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Program Frequently Asked Questions

I’ve heard of graduate degrees in various disciplines, but what is a degree in Liberal Studies?

It is a degree that allows a student to study the connections between various disciplines in the humanities and beyond in order to gain a broad view of both the world at large and the human condition. Students have a great deal of flexibility in choosing their curriculum, with four core classes and six elective classes. The goals of the program are to foster an interdisciplinary approach to many important issues, to improve a student’s writing and research skills, and to sharpen critical thinking.


What kind of student might want this degree?

There are a number of different types of students who may benefit from this degree:

  • People who are recent graduates looking for skills and credentials to appeal to a wide range of employers,
  • current professionals in both the education and business sectors seeking to become better at their challenging tasks, as well as
  • late-career or post-career people who are looking for a significant intellectual challenge to satisfy their curiosity and desire for growth.


What will this degree qualify me to do?

The goals of this degree are to teach students to write and speak clearly, appropriate to the purpose of each communication. Students will also sharpen critical thinking when approaching problems and evaluating information. Employers responding to our surveys say that they look for these skills from perspective employees above technical skills.


Does my undergraduate major need to have been in one of the arts or humanities areas?

No, any bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university is acceptable.


What are the academic requirements?

Admission to the program requires either a minimum 3.0 GPA in one’s undergraduate degree, or a score in the GRE of 300 or greater, with a score of 150 or greater in the verbal reasoning section. If you need to take the GRE, you may visit their website at http://www.ets.org/gre, or CCU’s own Test Center site at https://www.coastal.edu/testcenter/availabletests/gre.html.


Are there any other requirements for admission?

Yes, you need to fill out our application form, include three letters of recommendation, and include three specific writing samples as detailed in the application and on our admission requirements page (http://www.coastal.edu/humanities/mals/admissionrequirements/).


For the researched essay, may I submit a paper I did for an undergraduate class?

If this suits the entry requirement for this degree, you may do so, but send the paper as a clean copy, with any comments and identifying features of that class removed.


Are all three essays required for admission?

Yes, because we need to evaluate your suitability for graduate work in this program. Virtually every class will involve a substantial writing requirement, and many will require scholarly research as well, so this is also a good way to ‘warm up’ for the program.


I haven’t been in touch with my professors for quite a while. Do I need to get my letters of recommendation from them?

Not necessarily. Anyone who knows you from an academic or professional context may write the recommendation.


Do I need to take a minimum number of credits each semester to be enrolled in the program?

No, you may take one class at a time, or several at once. Since graduate work is billed by the credit hour, there is no particular financial discount for taking many classes in a given semester.


When are classes scheduled?

We plan to run most classes either late afternoon or early evening during the fall and spring terms. Some classes may run on weekends and some during the summer may run during the day. There will also be classes that have either all or part of their instruction online.


Is there any financial aid to help pay for the program?

The link on the MALS home page (http://www.coastal.edu/humanities/mals/tuitionfinancialaid/) can connect you to all matters financial for this degree. This includes financial aid, grants, and graduate assistantships. Outright scholarships from CCU are for undergraduate programs only, but a number of internal and external grants are listed through these links that may help you defray the costs.


What are graduate assistantships?

Graduate assistantships are a way to get a reduced tuition cost and an additional stipend in return for a certain amount of work for one of the departments or offices on campus. There is an application for graduate assistantships, and they generally run for a semester or the entire year. There is no guarantee that admission to the MALS program will come with an assistantship, and the application processes for admissions and for an assistantship are separate.


How long should it take to complete the program?

The requirements are for 30 credit hours. If you take two courses each fall and spring, and one course each summer, then the required 30 credit hours can be earned in two years.


Are there any required courses in the degree?

There are four core courses that each MALS student will take. They are MALS 600 Core Seminar, MALS 650 Graduate Research Methods, MALS 700 Graduate Writing, Documentation and Presentation and MALS 799 Capstone Experience. The other six courses may be taken from an approved list of graduate level courses.


Do I need to have an area of focus with the other six courses that I take for the degree?

No. Several focus areas (American Studies, International Studies, Leadership and Public Service) have already been designed by our departments, but you may choose to form another focus or complete the degree without a focus, based on the available courses you would like to take as part of this degree.


Are all the classes given on the main CCU campus in Conway?

Some of them may be scheduled there, but others may be held at the other facilities such as the Myrtle Beach Educational Center at 79th Avenue or the Litchfield facility.


I’ve never heard of a graduate degree such as this. Is this program unique to CCU?

These degrees are getting more popular around the country. Our program is the second one of its kind to be offered in the state of South Carolina. The Association of Graduate Liberal Studies Programs (http://www.aglsp.org/about-us) is the professional organization for these programs.


How long has this program been in operation?

CCU recently received approval from the state to offer this degree. The first class will matriculate in Fall 2014.


What is the deadline to apply for fall matriculation?

July 15, 2014.


May I apply for matriculation in the spring?

Yes. The deadline for January matriculation will be announced later this year. There are advantages for course offerings and graduate assistantships to enroll in the fall, but the program may be started in any semester that courses are offered.


Will my courses be taught by full-time professors or by adjuncts?

Virtually all of the courses will be taught be full-time professors. To be eligible to teach in this program, a professor must have a terminal degree and be an active scholar or artist in one’s discipline.