Degree Requirements and Courses

Please contact the MLS office at for information and assistance if you want to transfer graduate-level coursework from other institutions.

Degree Requirements

The MLS degree has the following course requirements (for a total of at least 30 credits):

  • LS 8001 Introduction to Interdisciplinary Inquiry (3 credits)
  • LS 5100 or LS 5950 Liberal Studies Seminars, at least three seminars totaling nine credits (9 credits)
  • LS 8101 Pulling the Pieces Together: Final Project Proposal Prep (1 credit)
  • Electives chosen from disciplines throughout the Graduate School, Directed Study (maximum six credits), online courses (maximum six credits), or additional Liberal Studies seminars totaling 14 credits
  • LS 8002 Final Project (3 credits)

Planning Your Degree

You may take one or more courses per term and you have up to five years to complete your program. We've created a sample timeline to help you visualize how your degree plan might look. You can also see how past MLS students have created specialized pathways by reading our Student Stories and News.

Required Courses

Introduction to Interdisciplinary Inquiry (LS 8001)

This course addresses graduate-level scholarship, writing, and examining problems from multiple academic and philosophical perspectives in a discussion-based, small-class-size environment.

Liberal Studies Seminars (LS 5100 and LS 5950)

Every semester, the MLS program offers unique seminars in a small-group setting on a wide range of fascinating topics, which run for seven weeks or a full semester. You'll participate in lively, interactive seminars that include reading, writing, and in-depth, idea-generating discussions with fellow classmates.

Pulling the Pieces Together: Final Project Proposal Prep (LS 8101)

This course is taken when students have completed 10−12 credits. Students finalize plans for their final project and confirm an advisor who can work with them on their project.

Final Project (LS 8002)

In the final seminar, you work closely with a professor and other graduating MLS students to develop a thesis or a creative piece that encompasses the work you've done in the program, answer the questions you've asked yourself, and present your research.

Elective Options

Electives can be chosen from graduate-level courses across the U of M. Electives must come from at least two different disciplines and should reflect the interdisciplinary nature of the MLS.

Directed Study (LS 5993)

The Directed Study gives you an opportunity to create your own course with the guidance of an instructor. You may choose the instructor or have us help you "match up."


Liberal Studies seminars invite you to reflect upon the important ideas, debates, and issues that define contemporary life. They are intended to deepen your grasp of seminal ideas and/or critical problems of life and mind, by drawing on the methods or perspectives of more than a single discipline.

LS seminars are not lecture-based but instead have more of a salon feel, as different thoughts and formulations emerge through free-flowing discussions, in both small and all-class groups.

For times and dates of upcoming seminars and elective classes, consult the U of M class schedule (search for the subject "LS").