Broaden your perspective and learn to communicate across cultures. Broaden your perspective and learn to communicate across cultures. Broaden your perspective and learn to communicate across cultures. Broaden your perspective and learn to communicate across cultures. Broaden your perspective and learn to communicate across cultures.

School of Graduate and Professional Studies

Liberal Studies 5 Year Master's


Graduate Admission


Why choose liberal studies at North Central College?

A 5-Year Master of Arts in Liberal Studies (MALS) will help you will become a more seasoned writer, critical thinker and change leader, while exploring topics across disciplines that suit your professional needs and intellectual curiosity. North Central’s MALS is distinguished from a master’s degree in liberal arts because it offers two specialized programs. You can choose to focus on one of the following areas:

Writing, Editing and Publishing: A unique combination of professional and creative writing, plus editorial and management skills that prepare you to write, edit and publish in today’s wide-open writing environment.

Culture and Society: A flexible master’s program that allows students to combine MALS courses to create a comprehensive curriculum specifically tailored to your needs and interests.

Both tracks are committed to common goals that are grounded in principles of a liberal arts education at North Central College.  

Each program equips you to:

  • Write and communicate with grace, power and precision
  • Think critically, creatively and ethically
  • Combine knowledge from many disciplines to gain a more holistic view of crucial issues
  • Lead in bringing social change that betters family, work and community

Small seminar courses are taught by many of the College’s most distinguished teachers and writers, who are passionate about their students’ success. All courses meet during evening hours. North Central’s ideal location—just 30 minutes west of Chicago by train and two blocks from the Naperville, Illinois train station—makes the MALS program accessible to city and suburban professionals.

More Department information

Liberal Studies, B.A. or B.S./MALS

Students accepted into this program earn both a bachelor's degree (in any discipline) and the Master of Arts degree in Liberal Studies with the completion of 147 credit hours. Normally both degrees are completed within five years.

Admission Criteria

Students with a minimum G.P.A. of 3.333 may apply to the program no earlier than the third term of their freshman year and no later than the first term of their junior year.

Program Requirements

The program enables full-time students to complete 12 hours of graduate work. Six of these hours may count toward both the undergraduate and graduate degrees. The other six hours are beyond the 120 hours required for the bachelor's degree. These hours may be used to meet major or minor requirements (with department or program approval) or as electives. After receiving their bachelor's degree, students take an additional 21 hours of graduate work in their fifth year to complete the requirements for the Master of Arts degree in Liberal Arts.

Liberal Studies Opportunities

A North Central education integrates career preparation with rich academic study. Our faculty encourages you to refine and apply your knowledge in an interconnected world. Here you'll learn to think independently and work globally to solve problems and lead.

Invest in your future

Choosing the right college is a big decision. Don’t make it alone. North Central’s admission and financial aid team is here to help you design a financial aid solution that works best for you and your family.

Need-based loans, merit scholarships, grants, campus employment—these are just some of the resources available to you. Nearly 90 percent of first-year students and 100 percent of all students eligible for aid receive aid. Let our financial aid team assist you in finding the best value for you.

Learn more about financial aid and costs for North Central College

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