About GLS

Graduate Liberal Studies (GLS) at Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, is an interdisciplinary master of arts program designed for part-time studies. The only program of its kind in Canada, GLS is both flexible and diverse, allowing working individuals to explore the ideas and values that shape our culture.

The program is a 30-year community of inquiry offering evening courses for adult-learners in Vancouver and communities beyond. Students may complete the degree via small in-person, live-Zoom, or travel seminars (Oxford, UK, Spain, and Italy). Our courses are wide-ranging and interdisciplinary, drawing on perspectives from literature, philosophy, environmental studies, and creative writing, to name a few. Consistently, we use the past to question the present, leading to lively debates about historical and contemporary issues in a way that deepens students’ understanding of themselves, each other, and the complexities of the world we live in. 

In the first year, students join a small, tightly-knit cohort weekly by live-Zoom, guided from Ancient Greece to Postmodernism by their SFU professor. These live-Zoom seminars are complemented by two in-person instructional weekends at SFU’s downtown campus, one in the fall and one in the spring. After the first year, students pursue the courses and learning format that best suit them, choosing from in-person classes, small live-Zoom seminars, or on-the-ground travel electives. After 6 courses, students may complete the program via coursework, extended essays, or a thesis/fine-arts project. 

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Why liberal studies?

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"GLS opened new avenues for me at a time when I was becoming intellectually and professionally restless."
–GLS Student

Master of arts

Join a Community of Learning

Are you ready to further your academic studies at a graduate level? Our master of arts program is designed for working students to engage with graduate-level discussion and coursework through part-time courses online or at SFU's Harbour Centre.

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Explore the World

Interested in studying in the U.K., Italy or Spain?  One of the highlights of Graduate Liberal Studies is our Travel Study option.

GLS students have many opportunities to participate in full-credit field school courses organized by Simon Fraser University (SFU) or by other universities with GLS programs.

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Travel study

Current Students