social and religious values on the arts and culture of the period leading to the Industrial Revolution.

MLS511The Contemporary Perspective

The impact of the Industrial Revolution, the world wars on shaping contemporary views and values. Issues of reason and faith, science and religion, social differences, and economic exploitation will be examined, as will Modernist and post-Modernist ideas.

MLS521Special Topics

Content to be determined each semester by the Department as requested by faculty and/or students to meet special needs or interests. Students may repeat MLS 521 as long as the course content varies with each repetition.

MLS559Independent Study

Individual Tutorial. Content is developed for specific interests and needs of students. May be repeated. Permission of advisor and instructor is required.


Elective Courses: 15 Hours

PreNumCourse TitleHours
MLS610Literature and the Human Experience

This course draws on readings that represent literary traditions ranging from 400 B.C. to the present and that reflect widely diverse cultures. The discussion of these works will be organized by thematic groups. These will provide opportunities to explore diverse attitudes toward the same powerful human tendencies and experiences. The course emphasizes the value of literature as a means to a better understanding of our own humanity.

MLS615Social and Political Images in the Arts

A study of social and political issues since the early modern period as shown in visual images and architectural creation. The ways in which these images have shaped and continue to influence cultural norms and attitudes.

MLS620The Technological Society

The course will examine relationships among science, technology, and social-cultural issues. Critical, ethical, cultural, and policy concerns associated with the impact of science and technology will be explored. The major sociological and philosophical debates on processes of knowledge production and knowledge maintenance, and the impact of organizational and institutional arrangements on science and technology will also be reviewed.

MLS625Social Justice: The American Experience of Identity, Democracy, and Community

This course will examine the American Experience of creating democracy and community while maintaining hierarchies of race-ethnicity, class, and gender. The history of the struggle and resistance against exclusionary practices and the efforts toward building more democratized forms of political, economic, educational, and social institutions based on freedom, justice, and equality will also be reviewed.

MLS630The Responsible Self

This course will examine how to be with God and others Contrary to the contemporary emphasis on liberalized autonomy, the responsible self returns to social goods and recognizes life in common. This examination concerns the development of character and of an informed conscience, which make clear the way to acceptance of relational responsibility and accountability. Contrary to the popular "take care of number one" motto, the responsible self looks at ways to attend to the needs of others as relationship partnership partners and friends. Questions of authenticity, character, virtue, and duty will be explored in relation to various religious and philosophical traditions.

MLS635The Authentic Self

An exploration of the development of the psychological concept of the authentic self. Includes a historical overview with emphasis on the more recent elaborations of the concept by psychologists and its adoption into the popular culture.

MLS640Shakespeare in Love

An introduction to some of the major themes, conventions and motifs of Shakespeare's work. Beginning with the film Shakespeare in Love because of the Shakespearean elements that it suggests, the course utilizes particular plays, passages and film excerpts for their exemplification of these elements.

MLS645Beauty, Love, and the Good

To understand the meaning and value of notions such as the good, beauty, and love through phil9osophical analysis and as used by the ancient Greek philosophers as well as the way these notions are interpreted in Christianity and in the 21st century.


Capstone Project

PreNumCourse TitleHours
MLS688Writing a Research Proposal for Capstone Project

This course provides an opportunity for students to work with the guidance of a faculty member to complete a research proposal that develops a plan for completing the capstone project the following semester. While the Director of the M.L.S. program will be the professor of record in the class, depending on student interest and experience in the program, the student may need to collaborate with other faculty as well. Required: must be taken the semester prior to the beginning the capstone project. Prerequisite: must have completed 24 credit hours in the M.L.S. program.

MLS690Seminar (Capstone Course)

An interdisciplinary capstone course wherein students will complete research projects that integrate the discipline-specific material in the elective courses within the contextual framework of the core courses. Directed by faculty member(s) in the appropriate discipline(s).


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