This program is no longer accepting new majors.
The Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies (MAIS) is an interdisciplinary approach to university studies. The program combines the development of critical thinking, writing, and research abilities with the study of specialized knowledge in two complementary disciplines. Students pursuing the MAIS degree choose program emphases and design unique curricula in consultation with the MAIS graduate program coordinator.
The MAIS degree is designed for persons who wish to continue their liberal education at the graduate level or add breadth to a more specialized undergraduate degree. The communication skills, critical thinking skills, and interdisciplinary methodology gained in the program are not only valuable in themselves but attractive to a wide range of employers as well. For more information, visit the program’s website.
All applicants to the M.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies program must have a baccalaureate degree from a regionally or internationally accredited institution. Applicants must submit all of the necessary materials to be considered for admission (see below).
Applicants will be considered for regular admission if they have achieved a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better in a previous baccalaureate or graduate degree, or if they have achieved a GPA of 3.0 or better in their last 30 hours of coursework. The quality of the applicant’s submitted materials will be a major factor in the admissions decision.
Applicants will be considered for conditional admission if they have achieved a cumulative GPA between 2.7 and 3.0 in a previous baccalaureate or graduate degree, or if they have achieved a GPA between 2.7 and 3.0 in their last 60 hours of coursework. The quality of the applicants submitted materials will be a major factor in the admissions decision.
Conditionally admitted students must maintain a GPA of 3.0 in their first 9 hours of coursework in order to remain in the program. Conditionally admitted students may also be subject to other conditions for enrollment, such as (but not limited to) required courses during the first 9 hours of study, as specified by the admissions committee. Conditionally admitted students who achieve a 3.0 or better GPA and fulfill any specified conditions in the appropriate timeline will be moved to regular status.
Special Conditional Admission
Applicants with a GPA between 2.0 and 2.69 who demonstrate extraordinary potential for achievement may petition the M.A. admission committee via a letter to the committee for special consideration. The petition should include evidence regarding two or more of the following criteria:
- Amount of time lapsed since the previous degree
- Extraordinary circumstances related to the low overall GPA
- Professional or other experience that would show potential for success in graduate school and/or in disciplines of study selected
- Professional accomplishment that demonstrate the applicant’s abilities with respect to time management or focused, intensive study
Applicants whose petitions are approved by the admissions committee will be subject to the same requirements and restrictions as listed above for conditionally admitted students.
All applicants must submit to the Graduate School all of the below documents
- Transcripts from all previous institutions
- Two academic reference letters addressing the candidate’s potential for success in graduate study (academic references are preferred, but letters from professional/work context may be used if the candidate has not retained academic references).
- Written statements of intent: The statement should be approximately 750-1200 words and it should describe the applicant’s academic (and, if relevant, professional) background and academic preparation, specific interests for two disciplines of study, and interdisciplinary goals with the MAIS program.
- A writing sample: an academic paper, ideally between 5-10 pages in length. Applicants who do not have a representative academic paper may submit instead an essay of 1500-1800 words, responding to either question 1 or 2 below.
- If you could have produced any scholarly or artistic work in one of your chosen disciplines of study, what would it be? (i.e., a well-known work of art, novel, treatise, piece of scholarly criticism, etc.) Explain why.
- Which course in your academic career to date has been the most important for your intellectual or artistic/creative development? Explain why.
The writing sample must include a title page with the following information: applicant’s name, date of original paper, and explanation of which option was chosen (e.g., “paper from History 4327, 2014” or “Essay Option #2”)
In addition to the above, some applicants may be required to submit additional materials or to participate in further evaluation procedures based on the discipline(s) of study selected in MAIS. Applicants who are considering study in artistic disciplines are especially encouraged to inquire about specific requirements based on individual circumstances before completing the application. Contact the graduate coordinator for more information. These additional elements may include:
- Portfolio of art work
- Samples of creative writing
- Audition before a faculty member (e.g., for music)
No more than nine credit hours of appropriate graduate course work taken at another institution may be transferred into the program. The MAIS graduate coordinator will determine whether or not graduate courses taken at UALR prior to admission to the program will count toward the 33 hours required.
The MAIS degree requires 33 credit hours of graduate course work, 55%, (18 hours) of which can be at the 5000 level. The requirements are as follows: