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Individualized Studies


MALS students take four classes within the program—Introduction to Graduate Liberal Studies, two core courses in their chosen track, and the thesis—and choose their remaining electives from among all courses offered across the doctoral and certificate programs at the Graduate Center.



MALS Track in 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 tracks 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 CUNY 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 track in Individualized Studies empowers students who identify a new area of study for which a MALS track does not currently exist to work closely with the EO or a deputy EO to create an individualized track of study within the program.

Only students who are enrolled in the M.A. in Liberal Studies can apply for this track. Students cannot apply for this track before they are admitted. 

Degree Requirements:

In order to enroll in this track, students must be mentored by the MALS EO or a MALS DEO, who will provide advisement on the track proposal (in consultation with a MALS faculty member when appropriate). Students must submit 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 tracks are not feasible for such a course of study. A short letter of support from the consulting faculty member may be included with the proposal. Final approval of the individualized course of study shall be given by the MALS 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 coursesselected from two different tracks, will serve as the core courses of the proposed track.

  • 18 credits from courses of the student's choice.

  • A master's thesis, MALS 79000.

Students interested in this track must have an approved proposal by the end of their second semester of enrollment.  The application deadline for the individualized study submission will be announced on a semester-basis, and it will be posted here. Students should check their GC email addresses regularly to receive updates on deadlines or changes in the requirements.


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

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

Applications should be sent to Kathy Koutsis ( with the subject line "Individualized Studies Proposal."

Examples of Possible Tracks 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 courses selected from MALS and the wider GC catalogue, would enable the student to 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 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 track 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.

Questions? Feel free to contact any of our Executive Officers or email us at

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,