Liberal Studies

The Master’s in Liberal Studies (MALS) at the CUNY Graduate Center combines the challenge of graduate work with the freedom to explore new fields of knowledge across a wide array of diverse concentrations.
Request Information

The Master’s in Liberal Studies (MALS) at the CUNY Graduate Center combines the challenge of graduate work with the freedom to explore new fields of knowledge across a wide array of diverse concentrations.

Request Information

Degree Offered

M.A. in Liberal Studies

19 concentrations

Admissions Deadlines

March 1 for fall enrollment
November 1 for spring enrollment

Join an active, engaged learning community of students and faculty, embracing an interdisciplinary approach and flexible curricula to understand more about the world — and yourself. Whether you’re a working professional, a returning student, or a recent graduate, the Master’s in Liberal Studies (MALS) combines the challenge of graduate work with the freedom to explore new fields of knowledge.

Quick links for current students: Registration | Courses


Choose from 19 diverse academic concentrations in pursuit of an affordable and accessible master’s degree that will make your personal and professional goals a reality.

Stemming from the Black Studies programs and departments formed in the late 1960s, Africana Studies is the study of cultures, politics, and histories of peoples of African origin in both Africa and in the African diaspora. 

Concentration details and requirements

American Studies is an inherently interdisciplinary approach to the history and cultures of the United States that draws on diverse perspectives and questions academic and national boundaries.

Concentration details and requirements

Students in the MALS concentration in Modernity consider the differences and similarities between modernity and modernism–and post-modernism as well—as they pursue a rich variety of graduate courses in literature, history, art history, film studies, sociology and other disciplines.

Concentration details and requirements

 The aim of the MALS concentration in the Archaeology of the Classical, Late Antique, and Islamic Worlds is to explore the material culture of these worlds through an interdisciplinary lens, drawing upon the fields of archaeology, history, art history, classics, anthropology and middle eastern studies.

Concentration details and requirements

Childhood and Youth Studies engages the issues, concepts and debates that illuminate the lived experience of children and the wider social, economic, cultural and political factors that condition that lived experience, as well as childhood itself as a social and historical construct.

Concentration details and requirements

Fashion is an economic force, a culture industry and a powerful way to convey identity, politics, status, and personality. This is a groundbreaking area of specialization that offers the chance to study the phenomenon of fashion from a variety of standpoints and in a unique interdisciplinary framework.

Concentration details and requirements

The MALS concentration in Film Studies is devoted to intensive analysis of the development and presence of international and national cinema as a medium and art form, from the silent era to the contemporary state of digital moviemaking.

Concentration details and requirements

This concentration is a vital component of re-envisioning-both theoretically and methodologically-the teaching and the studying of the nation-state as an all-powerful incubator of violence in the context of modern Europe. The concentration aims to decenter Europe, deliberately incorporating a transnational and global approach to better understand phenomena of mass violence in the modern era.

Concentration details and requirements

The Global Early Modern Studies concentration builds on existing strengths of the doctoral certificate program in Renaissance Studies, and the MALS concentration in Western Intellectual Tradition. It is also a vital component of re-envisioning our teaching of the fifteenth through eighteenth centuries.

Concentration details and requirements

The 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.

Concentration details and requirements

The aim of the International Studies MALS concentration is to address critical world issues through a range of critical approaches and debates that best prepare students to pursue further studies relating to their individual interests

Concentration details and requirements

In the concentration in Latin American, Caribbean and Latino Studies, students will explore the history, politics and culture of the diverse social groups linked to the greater legacy of Latin American societies in the United States. 

Concentration details and requirements

The Law and Society concentration within the MALS program introduces students to the methodologies, issues, and debates that today form the center of the law and society movement. 

Concentration details and requirements

Translation studies, and the practice of literary translation, in particular, have over the past couple of decades moved to the center of humanistic inquiry. This concentration explores these fields and encourages students to engage with the considerable cultural resources New York has to offer as a world-class hub for publishing, television, and film, the fine arts, and other cultural industries.

