Master of Liberal Arts

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McDaniel’s Master of Liberal Arts (MLA) program is steeped in tradition and culture. Established in 1933, this interdisciplinary graduate program has been an anchor to the Graduate and Professional Studies division for almost 85 years. Because the Liberal Arts field is so varied, students are allowed to explore topics that are of interest to them while honing their writing and communications skills; combined with their undergraduate degrees and strong occupational backgrounds, students experience outcomes that will bring them to new levels within their careers.

According to a recent study put out by the Harvard Business Review (August, 2017),

“What matters now is not the skills you have but how you think. Can you ask the right questions? Do you know what problem you’re trying to solve in the first place?” In that article, co-author, Scott Harley, states “liberal arts education—one that includes both hard sciences and “softer” subjects. A well-rounded learning experience opens people up to new opportunities and helps them develop products that respond to real human needs.”

Master of Liberal Arts Course Catalog »

Flexibility - Design Your Education

A hallmark of the MLA program is flexibility. Our core courses touch upon a range of topics and disciplinary approaches while affording room for you to explore your particular interests. The final project is a culminating experience that further promotes and supports your exploreation. Students work with a faculty supervisor to design and create an original project. While the final project might be a thesis paper, students have combined their interests in innovative ways such as drafting a novel, painting an original watercolor, or dying wool for art shows.

Key Features of the MLA program include:

• Offers convenient meeting times, including online courses, to fit your busy schedule.

• Balances full-time faculty with adjunct instructors who draw course content from best practices in the field.

• Provides small class size and individual attention for our students.

• Offers highly competitive tuition.

Why McDaniel

• Offers convenient schedules to fit your busy schedule.

• Balances full-time faculty with adjunct instructors who draw course content from best practices in the field.

• Small class size and individual attention that the professors provide students.

• Highly competitive tuition.

Admissions Requirements

• Completed application for graduate study

• Submit the non-refundable application fee

• Official transcripts verifying completion of an undergraduate degree from a regionally accredited college or university with a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.0

• Three official letters of recommendation from academics or employers

Note: It is imperative that accepted students contact the MLA Coordinator at the beginning of their program for an advising appointment to ensure a successful academic experience.  The MLA Coordinator, Laura Doolan, can be reached at

Degree Requirements

• 36 semester hours

• Minimum 3.0 GPA, limit of one course at or below "C"

• Completion of a six-credit Final Project, equivalent in scope to a master’s thesis


Laura DoolanLaura Doolan, M.Ed., Though Laura’s career is deeply rooted as an educator in Maryland (Carroll County Teacher of the Year in 2013), her passions and background are established in the liberal arts. Laura’s expertise will show individuals how widely applicable the MLA degree is toward multiple careers including education, business and finance, and health and science.

Career Opportunities for Graduates

Due to the highly individualized approach to this program, Graduates fill various positions in a variety of sectors.  Some examples include:

• Teaching at the college level.

• Staff and administrator positions in higher education.

• K-12 teachers already holding certification use the program to enhance their knowledge-base and apply the credits toward professional development, master’s, master’s plus 30 and master’s plus 60 requirements.

• Writers and editors (especially for those pursuing the Romance Writing and Writing for Children and Young Adults tracks).

Important Dates

Summer 2019 Application Deadline is April 30th

Fall 2019 Application Deadline is July 31st

Spring 2020 Application Deadline is December 15th

Applications are accepted and processed throughout the year but the College recommends that students submit their applications and official supporting materials well in advance of the start of the semester in which they plan to enroll. This allows for the application to be processed and reviewed, for account creation, and for registration into classes. The following dates reflect when registration opens for each term.

Summer Semester – April 1
Fall Semester – July 1
Spring Semester – December 1

Students are assigned an advisor who will guide them as to which courses they will be taking each semester. Anyone admitted after the opening of registration may be placed on a wait list for certain desired courses.


1. When are MLA courses conducted during the year?
During the Fall and Spring, courses meet once a week on either Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday: 4:50pm – 7:20pm or 7:30pm – 10:00pm. During the Summer, times and days vary. Online courses run in 8-week blocks during the semesters.

2. How and when do I register for classes?
Complete registration information is available in the Graduate Admissions area of this site. Please contact the MLA Coordinator for advising.

3. I work in the education field. Is the MLA program for me?
Many educators seeking an alternative to traditional education graduate programs have found that the MLA program better fulfilled their needs. Among others, educators from elementary and secondary levels have broadened their field of knowledge in the MLA program while accumulating continuing professional education credits required by school systems.

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Summer Term 2019 course listing now available »

Upcoming Information Sessions

Carroll County Public Schools: May 1, 2019

• Self-designed program allows students to pursue  courses that best reflect their personal and professional interests

• Program provides an excellent means of accumulating continuing professional development credits to satisfy Maryland State Department of Education and Pennsylvania State Department Education recertification requirements.

© 2019 McDaniel College