The Master of Liberal Arts


The Master of Liberal Arts (MLA) at Spring Hill College is designed to provide students the structure to design an academic specialization that clearly reflects their professional and personal needs.  The underlying premise is that interdisciplinary study leads to intellectual independence and satisfaction not always found in discipline-based programs of study.  The program is based on three common objectives of liberal arts education:

  • an appreciation of students own intellectual and cultural heritage
  • the intellectual breadth appropriate to participants and leaders in public life
  • an appreciation of diverse cultural traditions

To achieve these objectives, the program's curriculum combines four elements: the core curriculum, five elective courses, a diversity requirement, and the capstone course.

While the MLA is an opportunity for self-discovery, it can also serve as a vehicle to a new career or means of increasing expertise in a respective field.  Concentrations available include:  Fine Arts, Leadership & Ethics, Literature, History & Social Science.  Students may also complete the Graduate Certificate in Leadership and Ethics  or the Graduate Certificate in Studio Art as part of the MLA degree, depending on the concentration selected.

The Curriculum

First, the core curriculum consists of four courses: Modernity, an entry-level course which introduces students to the foundations of the modern West; a second course which further explores the western intellectual and cultural heritage; a course in history or social science; a course in literature or fine arts.

Second, students explore more specialized topics in the liberal arts through five elective courses. Electives may be focused in an area of concentration or selected from a range of academic disciplines. The concentration consists of four of the five elective courses, with one elective to be completed outside the area of concentration.

Third, to complement the traditional content of the core curriculum, the diversity requirement is fulfilled by taking a course in Non-Western Culture, Women's Studies, or Cultural Diversity. This requirement may be completed within the concentration (e.g., a course in African-American literature in the Literature concentration).


The Fine Arts concentration provides master's level instruction in selected areas of studio art for students with adequate prior training.

The Leadership and Ethics concentration is designed for students interested in acquiring, within a liberal arts context, the knowledge and understanding appropriate to the exercise of leadership in organizations and in the broader community. Students may select courses which explore human communication, the social psychology of organizations, the ethics appropriate to leaders, and the concept of leadership itself. Courses from the graduate business curriculum such as Organization Behavior, Business Ethics and Social Responsibility, Leadership and Conflict Resolution are included in this concentration, as well as courses specially designed for the MLA curriculum.

The History and Social Science concentration includes courses such as Civil War and Reconstruction, Women in American Politics, Middle Eastern Culture, and The Gilded Age.

The Literature concentration includes classical literary studies (e.g., courses in Shakespeare, The British Novel, and Hawthorne and Melville), as well as more contemporary studies which go beyond the traditional Western literary canon (e.g., courses in Latin American literature, African-American literature, and Women's literature).

Capstone Course

Finally, in the capstone course, students demonstrate their capacity for independent learning in the liberal arts at the graduate level. This course may take various forms: a seminar, a directed study, or a creative project.

Elective Courses

  • Historical Studies
  • Studies in Literature
  • Studies in Art and Creativity
  • Studies in Philosophy and Religion
  • Studies in Science and Society
  • Studies in the Social Sciences
  • Social Institutions
  • International Studies
  • Studies in Leadership And Ethics
  • Women's Studies
  • Studies in Cultural Diversity
  • Independent Study

Tuition and Fees

Program Course Offerings

Current course offerings are available on the Registrar's Office web site