Master of Arts in Liberal Studies

The Advising Process

The advising relationship is the heart of the Master’s program. Since there is no prefabricated curriculum—no set of courses that every student must take—students and their advisors work together to design an education as rich as they can collaboratively imagine. Through an ongoing conversation with two advisors (a Skidmore faculty member and a MALS academic advisor), students map out the intellectual territory they wish to understand and choose a set of courses through which to explore it. By thinking through these choices with their advisors, students ensure that when they come to the end of their Master’s education, they have not simply finished a series of classes but completed a unified course of study—a whole much greater than the sum of its parts.

Students work with their advisors to choose courses and to justify the reason behind their choices. These plans are designed to be clear enough to give shape to the student’s program of study, and yet flexible enough to let the students re-focus their explorations in response to what they learn in their individual courses. Students develop the first draft of their curricula during their first meeting with their faculty advisors, and often revise them repeatedly as they progress through the program.