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FAQs

May I transfer credit from other graduate programs?

A maximum of 12 credits earned prior to matriculation to MALS may be accepted. In order to be eligible for transfer, the courses must be comparable to courses offered by the PhD programs at the Graduate Center and must have been completed with a grade of B or higher. Courses in creative or professional writing are not eligible for transfer credit.

May I take courses at other CUNY institutions or at universities within the consortial system?

No, MALS students can only take courses offered at the Graduate Center.
The consortial arrangement is open only to doctoral students.

How do I choose a track?

Students choose a track to explore a topic that interests them, to fill in gaps in their education, and to enhance their resumes (read below about the benefits of a MALS degree). When researching which track to choose, you should check the track's webpage for a general description, requirements, associated faculty, and course offerings. In addition, you can visit the webpages of related Graduate Center programs -- doctoral, master'scertificate, and interdisciplinary -- and read detailed descriptions of the courses offered. You can also contact faculty and/or MALS advisors to answer further questions.
A summary of MALS program requirements and a list of all tracks can be found here (individual track webpages are accessible through the right-hand menu).

Can I change my track?

Yes, you can change your track at any point during the course of your program. In order to do so, please notify the MALS office via email (liberalstudies@gc.cuny.edu). You will be expected to meet all course requirements associated with the new track. Core courses taken in a different track may count towards the required 18 credits of electives, but not as core courses in the new track.
 

In what way can I use a MALS degree to further career goals outside of Academia?

Choosing a track that will give you new expertise is one way that a MALS degree can further your career goals.  For instance, a student interested in working with immigrants could choose the Global Migration track. Choosing the Urban Education track could give you expertise for working in museums and with education non-profits. Students who select the Digital Humanities track or take courses in the track learn many highly useful technical skills that employers are often looking for. Skills honed by writing papers and giving presentations in class, such as being able to write clearly and communicate well, can also advance your career.
Getting involved in various Graduate Center activities can further advance your career goals. For example, involvement in the MALS Student Association is an opportunity to serve in a leadership capacity.

Is there a student leadership group for me to get involved in and meet other students?

Yes. There is a MALS Student Association and a MALS Student Group on the CUNY Academic Commons.

All MALS students are automatically members of the Student Association, which provides funding for student events and communicates student concerns and needs to the Program's Executive Officer and Deputy Executive Officer. To get involved, look out for upcoming events and meetings which are announced in the MALS Student Group on the Academic Commons.

MALS Student Group: This is a MALS student-only group based on the Academic Commons. In order to join the group you will first need a valid GC e-mail account. You will be assigned a GC e-mail account 3-5 days after you register for courses. Use that e-mail to create an account on the CUNY Academic Commons. Once you're registered, visit the MALS Student Group and join the group.


Where can I find funding for my degree?

GC librarians have put together a great resource on funding that lists all of the major databases.

Some of these may be subscription databases accessible only to registered students.  But, if you scroll down, you’ll see the Michigan, UCLA, and Duke databases that are open access.

In book form, there is also April Vahle Hamel’s Graduate School Funding Handbook (Penn Press, 2010), which walks you through the process (Jenny Furlong wrote the chapter on postdocs), and Pearson’s Getting Money for Graduate School (2003, so maybe a bit outdated).

Does the Graduate Center offer career planning services for Master’s students?

Yes. You may find sources specifically designed for Master’s students in interviewing, networking, job searching, resume building, and applying for a PhD through the Office of Career Planning and Professional Development.

Is there someone to advise me on career opportunities associated with my studies?

Individual departments and programs sometimes run career workshops. Check their websites for more information. Speak to faculty, advisors, and other students.

How can I find teaching or administrative jobs in the academy?

A Master’s degree, along with an excellent academic record and recommendations, can be enough to qualify for a position in a two-year college.   A Ph.D. is a requirement for teaching jobs in four-year institutions.  Even jobs that emphasize teaching will also require research and publication.  Professor jobs are listed with field-specific organizations and in journals, such as the Chronicle of Higher Ed, which are aimed at an academic readership.

A Master’s or a Ph.D. degree in the Humanities or Social Sciences can be a strong qualification for administrative posts in the academic world even in the absence of a professional degree in administration. These degrees show that you have reading, writing, technical, and research skills and, in addition, have some knowledge of how the academic world works.

Where are academic jobs listed?

The career services is a good place to start when looking for these jobs.  Often, colleges and universities have their own job-listings.  Here are some other good listings to check:
 

Where are jobs outside of academia listed?

Here are some of the many websites:

For help in your job search, visit the webpage of the Office of Career Planning or make an appointment to see Dr. Jennifer Furlong, the director of the Office of Career Planning and Professional Development at the Graduate Center. Dr. Furlong also organizes panels and events for students searching for jobs.


In what ways can I seek out help in becoming a PhD candidate?

Seek out help from as many people as you can at the Graduate Center, your undergraduate institution, and the university and department where you are thinking of applying.  Professors, fellow students, program administrators, admissions officers, and career-service placement specialists all have something to offer to make you a strong Ph.D. candidate.   All of these people can help a Ph.D. candidate with essential information about institutions, faculty, grants, and the admissions process.  A successful Ph.D. candidate should have a research agenda and know the institution and professors where this agenda would best fit.  The personal statement and writing sample benefits from multiple readers.  It is important that someone familiar with the conventions of the subject read both.

How do I find a thesis advisor?

A thesis advisor is usually one of your professors. Thesis advisors must be members of the Graduate Center faculty. They do not need to be faculty members within the MALS Program.  
Your thesis advisor should teach in a field related to your track and have some knowledge about the subject of your thesis. Given that the thesis is interdisciplinary and original, it is unlikely that any single professor will have an expertise in everything about your thesis.   Ideally, choose a professor with whom you have been able to work well in the past. Other students have found that this compatibility is more important than subject-matter expertise. Remember that your thesis advisor is not the only professor to whom you can turn for help or advice on your thesis.

Are there fellowships and scholarships available for MALS students?

There is no institutional aid for Master’s students; however, there is federal aid.

Do MALS students have a space to study and socialize?

Yes. The MALS Student Study in Room 4109 has computers, a printer, lockers, a large table, and a couch. The Student Study is maintained and stocked by the MALS Student Association. Please be considerate and respectful. 

Is there a common area for people from different disciplines to socialize?

There are various lounges and dining facilities at the GC, including the Robert E. Gilleece Student Center. Click here for more information.

How do I find out what is going on around the university?

The Graduate Center sponsors numerous events and lectures. They are advertised prominently on the website and in the elevators.  There are many separate centers, programs, and departments that also host events at the GC.  It is a good idea to explore the GC website and even the building to find out about all of them.  
The Center for the Humanities hosts many smaller seminars and workshops in addition to large public events.  You can go to their suite of offices on the Sixth Floor to find out about their offerings.  It is a good idea to get on the email lists of programs and centers that interest you. You may also visit the Graduate Center calendar for campus events.

What other benefits do I get as a CUNY student?

CUNY students benefit from the Cultural Passport that gives students access to many cultural institutions in NYC for free or at a discount. Also visit CUNY Central’s website for more information.

Is there a place where I can go for my health and well-being?

Yes. Visit the Wellness Center in the GC.

Are there any health insurance options for students?

You may find health insurance options on the GC Health and Wellness website. On that page, there is a detailed Student Health Insurance Guide under "Uninsured Students."