Concentration details and requirements

This concentration is for students wishing to pursue an interest in the history of New York City and its cultures. Depending on their interests and expertise, students will consider New York City’s past, its populations, and its productions from a variety of disciplinary perspectives.

Concentration details and requirements

The MALS concentration in Social and Environmental Justice Studies frames these issues ecologically to illuminate pathways and processes for justice.  The goal is to address both the environmental and the social in tandem, as they exist in the world.

Concentration details and requirements

The Urban Education MALS concentration is designed to immerse students in a range of topics and approaches to understanding urban education and equip them, ultimately, to identify and pursue their own interests, scholarly or practical, in urban education.

Concentration details and requirements

The MALS concentration in Western Intellectual Traditions explores bedrock historical, cultural and literary expressions that contribute to shaping a mindset known as “western.” In a world increasingly interested in global ties and world histories, the concentration in classical through enlightenment contributions reinserts the western intellectual tradition, a tradition sometimes exalted, sometimes attacked, sometimes adapted to other societies.

Concentration details and requirements

This concentration features courses on feminist texts and theories, and allows students explore disciplines such as literature, history, psychology, and sociology, as well as in the various interdisciplinary programs for doctoral students.

Concentration details and requirements

photo of the empire state building in new york city, looking up at the top from street-level, between the roofs of much shorter buildings

Life of the Mind in the Heart of the City

Study in the world’s most remarkable classroom. Besides The Graduate Center’s vibrant academic community — based in midtown, a short walk from Penn Station and Grand Central as well as most offices — students can tap into the vast cultural, intellectual, and scholarly resources of New York City and the entire CUNY system. And because New York is the center of so many industries — media, fashion, finance, and art, to name a few — students will gain access to unparalleled internship and employment opportunities while they work toward their degrees and after they complete them.

MALS professor and students in classroom

Pursue Your Interests

Learn alongside master’s and doctoral candidates in small seminar courses led by accomplished and charismatic faculty. Engage in wide-ranging, challenging discussions and develop advanced analytic, critical thinking, and communications skills. Then, complete a final thesis or capstone project that reflects your passions, whether it’s a film, digital portfolio, website, or traditional paper.

Explore our Courses
GC graduates at commencement

Invest in Your Future

The best way to judge an academic program is by looking at the success of its graduates. Our alumni use their degrees to pursue a range of opportunities. Some go on to pursue doctoral degrees, including at Yale; the University of California, Berkeley; and here at The Graduate Center. Other alumni have gone on to careers in digital publishing, technology, politics, and fashion at organizations like Sesame Street Workshop, HarperCollins Publishers, and the Rubin Museum as well as at the New York City mayor’s office. Our program’s focus on rigorous, cross-disciplinary study gives students the tools to pursue careers that spark their passion and curiosity.

Get the latest alumni news

Recent News

Oct 25, 2022

Ghosts, Witches, and Their Harrowing Stories

In a new book, an alumna and owner of a New York City ghost tour company explores the lives and empowering legends of female ghosts and witches.

  • Alumni News
  • GC Stories

Request Information

Tell me more about this degree!

Thank you for your interest in the Graduate Center. Please fill out the form below to be added to our mailing list.

CAPTCHA This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
5 + 11 =
Solve this simple math problem and enter the result. E.g. for 1+3, enter 4.

Contact Us

Elizabeth Macaulay

Associate Professor and Executive Officer, Liberal Studies; Associate Professor, Middle Eastern Studies; Associate Professor, Digital Humanities

Anna Akasoy

Professor, History; Professor, Liberal Studies; Professor, Medieval Studies; Professor, Comparative Literature; Professor, Middle Eastern Studies; Professor, Global Early Modern Studies; Deputy Executive Officer, Liberal Studies

David T. Humphries

Professor and Deputy Executive Officer, Liberal Studies

Katherine Koutsis

Assistant Program Officer, Liberal Studies