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Individualized Studies

Flexibility and innovation within the M.A. in Liberal Studies curriculum are essential in order to allow both faculty and students to engage new trends in higher education. Though MALS offers concentrations in many interdisciplinary subjects, new areas of study, such as the digital humanities, refugee studies, human rights studies, and postcolonial studies continue to emerge at a rapid pace. The MALS program at The Graduate Center is well positioned to house this concentration. It already fosters interdisciplinary work and is home to diverse courses and faculty members whose expertise spans large areas of the academic spectrum.  

Students have the ability to discern the development of nascent fields and should have the freedom to pursue them as part of their coursework for the MALS degree. This proposed concentration in Individualized Studies empowers students who identify a new area of study for which a MALS concentration does not currently exist to work closely with a MALS faculty member to create an individualized concentration of study within the program.

Only students who are enrolled in the M.A. in Liberal Studies can submit a proposal for this concentration. Students cannot submit a proposal for this concentration before they are admitted.

Degree Requirements

In order to enroll in this concentration, students must be mentored by a GC faculty member, who will provide advisement on the concentration proposal. Students must submit a request form and a short (1-2 page) written proposal to the MALS Executive Officer outlining the proposed course of study, identifying courses that may be taken, and explaining why existing MALS concentrations are not feasible for such a course of study. The consulting faculty member must review the proposal and sign the request form before they are submitted to the EO. 

‚ÄčThis Master's degree program requires the following coursework for a total of 30 credits:

  • A required introductory course, MALS 70000 Introduction to Graduate Liberal Studies.
  • Two core courses, selected from two different concentrations, will serve as the core courses of the proposed concentration.
  • 18 credits from courses of the student's choice that are relevant to the student’s concentration or studies.
  • A master's thesis/capstone project, MALS 79000.


Proposals for an individualized study concentration for the spring semester must be submitted by March 15 by 5pm in order to be considered.

Proposals for an individualized study concentration for the fall semester must be submitted by November 15 by 5pm in order to be considered.


Proposals should be submitted to Kathy Koutsis, MALS Assistant Program Officer (Room 4106).


Examples of Possible Concentrations in Individualized Studies:

Digital Humanities and Archaeology

A student could propose to study the ways in which archaeologists can use new digital humanities resources. The two MALS core courses relevant to this study would be Great Digs (MALS 745000) and Digital Humanities Methods and Practices (MALS 75500). These courses, along with other electives selected from MALS and the wider GC catalogue, would enable the student to research methods and techniques that could be used to build new digital resources for the study and teaching of archaeology (interactive pedagogy, open scholarship, material analysis of digital objects, comparative approaches to archival texts, and new approaches to archival collections). The student’s thesis/capstone project could concentrate on applications of the methods and techniques of digital humanities to the study and teaching of archaeology.

Fashion Studies and Biography, Autobiography, and Memoir

A student could propose a concentration that focused on the business of fashion and the role of the individual in the production of modern day fashion from a biographical and business perspective. Many major fashion lines are linked to brands focused on individual designers (e.g., Alexander McQueen, Tom Ford, Stella McCartney). The student could choose courses that would help explore the relationship of the lives of individual designers to the brands and business practices that are built using their images.

Library Resources

Visit the GC Mina Rees Library's Liberal Studies Research Guide.
Students' contact for Individualized Studies research is reference librarian Alycia Sellie.

Photo Credits
First Image: By moriza, Mo Riza, This photo was taken on January 24, 2006 using a Nikon E885,; 
Second Image: By Studies In Comfort – Ian Levack, This photo was taken on July 9, 2009,