May 29, 2023  
2007-2009 Catalog 
2007-2009 Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Liberal Studies

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Departments

Program Director: Robert Houbeck, MA

Administrative Specialist: Crystal M. Pepperdine

Program Faculty: Mr. Charles Bailey (Social Work), Dr. Lauren Friesen (Theatre), Dr. Jan Furman (English), Dr. Larry Koch (Sociology), Dr. Bruce Rubenstein (History), Dr. Frederic J. Svoboda (English), Dr. Jacqueline Zeff (English).

The Master of Liberal Studies (MLS) invites students to examine their lived experience through an intellectual lens that highlights the key ideas, institutions, behaviors, and preoccupations that have helped to shape the American character. David A. Hollinger and Charles Capper observe in their preface to The American Intellectual Tradition: “If a tradition is a family of disagreements, the American intellectual tradition is a very extended family.” The MLS Program provides students with a sustained opportunity to understand and contribute to that “family” of disagreements—and agreements—we call American culture by drawing on concepts from the humanities, the social sciences, and the arts.

The Program is distinguished by several special, if not unique, features. Students are drawn from a wide diversity of academic backgrounds and even wider array of professional and personal aspirations. Many of our students already hold the professional positions they seek and are looking to strengthen their expertise as teachers, policy makers, or artists. Others, near or anticipating retirement, are drawn to the MLS Program because it offers an opportunity for personal enrichment and lifelong learning, a second chance at liberal education. To accommodate the working professional, all MLS core seminars and many elective courses are offered in the evening, and a systematic planning schedule is designed for the part-time student. Two tracks are available: the American Studies Track in which a recurring emphasis on interdisciplinary research distinguishes its academic core and final product, the thesis, and the Theatre and Community Track, for which the final product is either a thesis or a theatre creative project with a production book.

Limited financial aid and scholarship support is available for students in the MLS program. Contact the Office of Graduate Programs for information at (810) 762-3171.

Program Mission and Assessment

The mission of the Master of Liberal Studies Program is to engage students in a critical, multidisciplinary examination of contemporary American culture; to encourage students to explore and critique issues important to American thought and culture, such as race, gender, equality, politics, religion, popular culture; to help students learn research methods and techniques and apply them to critically examine issues beyond the scope of individual courses; and to set students’ experiences in a meaningful context. The Program participates in the University-wide effort to assess its academic programs. Information on assessment plans, including goals, methods and outcomes is available at

Admission Requirements

  1. See “Admission to Rackham School Programs ” for general admission requirements.
  2. Twenty-four credits in the humanities and the social sciences as an undergraduate.

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Departments