General Information

Who attends Graduate Liberal Studies (GLS) at Wesleyan?

Our program attracts a diverse group of individuals, including educators, administrators, journalists, health professionals, business people, artists, lawyers, full-time parents, writers, and non-profit leaders. Although primarily from Connecticut and the New England region, our students come from all across the United States and all over the world and range in age and experience from recent college graduates to retirees. What they share in common is a desire to challenge themselves intellectually in the pursuit of more meaningful lives.

Can students take courses without pursing a degree?

Students may choose to take courses for personal or professional enrichment without pursuing a degree, or they may apply for admission for the degree programs: Master of Arts in Liberal Studies (MALS) or Master of Philosophy in Liberal Arts (MPhil).

 What is the curriculum like?

Graduate Liberal Studies offers courses in the areas of arts, humanities, mathematics, sciences, and social sciences. The broad, interdisciplinary GLS curriculum is academically rigorous and creatively intense, inspiring students to produce their best work in an intellectually vibrant community.

How large are the class sizes?

Graduate seminars provide students with the personal attention and intimate liberal arts experience that is a hallmark of Wesleyan University. The average class has 12-14 students. The maximum enrollment for classes is set at 18, and classes do not run with fewer than 4 students.

What is the faculty like?

GLS faculty include some of Wesleyan’s most acclaimed professors and artists-in-residence, in addition to well-known writers, artists, and distinguished faculty form area universities.

Will this degree help me gain admittance to a Ph.D. program?

Students whose goal is to pursue a Ph.D. are encouraged to research the requirements of the programs in their area of interest in order to understand whether or not their work in our interdisciplinary Master’s degree will benefit them in their future applications. Students who do so often do successfully apply and gain admittance to doctoral programs, most typically in the fields of the arts, social sciences, and humanities. Many students enter Graduate Liberal Studies at Wesleyan, as degree candidates or for non-degree study, to assess their own readiness for doctoral work, specify their area of interest, and to hone the skills they will need to pursue further study.

What career opportunities will be available to students after they complete MALS with Wesleyan?

Students completing either the MALS or MPhil at Wesleyan are well-positioned to either advance their career in whatever professional area they are in or to launch a new one. Many GLS students work in the field of education service, either as teachers or administrators, while many others pursue careers as communication, development, and arts professionals. That said, a recent survey of GLS alumni saw graduates running their own businesses, working as consultants for science and technology firms, doing graphic design, and a whole slew of things. We find that our students’ interests and motivation are the best predictor of their job prospects. Students are drawn to our program because it feeds their intellectual curiosity, dramatically improves their writing and communication skills, and gives them specific knowledge in their field. That said, students hoping to make a career advancement or change for which a different, specific degree is preferred (such as an MSW, MBA or JD) should speak to someone working professionally in their field to find out whether or not their work with GLS will ultimately be advantageous to their career advancement.


How will my application be evaluated?

Applications are evaluated to determine the applicant’s level of preparation for graduate research and writing. Importance is placed on the quality of the essay and strength of the recommendation letters. The essay should reflect a prospective student’s intellectual curiosity and initiative to research ideas and themes about which they are passionate. While we do consider undergraduate transcripts, the admissions committee understands that these may not always be indicative of an applicant’s potential and desire to succeed in our program.

When can I apply?

Students may apply at any time throughout the year to study in program, but there are three specific deadlines for degree applications (typically in July, November and April). Students seeking to study as non-degree candidates must submit an application form and registration form with payment; undergraduate transcripts and proof of immunizations should be received before the beginning of the first term of study. Information about applying for degree candidacy is extensive and can be found on our degree application page. 

What pre-requisites are necessary? Do I have to take the GRE in order to apply?

The only pre-requisite for the program is a bachelor’s degree. TOEFL scores are required for international applicants. We do not require GRE or other standardized test scores for admission to degree or non-degree study.

Is a bachelor’s degree required to pursue a Master’s degree?

Yes - a bachelor's degree is required for any form of study (degree, non-degree or audit) with Graduate Liberal Studies at Wesleyan University.

I graduated from a college many years ago, and am no longer in contact with my former professors. May I ask professional colleagues to write my letters of recommendation?

