Why Liberal Studies?

There are many reasons for pursuing a degree in Liberal Studies.  For some, it may be to fulfill a sense of having “missed something” in the process of acquiring their previous education. This is often expressed in terms of not having read certain classic texts or having read them too superficially or instrumentally, or having missed whole areas of knowledge that now seem central to understanding personal, political, cultural or public policy issues that pervade the student’s personal and/or professional life.

For others, it may be to satisfy a yearning to be part of a “community of learning,” to read books, with others, to debate seriously with others, and to do so within some kind of externally validated structure.

Alternatively, it may be the freedom to pursue a Masters of Arts in a part-time setting without being constrained to a specialised academic track.

Specific Skill Sets

SFU's Graduate Liberal Studies program allows personal growth, educational enrichment and the development of specific skill sets that can be applied in real world situations such as: 

  • Critical and Creative Thinking: Students will add to their critical thinking skills by critically analyzing both primary and secondary source texts, exploring evidence, arguments and opposing interpretations and by challenging assumptions. The interdisciplinary focus of the program encourages creative, non-linear thinking.  
  • Improved Communication Skills: Students will improve communication skills by participating in discussion-focused seminars, preparing and delivering oral presentations and by leading seminar discussions. They will improve their abilities to pose meaningful questions that advance understanding and knowledge, their ability to cooperate with others and work in diverse teams.
  • Developed Writing Skills: Students will be given opportunities to express themselves in a variety of forms including written essays, reflective journals, creative writing, visual arts, and a graduating Project.
  • Research and Analytical Skills: Students will gain and/or enhance research skills, such as defining a research question, conducting library and web research and sharing research issues with fellow students.  
  • Project Management Skills: Students are challenged to define and meet goals, manage time, and complete their Projects successfully.
  • Personal Development:  The respectful, discussion-based format of the GLS seminar-style classes encourage the development of  self-confidence and self-understanding in our student body. Our diverse course offerings allow students to pursue an academic path suited to better understanding themselves and their place in their world.

Future Opportunities

A Masters of Arts degree is sought after by many employers, and a MA in Liberal Studies can increase these opportunities by demonstrating the applicant's ability to learn and synergise information gleaned in multiple disciplines and sources. 

Many of our graduates choose to continue along an academic path in pursuit of a PhD.  A Masters in Arts in Liberal Studies positions these students with the intellectual and technical skill-sets necessary to engage in further research at a Doctoral level, either within the GLS home through the Special Arrangement's department, or elsewhere.  

"GLS changed my direction completely. After a PhD and two post-docs I am now a senior research fellow in a field I didn’t know existed before GLS."