About Liberal Studies

The Liberal Studies Program at the University at Albany is an exciting interdisciplinary MA program that allows students to design their own degrees, taking classes across all departments in the Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences. The program focuses on issues in contemporary cultural theory in a global context. 

The program is open and flexible, and is mainly designed for students working in contemporary social thought, but it allows students to work across a variety of areas, from literary and cultural studies to philosophy and political theory. It is especially designed for students with strong academic backgrounds who intend to pursue a Ph.D., but who wish to develop their knowledge and academic credentials in preparation for doctoral work. The program has particular strength in English, History, Philosophy and Political Science, and allows students to work across these and other departments. It especially supports students who are interested in contemporary cultural theory and interdisciplinary areas such as American Studies, human rights, feminist theory, globalization, critical social thought, post-colonial studies, aesthetics and cultural production, and related areas of research.

The program is hospitable to foreign students who intend to pursue an American doctoral degree, but who wish to advance their knowledge and academic credentials before applying to doctoral programs. The program provides foreign students with intensive immersion in English, and with experience of the culture of the American university, which are expected to help foreign students improve their GRE and TOEFL scores. The current program includes strong students from China, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan, some of whom have already moved successfully to doctoral programs on completing their degrees.

For all students pursuing advanced work in any of the participating departments, the program advances research skills, and develops the historical and theoretical background of students, while providing them with a thesis written in English, which will enhance future applications to doctoral study.

The degree requires 30 credits (typically 7 classes plus a 4-credit thesis). Students can request to have up to 8 credits of graduate-level work, completed at other universities, count toward the Liberal Studies degree. For students who have done graduate-level work elsewhere, the program can therefore be finished more efficiently. SUNY – Albany is comparatively affordable in relation to other state universities in the United States, and the Graduate Admissions Office is available to help with visas and other required documents (contact is Erin Barrett). NOTE: The application deadline is flexible. We accept applications through June 30.

If you have questions or wish to apply to the program, contact or schedule an appointment with:

Dr. Kir Kuiken   Dr. Kir Kuiken
Associate Professor of English
Interim Director of Liberal Studies
Humanities 320
(518) 442-4069