Degree Requirements

The degree requirements consist of 30 hours of coursework, or 10 three-hour courses, which must include:

  • at least two MALS seminars
  • a research methods course (broadly defined) or third MALS seminar
  • a six-course interdisciplinary concentration
  • a culminating project for which three credit hours are given

MALS Seminars

We strongly advise MALS students to take a seminar in your first semester of enrollment. You’ll be required to take a minimum of two MALS seminars before you graduate. We offer two to three seminars each semester on a range of topics, taught by NC State faculty from across various disciplines. We are continually developing new seminars, and often repeat the most popular courses. MALS seminars are interdisciplinary, have no prerequisites and are limited to 15 students.


Spring 2016 Maymester, "Food for Thought"

Research Methods Course

The research methods course, if taken, can come from departments throughout the university and should be appropriate to your area of concentration. Possible courses include statistics, experimental or survey design, qualitative methods and literary theory.

Individualized Concentration

As part of your application, you’ll propose a six-course, 18-hour concentration on an interdisciplinary theme or topic. You will finalize your area of concentration once you have completed 15 credit hours in the program, working in consultation with your advisor.  The concentration courses must come from at least three different academic disciplines, with no more than two courses from any one department.  At least two courses in the concentration must be humanities or social science courses.

MALS students have a variety of options when selecting courses for your individualized plan: 

  • NC State courses: You can take courses from various departments and colleges at NC State. View graduate course offerings at NC State on the Graduate Catalog.
  • Independent study: To explore a particular area of interest, you can work with an NC State faculty member who will supervise your work. Examples of independent study include extensive reading on a topic not available through an existing course, or engaging in a specific project or activity that has educational value for you. Your faculty supervisor will typically require some written work as part of your independent study.
  • Courses through other universities: You may take courses from other universities and have the credit counted toward your MALS degree. However, be sure to check with your faculty adviser first. It is especially convenient to include courses from UNC-Chapel Hill and Duke, where courses can be taken at a cost equivalent to NC State courses. If this interests you, you will need to find information about possible courses at other campuses and whether you will be able to enroll in that course. For example, Duke MALS Seminars are limited to Duke MALS students. If the course you wish to take is at Duke or UNC-Chapel Hill, you can register by using the inter-institutional registration form available from the NC State Registration and Records Office.

Final Project

Yours MALS studies culminate with a project related to your concentration. Past projects have ranged from producing videos and websites to creating handbooks and brochures to working with a particular community agency. Students earn three hours of credit for completing this project. A final presentation of the project must be given before graduation.

Take a look at recent culminating projects and other memorable final projects from the past.