Graduate Liberal Studies Program

Master of Arts in Liberal Studies

(MALS) Final Project Instructions

Fall 2019 Catalogue

As of Fall 2019, the exit requirement for the MALS degree is GLS 598 Final Project in Liberal Studies, an asynchronous online course in which students produce a portfolio project.

The final project is the culminating experience in the Master of Arts in Liberal Studies (MALS) degree program. The Final Project in Liberal Studies course guides the student through weekly objectives to build a uniformly formatted final portfolio of major works completed in the GLS program, along with an accompanying Author’s Statement, all of which will be submitted for approval by the instructor and the GLS Program Director.

Students are guided and trained throughout their graduate experience to make crucial connections across subjects and themes. The consilience of knowledge across disciplines is critical to the mission of the Graduate Liberal Studies program, and a formal strategy built into the infrastructure of the students’ degree progress enhances each student’s unique learning experience. Formal guidance obtained through this project is necessary to ensure students are equipped with the skills to identify these connections and make their own unique interpretations, further allowing them to reflect upon the impact of their coursework, how it may be applied to all areas of life, and how to articulate these concepts.

Students can apply the work products and insights gained from this project to their post-graduate life in order to obtain work or enter a professional degree program. Additionally, the portfolio process and reflection can aid in personal development to practice agency in global citizenship, apply purposefulness to interpersonal relations, and enhance creative or advocacy practices.

GLS 598/596 Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs) include the ability to:

  1. make crucial connections across interdisciplinary courses and topics
  2. interpret and create coherence around complex themes
  3. edit and present one’s work in a professional manner
  4. apply learning to future professional and creative pursuits

Course Goals:

The Final Project in Liberal Studies consists of a portfolio that contains:

  • Five projects from separate courses that represent your best work over your MALS coursework. Students collect these pieces from their enrollment in the GLS Program. No more than one paper in the portfolio may be from a course outside of the GLS Program.
  • One 12-to-15-page Author’s Statement that creates a coherent, reflective presentation of your academic engagement. The Author’s Statement is a way to analyze the links on different questions that you progressively pursued in research, projects, and writing throughout your MALS degree work.

Students will view and complete the mandatory Orientation to prepare them for GLS 598/596 in the semester prior to commencing the course. The key task of the Orientation is to have students reflect on their portfolio pieces and how to draw connections between them to write a successful Author’s Statement. Students will review a sample portfolio that demonstrates how a successful portfolio is compiled based on style and formatting guides that they will use to complete their Final Portfolio.

The major questions that students will address in their Author’s Statement are:

  • What are your intentions now that you have nearly completed your MALS degree work?
  • How have you applied knowledge through your MALS degree work?
  • How can you draw connections between your portfolio pieces to demonstrate relationships between themes, topics, and the evolution of your learning goals?
  • How can you critically reflect on how your MALS degree work affected your view of humanity and the world in a way that is useful to your future endeavors?
  • How did your MALS degree work affect those around you?


  • 27 hours of MALS degree progress is required prior to registering for GLS 598.
  • Students must complete assignments in a required Orientation in the semester prior to enrolling in GLS 598.
  • Those who have been registered in GLS 598 but do not complete the portfolio project must request permission to enroll in GLS 596.


Progress is evaluated on a Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory basis. GLS 598 and GLS 596 students are evaluated based on weekly deadlines and assignments. Satisfactory progress is maintained by meeting weekly objectives according to instructions and deadlines. Students will be notified if they are not meeting the standards of satisfactory progress.

Getting Started:

Upon beginning the GLS program, students are required to create an ePortfolio to house all major projects from each course throughout the duration of their MALS studies. View this tutorial to create an ePortfolio upon entering the GLS program.

Students are required to preserve all major projects from their courses, including instructor feedback and, when applicable, rubrics associated with assignments. Students will save these files in their personal ePortfolio, created in Canvas. Students are encouraged to edit these projects, based on instructor feedback, as they progress through their MALS credits, preparing them to complete tasks in GLS 598 Orientation and the Final Project course.

In your first required course, GLS 502, you will learn more about the final portfolio project and will complete your first assignments associated with the project.


GLS Portfolio Timeline: Step 1 • Enter GLS Program • Create an ePortfolio and share your link with GLS program administrators • Enroll in GLS 502 Step 2 • Complete GLS 502 + 24 elective credits • Collect major projects with instructor comments throughout studies • Organize projects in ePortfolio Step 3 • Apply to graduate Step 4 • Participate in GLS 598 Orientation Step 5 • Edit Portfolio Selections • Read Sample Portfolio Step 6 • Enroll in GLS 598 and Complete Final Portfolio Step 7 • Graduate!

Note: GLS 598 and GLS 596, although credited for three hours, will be considered a full-time course for federal financial aid and other purposes.

Previous Final Project Description

Last Update: September 17, 2019