Masters

The Master’s Degree

Liberal and Integrative Studies is a graduate degree program built on more than 35 years of experience in individualized learning. The curriculum offers students the opportunity to design a degree consistent with their own educational goals, using available institutional and area resources. The department’s major purpose is to serve students whose needs and objectives are best met by combinations of courses or mixes of learning formats not available through established curricula.

The program structure emphasizes the integration of different disciplines using a variety of instructional methods to form a well-rounded and individualized academic experience.  In addition to building essential skills and knowledge, the Liberal and Integrative Studies Department assists learners in deepening their understanding of the values, meanings, concerns, choices, and commitments that are fundamental for good citizenship and a flourishing life.

On entering the program, students must take LNT 501 where they design individualized degree proposals and assemble their degree committee.  Each degree proposal is an individualized plan that is tailored to fit the particular goals, needs, and interests of the student.  All degree proposals must be approved by the student’s LNT degree committee.  Self-assessment, independent study, multidisciplinary courses/studies, and credit for prior learning assessment are all course options that may be integrated within individual degree proposals.  Student degree proposals must be interdisciplinary but may also focus on an area such as human resource development, global education, philosophy, women and gender studies, African-American studies, Liberty Studies, technology, or society and the law.

Admission Requirements

Admission to the graduate program is limited due to the individualized nature of the degree process. In addition to applying to UIS, students are required to complete a separate application packet to the LNT Department that includes:

  1. an LNT application form,
  2. a personal statement,
  3. two letters of reference, and
  4. a conversation with an LNT faculty member at the department’s discretion

Deadlines are April 15 for fall semester, and November 15 for spring semester. Admissions are continuous until an incoming class is filled. 

If a graduate applicant has a cumulative undergraduate grade point average of less than 2.50, (3.0 for the online degree), full admission to the program requires the completion of eight hours of course work at the graduate level with grades of B or better (grades of B- or lower will not be accepted). The department may stipulate whether these hours must be completed before enrolling in LNT 501. For such students, full admission to the program requires the successful completion of eight hours of work at the graduate level in addition to the completion of LNT 501.  Graduate students may count a maximum of 12 semester hours in courses taken prior to starting the LNT Program.

Advising

Students entering the LNT Program are initially advised by their instructor in LNT 501 and the department chair. After completing LNT 501 the student may request another LNT faculty member affiliated with the LNT Department to serve as his/her LNT advisor. During LNT 501, students will also find two academic committee members from the graduate faculty at UIS and, optionally, outside expert advisors and peer advisors to serve on the LNT Committee. These members of the student’s LNT Committee serve as advisors, with the two academic committee members having primary responsibility for advising about academic matters, and the LNT advisor having primary responsibility for advising about process, department and university rules and procedures, and program resources. At any time, the Chair of the LNT Department may also be sought for advice.

Grading Policy

LNT 521 is offered only on a CR/NC basis.

Graduate students are expected to maintain a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.0 (B). University policy stipulates that graduate students with less than a 3.0 GPA will be placed on academic probation for the first semester, and academic suspension for a second consecutive semester. Readmission to the program after suspension is at the department’s discretion.  A maximum of eight hours of C (2.0) grades is applicable to the degree (grades of C- or lower are not accepted), provided that a minimum GPA of 3.0 is reached at the time of graduation, an approved Student Petition is on file in the Office of Records and Registration, and if the C grade is approved by the student’s entire degree committee.

Graduate students registering in 400-level courses are expected to perform at a higher level than undergraduates enrolled in the same course. Individual instructors in 400-level courses specify the criteria for awarding graduate-level credit. These criteria may be qualitative (higher standards for written work and/or contributions to group discussion) or quantitative (additional work or higher test scores).

NOTE: Students also should refer to UIS’s policy on Grades Acceptable Toward Master’s Degrees section of this catalog.

Credit for Prior Learning

Students with extensive life and work experience may apply for graduate-level credit for these experiences through IPL 501.  Students should review the Internships and Prior Learning website http://www.uis.edu/cas/ipl/ for information about the process.  

Degree Requirements1

Core Requirements
LNT 501 Graduate Colloquium 4
LNT 521 Liberal & Integrative Studies 3
Independent Studies or Projects 3-12
Individual Field Project 2
Independent Study: Tutorial 2
Graduate Closure Project – select one 4-8
Master’s Project 2
Thesis 2
Other courses
At least 12 hours must be at the 500-level 12
Other Degree Plan Hours 3-16
Total Hours 29-55
1

In some instances, the interdisciplinary nature of the student’s curriculum will suggest the need for educational experiences that total more than the required minimum number of credits.  The final number of credit hours for the degree must be negotiated between the student and the degree committee at the time the degree proposal is approved. In no case, though, can the number of credit hours required be less than 42.

2

There are no classroom meetings for these courses. Students sign independent study contracts with faculty sponsors.  

Master’s Closure

After initial registration in LNT 550 or LNT 560, students must maintain registration in the closure activity. Students who have not completed their master’s project or thesis after registering for the number of project or thesis hours specified in their degree proposal must register for LNT 551 or LNT 561 (zero credit hours, one billable hour) each fall and spring semester until the project or thesis is completed.