Master of Liberal Arts


The essence of a liberal education is the ability to read deeply, listen closely, think critically, solve creatively, and communicate effectively. It gives you a sense of the big picture and how things relate to one another, enabling you to lead with confidence. “The liberally educated person has a mind that can operate well in all fields,” former University of Chicago President Robert Maynard Hutchins said. 

With a Master of Liberal Arts degree, you can advance your leadership skills, accelerate your professional development, and amplify your impact in your field—all while exploring the big ideas of our time across four major disciplines. That is the power of the UChicago MLA.


Define your educational experience with a customizable curriculum of four core classes, four electives, and a thesis course. (See a sample of one possible curriculum journey below.)

A chart displaying the four pillars of the MLA curriculum: 4 core courses, 3 general elective courses, 1 non-western elective, and 1 thesis or special project.
  • Four core courses (one of each: humanities, social sciences, biological sciences, and physical sciences)
  • Four electives, one of which must be of non-western focus
  • Thesis course
  • Students register for one-to-three courses per quarter (autumn, winter, spring, summer).
  • Classes meet online or in-person once a week for ten weeks on weekday evenings and Saturday mornings for three hours.
  • Students may complete the program in as little as one year or as many as five years.


After completing their core requirements, students may pursue a concentration in Ethics and Leadership or Literary Studies by taking three electives in related coursework and writing their thesis on a relevant topic.

Take an interdisciplinary look at various types of leaders and leadership strategies across a variety of contexts. Examine literature to interrogate the ethical implications of the choices we make. Apply a creative approach to discover insights into your own leadership style or the leadership at your organization.

Explore a wide selection of literary works, becoming conversant in some of the major structures and methods of literary analysis. You will read some of the best writing that humanity has produced and learn from faculty members who approach literature from a wide range of disciplinary standpoints.

If you are interested in learning more about our Master of Liberal Arts, please fill out this form to speak to a member of our enrollment team.