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Graduate Liberal Studies Program | Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences Simon Fraser University Calendar | Spring 2018

Liberal Studies

Master of Arts

This program, which leads to a master of arts, liberal studies (MALS), is for adults returning to part-time study. The program, which is affiliated with the Department of Humanities, is offered at Simon Fraser University Vancouver during evening and weekend hours.

In the best tradition of liberal education, the program addresses some of the great works of our intellectual and artistic heritage, studies the perennial concerns that have shaped our culture, and explores contemporary perspectives on traditional ideas and values. The interdisciplinary seminars offer wide reading, careful reflection, and intense discussion. They are taught by faculty who are chosen for their expertise and teaching excellence, and for their interest in interdisciplinary studies. The program emphasizes a community of inquiry and discussion over independent research and entails several special expectations within the graduate study general regulations. Students should expect to participate in out-of-class activities, such as pre-class dinners, that encourage interchange and enhance intellectual community.

Approved for part-time study, the program is designed for individuals having other obligations, and who may for that reason require greater or lesser amounts of time to complete the program.

Admission Requirements

Applicants must satisfy the liberal studies graduate program committee of academic suitability. In addition to the normal graduate admission requirements, applicants must demonstrate readiness through reference letters, written work samples, and normally an interview. Exceptionally, the graduate program committee may recommend admission to those who do not meet normal requirements but who, by reason of prior experience, strong credentials and demonstrated competence, are particularly suited.

Newly admitted students must attend an introductory short course prior to the beginning of the first course in the fall term.

Degree Requirements

Students complete seminar courses and choose one of three options: two extended essays and oral exam; one project and oral exam; and two additional courses and a field exam. Students may enrol in one or two courses per term. Exceptionally, and by agreement of the graduate program committee and the department involved, a student may complete two graduate courses in other departments toward this degree.

Courses

LS courses are intensive seminars. Core courses LS 800 and 801 develop a common readings base. The other six seminar courses may vary in approach and content each time they are offered, and will address a central tension in our intellectual lives, trace some of its sources, and consider its impact on our experience of the present. All courses are cross-disciplinary and may draw on faculty from across the University.

Extended Essays Option

Students who choose this option will complete a total of six courses and will also submit two extended essays for oral examination. The following two courses will be completed in the first two terms.

LS 800 - Reflections on Reason and Passion I (5)

The first of two core courses that constitute an extended examination of the tension between reason and passion in human experience. This course will emphasize close reading and discussion of works, drawn from different cultures and epochs, that reflect on human passion.

LS 801 - Reflections on Reason and Passion II (5)

The second of two core courses that constitute an extended examination of the tension between reason and passion in human experience. This course will examine writings by some who have insisted on the indispensability of reasoning as a guide to action and the source of truth, as well as writings by some of those who on various grounds have cast doubt on this faith in human reason.

Section Instructor Day/Time Location
G100 Gary McCarron
We 6:30 PM – 9:20 PM
HCC 2250, Vancouver

Students also complete

LS 898 - Liberal Studies Graduating Seminar (5)

The final seminar for those students in the graduate liberal studies program pursuing the course option MA. The seminar will revisit the themes raised in the two opening core seminars (LS 800 and 801).

Section Instructor Day/Time Location
G100 Stephen Duguid
Tu 6:30 PM – 9:20 PM
HCC 2250, Vancouver

The remaining two courses may be selected from among those offered in the program (see LS courses) except for LS 998 and 999.

Extended essays, developed from course work papers, may make significant use of non-written media, and is examined as specified in Graduate General Regulations “1.10.1 Thesis Examination" on page 225.

Project Option

Students who choose this option will complete six courses and will also submit one project for oral examination. The following two courses, which will be completed in the first two terms, are among the six required.

LS 800 - Reflections on Reason and Passion I (5)

The first of two core courses that constitute an extended examination of the tension between reason and passion in human experience. This course will emphasize close reading and discussion of works, drawn from different cultures and epochs, that reflect on human passion.

LS 801 - Reflections on Reason and Passion II (5)

The second of two core courses that constitute an extended examination of the tension between reason and passion in human experience. This course will examine writings by some who have insisted on the indispensability of reasoning as a guide to action and the source of truth, as well as writings by some of those who on various grounds have cast doubt on this faith in human reason.

Section Instructor Day/Time Location
G100 Gary McCarron
We 6:30 PM – 9:20 PM
HCC 2250, Vancouver

The remaining four courses may be selected from those offered in the program (see LS courses).

Field Examination Option

Students who choose this option will complete eight courses and will also write a field examination based on material that is covered in three of the completed courses. Field examination preparation is on the supervisory committee’s advice. The following two courses, which will be completed in the first two terms, are among the eight required.

LS 800 - Reflections on Reason and Passion I (5)

The first of two core courses that constitute an extended examination of the tension between reason and passion in human experience. This course will emphasize close reading and discussion of works, drawn from different cultures and epochs, that reflect on human passion.

LS 801 - Reflections on Reason and Passion II (5)

The second of two core courses that constitute an extended examination of the tension between reason and passion in human experience. This course will examine writings by some who have insisted on the indispensability of reasoning as a guide to action and the source of truth, as well as writings by some of those who on various grounds have cast doubt on this faith in human reason.

Section Instructor Day/Time Location
G100 Gary McCarron
We 6:30 PM – 9:20 PM
HCC 2250, Vancouver

The remaining six courses may be selected from those offered in the program (see LS courses).

Supervisory Committee

Supervisory committees are arranged by the graduate program committee chair. With the dean of graduate studies’ approval, the supervisory and exam process for the extended essays or project may be modified to emphasize collegial exchange.

Academic Requirements within the Graduate General Regulations

All graduate students must satisfy the academic requirements that are specified in the Graduate General Regulations, as well as the specific requirements for the program in which they are enrolled.