Wesleyan’s GLS program is designed for adults who may have been out of school for a while, and allows students to take two courses as non-degree students, the grades of which will waive the Academic Recommendation requirement when the student applies for degree candidacy. Students who cannot pursue study without financial aid, but are not able to acquire Academic Recommendations from former professors should contact Sarah-Jane Ripa at 860-685-3345 to discuss alternative letter writers.


How much does the program cost?

Tuition through the 2015 summer term is $2700 per class, and a non-refundable $100 registration fee is due at the time of registration. Some classes have course fees, which are listed in the course descriptions for those classes. Other information about tuition and fees can be found on our Tuition page.

What are the payment options available?

Payment options include personal check, credit card, wire transfer, payment submitted by employer, and TMS (Tuition Management Systems) . Please refer to our Payment page for more detailed information.

Will there be financial aid or scholarships available?

Yes, GLS offers scholarship aid to students. All degree candidates may apply for scholarship aid, and non-degree and degree candidates eligible for the Greater Middletown Area Teacher’s Scholarship may apply for that scholarship. Student loans are also available. Please refer to our Financial Aid page for more information about our financial aid available.

About Credits

Are credits transferable?

All course credit transfer is subject to the decision of the receiving college or university. We cannot control another institution’s acceptance of our credits.

How many credits are required/ what are the requirements to obtain this Master’s degree?

The requirements for the MALS are as follows:

6 courses (18 credits) within the area of concentration
6 courses (18 credits) outside the area of concentration
Optional master's essay or project instead of the sixth course within concentration
Courses must be taken in at least three of the five areas of concentration

The requirements for the MPhil are as follows:

5 courses (15 credits) within the area of concentration
2 courses (6 credits) outside the area of concentration
2 courses (6 credits) electives, either inside of outside the area of concentration
1 thesis
Courses must be taken in at least three of the five areas of concentration

What's the difference between "for credit" and "auditing"? Why can only some of the courses be audited, and not others?

The difference between audit and credit is that, by definition, and "auditor" receives no feedback and is not assessed by the professor in any way. A "for-credit" student must be assessed on the basis of their work and participation. 

Unfortunately, this means that it is not possible to audit workshop classes. For such classes, the premise is based on active feedback for both classroom dialogue and written assignments. Both of these require the professor's time and expertise. Students in workshop classes receive copious amounts of personalized attention and feedback. All students may register for workshop classes for credit; they are open to degree and non-degree students, and there are no prerequesites. 

 About Course Load & Timeline

Are there required core courses?

Students are not required to take any particular courses so long as they meet the distribution requirements in their concentration for the completion of the degree (6 within concentration, 6 outside of concentration for MLS candidates, 5 within concentration, 2 outside of concentration and 2 electives for MPHIL candidates).

How long does it take to complete the degree?

Students are expected to complete all degree requirements within six years of their first GLS course, however many students finish in four years or less. Students studying full-time may finish in as little as a year and a half. If circumstances arise that prevent a student from completing the degree within six years, students may petition for an extension of one or two years. Eight years is the maximum amount of time students may take to complete degree requirements.

Is a minimum grade point average required for admission or graduation?

There is no minimum GPA required for admission to the program. Once enrolled, all students are expected to earn above a grade of B in their classes. Grades below B- will not count toward degree requirement. Emphasis is placed on graduate level academic performance. The expectation is that students maintain at least an A- average.

When are classes held?

GLS at Wesleyan is a liberal arts graduate program designed for working adults. Therefore, most classes will meet in evenings, on weekends, and over the summer, depending on the course.

If I cannot attend courses for a semester or two, will I lose my place in the program?

Students may apply for a leave of absence if they are degree candidates unable to enroll in a course for three consecutive semesters.


Will there be housing for GLS students?

Wesleyan University offers housing to GLS students during the summer term. Housing may or may not be available at other times of the year. Students needing to make fall or spring housing arrangements are encouraged to visit the Wesleyan classifieds, which often contains private but reputable housing listings, or speak with a GLS student services representative. Housing is limited, and assigned on a first-come, first-served basis. Students interested in housing should carefully read a sample Housing Contract to be sure they are able to comply with campus housing expectations. Students wishing to take advantage of housing should contact our office at Once housing assignments have been determined, the student will receive a contract in the mail to sign and remit with payment.


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