Master of Arts in Liberal Studies (M.A.L.S.)


single-paper-background MALS - Pleasants Hall

Hollins’ Master of Arts in Liberal Studies (M.A.L.S.) degree offers flexible class scheduling with online options and numerous approved courses to allow students the chance to design their own degree to best fit their needs. The M.A.L.S. degree is designed for the adult learner who is seeking a career-enhancing master’s degree in liberal studies, who desires a strong liberal educational grounding in preparation for professional school, or who simply loves to learn. This degree is customizable, emphasizing liberal arts hallmark strengths in writing, critical thinking, and creativity and is built on Hollins University’s tradition of excellence in these areas.

Advantages of the Hollins University M.A.L.S.: 

  • You’ll be taught by world-class faculty, many with years of applied knowledge.
  • It is possible to complete the entire program online, so that you don’t have to put your life on hold to get your degree.
  • It is customizable, to best support your needs for your life.
  • It is cost-effective. At just $435 per credit, the M.A.L.S. at Hollins University is one of the most affordable M.A.L.S. degrees available.


Students must complete 10 courses. All students are required to complete a social sciences and humanities core course. The final requirement is a capstone experience, which brings together the theoretical concepts learned through coursework in an applied project.

In addition to the core courses, students must take an additional seven courses to build an area of focus. Working together with a faculty advisor, students can design their own program of study that will help them develop their skills in the following three areas.

  1. Writing: Assignments throughout the curriculum will foster the development of scholarly writing. Whether a short essay, a critique or a policy statement, writing assignments will help the learner move beyond the classroom to the realm of impact and influence.
  2. Critical Thinking: Faculty will challenge students to discern fact from opinion, challenge assumptions, and evaluate evidence using examples and cases from a variety of disciplines.
  3. Creativity: Whether it’s a poem or painting that inspires feeling and thought, or a brilliant concept that fundamentally changes the way we work, creativity fuels innovation by looking at things differently, through unique and unexpected combinations and connections. We will explore the creative process through both traditional and nontraditional examples.

Scheduling Options

Hollins offers courses fall, spring, and summer; faculty teach in the evenings. Students may take classes part time or full time. They have eight years from matriculation in which to complete the degree requirements.

Hollins offers even more flexible scheduling with online course offerings.



  • 2024-25 academic year – $435 per credit hour
    • Licensed, practicing teachers are discounted $100 per course.
  • Technology fee: $162.50 (part time, fall/spring term); $325 (full time, fall/spring term); $165 (summer)


  • Application processing fee: $40
  • Nonrefundable deposit: $100

Application Requirements

  • Bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university
  • Undergraduate transcripts
  • Statement of educational objectives
  • Three letters of recommendation indicating the student’s capacity to undertake this program
  • An admission interview is required upon acceptance to the program
Scholarship Opportunities

The Sue Zirkle Frazier Scholarship is awarded to liberal studies students demonstrating financial need and academic success. Federal aid is available to eligible students in the form of Unsubsidized Stafford Loans or Graduate PLUS Loans. To apply for these, students must complete the FAFSA annually. Student loans are not available to international students.

“I have slowly come to value education as an agent of traction that binds an individual to themselves….No matter what has transpired, I have returned to the same goal – to use education to lift myself and others higher. I would not be here without education and the means to advocate for myself.”

“Hollins and the M.A.L.S. program provided me with a wonderful opportunity. The classes were taught by engaging experts in the field. The structure of the program was both flexible and rigorous. I was able to learn, engage with the specific areas I was most passionate about, and balance the classwork with my job. It is a wonderful program for anyone seeking to increase their professional capacity or their own intellectual curiosity.”

“No single choice in the past 20 years has impacted my life more than the decision to participate in the graduate program at Hollins. The program gave me confidence in my own ability…the confidence to take risk beyond my capability.”

“I earned my undergraduate degree from a large research university. I never had small classes or the opportunity to build close, personal relationships with my professors until I entered the Hollins M.A.L.S. program. The stimulating environment, in addition to rigorous graduate classes and plenty of writing, prepared me for the demands of law school. The Hollins program has been a real asset in my educational journey.”