About the Program
Liberal and Integrative Studies is a graduate-level program designed for those students who have clear but unique goals that cannot be met in traditional programs. Students earn their Master’s degrees by selecting courses that fit their needs.
The program is designed for the self-directed student to facilitate the creation of an individualized master’s degree. It is based on the assumption that, as a graduate degree candidate, you have the fundamental knowledge and skills of the undergraduate degree, and that you are able to apply these competencies in a graduate curricular framework.
Successful students are able to:
- Pursue and generate complex levels of knowledge,
- Engage in self-directed and original inquiry, and
- Merge rigorous analysis with creative synthesis.
This integration of convergent and divergent thinking, complemented by mature judgment, should characterize work within individual courses throughout your graduate degree program.
The program will assist students in course selection, advising, and other assistance needed for completion of this degree. The program’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 UIS curricula.
The Master of Arts degree allows students to pursue fields of study that are not otherwise offered at UIS. For many, this is an opportunity for graduate-level coursework in subjects that UIS normally offers as undergraduate majors, minors, or thematic activities. Students do NOT use the program to get a degree in these other programs, however: a graduate receives a diploma that specifies a Master of Arts degree in Liberal and Integrative Studies, but the student’s chosen degree title will appear on the transcript.
In designing an individualized curriculum, students develop skills that promote critical thinking and facilitate significant learning. Students assume responsibility for integrating their own learning activities and for evaluating and revising their own curricular design. Program faculty seek to facilitate this learning process and to promote the growth in personal autonomy that necessarily ensues.
Given the accelerating rate of change characterizing modern society, program faculty believe that self-directed, lifelong learning skills are essential. Learning how to learn is a prerequisite to solving new kinds of problems.
The Liberal and Integrative Studies Program is available on-ground and online, although online degree opportunities are more limited, as fewer graduate-level courses and faculty are open to work with our online students. The UIS faculty in philosophy and education offer the most opportunities to our online graduate students, but other disciplines offer some possibilities for online study as well.