University at Albany

Program Requirements 

The program of study is directed toward the student's interests and specific career objectives and is designed in consultation with the Director and participating faculty.

Advanced Standing 
A student may apply for up to 8 hours of previous graduate credit to be counted toward the credit hours required for the Liberal Studies degree.  The precise credit value of previous graduate coursework will be determined during the student's initial interview with the M.A. Advisor. Courses presented for advanced standing are subject to all the requirements and restrictions described in the University’s Graduate Bulletin.

All students must earn a minimum of 30 credits, distributed as follows:

  1. Two core requirements (6-8 credits), which include one course from the list of approved core courses in Humanities, and one course from the list of approved core courses in the Social Sciences.  These core courses are typically “field courses,” or surveys of a broad disciplinary area, designed as introductory courses for graduate students in a variety of disciplines.Full time students must complete the core courses during their first year of study.  Part-time students will complete them as advised.

  2. Elective courses selected under faculty advisement (minimum 18 credits), which may include GLS 697 (Directed Readings, 1-4 credits), and which must include at least 2 courses at the 600 level (6-8 credits).  Electives must also include courses in at least two departments.  

  3. GLS 699 Master’s Thesis (4 credits).  The final independent research project is typically based on (but not reducible to) the student’s course work.  This research project is designed in consultation with a minimum of two full-time faculty supervisors, and must be approved by the Director.

Students are not permitted to register for GLS 699 until they have (1) identified a thesis committee of at least two full-time faculty members who agree to serve as first and second readers; and (2) submitted a written thesis prospectus of 8-10 pages, with a supporting bibliography of at least 25 items, that outlines the research project and is formally approved in writing by the thesis committee and the Director of Liberal Studies.   It is therefore imperative that students submit the approved prospectus during the semester before they expect to write the thesis, ideally at the time of pre-registration.