Master of Liberal Arts

Follow your passion for lifelong learning. The 36-credit-hour Master of Liberal Arts program is for people who want to become better thinkers, writers, and communicators and want to ask better questions: skills that can improve your job prospects and challenge you intellectually.

Earn your MLA degree online in 18 to 24 months.

Questions? Contact an Enrollment Recruiter

913.491.4432 | 800.955.7747 business.programs@bakerU.edu


You can fit college courses into your existing schedule by taking classes online when and where it’s convenient. Classes are held year-round, and new classes start every seven weeks.


Businesses need creative people with strong writing and critical thinking skills. The MLA program develops strength in communication, critical thinking, analysis, and synthesis. So an MLA degree can help you move up the ladder in your current organization or open doors to a new profession.


You’re in charge of your curriculum. Balance courses from three central areas: creative arts, history and ideas, and natural and social sciences. You can also earn a concentration in a subject of special interest.


Some MLA students enter the program to improve their job prospects. Others enter the program to study a topic or field they’ve always wanted to know more about, to explore new ideas, or to challenge themselves intellectually.



Jaime Vazquez

“Education and social justice have been at the core of what I’ve fought for my entire life. Baker offered me a liberal arts approach where I could expand on this life’s work. My ability to tailor my courses to further my knowledge both in general and in my focus area (natural and social sciences) was a big selling point.”

Jaime | MLA 2017

What is unique about our program is the ability to specialize in your specific field. Our management concentration was recognized by SR Education Group, a leading education research publisher, as a 2018 top online college program based on value. Inclusion on these lists reflects our high academic standards and commitment to affordability for all our students.


MLA graduates work in a variety of professions:

  • Business
  • Education
  • Medicine
  • Criminal Justice
  • Writing and Publications
  • Graphic Design
  • Sales


of recent graduates indicate that they would recommend Baker University to others.


Tuition $430/credit hour
One-time nonrefundable registration deposit (applied to first-course tuition) $60
Technology fee $30/course
Graduation fee $100

Requirements & Transfer Credit

What We Need From You

  • Completed application form
  • A bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university documented by receipt of an official transcript
  • For applicants whose native language is not English, a minimum TOEFL test score of 600 on the paper-based test, a score of 250 on the computer-based test, or score of 100 on the internet-based test for international applicants, or a minimum IELTS score of 6.5

How to send transcripts to Baker.

If Applying for Financial Aid

Complete the online FAFSA form.
Complete the financial aid forms for Baker University.
Return all forms to Baker University.

Graduate courses taken before applying to the MLA program will be evaluated upon request at the time of application to the MLA program. Transfer credits may not satisfy the 18-semester-credit core requirement. Up to 6 graduate semester credits may be considered for transfer into the MLA degree program, provided these courses:

  1. Were taken for graduate credit from a regionally accredited institution of higher education
  2. Received a grade of A or B
  3. Are germane to the MLA curriculum
  4. Were not used in acquiring any other degree
  5. Are not outdated in content (usually not older than six years)
  6. Were not earned through correspondence study or independent study

Additionally, a course description from the catalog in effect at the time the course was taken must be on file, and an official transcript sent directly from the granting institution must be received.  Courses taken prior to starting the degree program that were offered through Baker University’s continuing education program may also be requested to apply toward education electives. The total number of transfer credits from another institution, Baker continuing education, or a combination of the two may not exceed 6 credits.

To Receive Transfer Credit for up to 6 Credit Hours of Graduate Work

Request official transcripts to be sent directly to Baker University.
Submit a written request to transfer credit.

HUM 5500 Interdisciplinary Liberal Arts

This course is designed as a common experience to incoming Master of Liberal Arts students. The course provides students with opportunities to share their life experiences and intellectual experiences with fellow students. The focus of the course is the examination of the Liberal Arts as acts of critical inquiry. Students become acquainted with classical ideas that lie behind much of the tradition of Western thought, as well as some modern approaches. Basics of reading, writing, and research are reviewed and students examine their daily world more deeply, in more detail, and in more complex ways. (3 credits)

HUM 5900 MLA Portfolio

Students enroll in HUM 5900 during their last semester in the MLA program. The portfolio is a learning resume, documenting each student’s personal growth and professional development. Each portfolio presentation must contain a thesis statement, whereby the student shows the interconnections he or she has explored throughout the program. Students must successfully defend their portfolios prior to graduation. (0 credits)

Sample Course Descriptions | Creative Arts

FLM 5044 Past Imperfect: History and the Movies

Students examine how movies and television have shown history, often more faithfully than they are given credit for, by social critics, journalists, politicians, and others. Students consider the obligations commercial film makers have to historical accuracy and the questions of responsibility involved in presenting truth about the past. (3 credits)

MUS 5233 Introduction to American Music

The purpose of this course is to develop an overview of the history and development of music in the United States from the 1500s to 1900. Students will experience the cultural, social and artistic development of music from prior to European settlers through the birth of the nation. Emphasis will be placed on cresting opportunities in incorporate these media in the classroom via both individually-designed lessons and through collaboration. Students will make transfers to current trends in music and society and relate them to historical events, trends, and the social implications of music. (3 credits)

LIT 5034 Multicultural American Literature

This course examines the ways in which multicultural literature differs from traditional literature. Students investigate the value systems within the culture of the works studied and the places where these moral barometers differ from dominant culture. (3 credits)

Sample Course Descriptions | History & Ideas

HIS 5014 History of the American Presidency

Students examine the institutions of the American presidency from a historical perspective. Topics include the changing role of the president in our system of government, the different interpretations of the role of the president as practiced throughout our nation’s history, the unique aspect of our chief executive as compared to other forms of governmental leadership, and the power and influence of media in shaping and affecting our nation’s highest office. (3 credits)

PHL 5005 Critical Thinking on Current Issues

The purpose of this course is to learn the discipline of critical thinking and apply it to issues of current media interest. Students relate ethical, social, philosophical, theological, and economic considerations to fundamental issues such as the value of a human life compared to other life on Earth. (3 credits)

REL 5103 Religion in America

This course captures the drama and excitement of religious pluralism in America. By synthesizing material from the social, cultural, and intellectual history of the United States, students will not only better understand the vast diversity of America’s religious past but also recognize the kaleidoscope of religious expressions on the American scene today. The in instructor will introduce the latest research and interpretation in American religious history to assist students in comprehending America’s religious history and its future challenges and direction. (3 credits)

Sample Course Descriptions | Natural & Social Sciences

HTH 5026 Disease and Contemporary Culture

This course will review the history of disease and how modern medical knowledge can possibly prevent or cure all diseases. The study of the new genetic approach to treating disease and the moral implications created will be performed via class discussions, formal lectures, and multimedia presentations. A formal science background is not required for this course. (3 credits)

SOC 5401 Generation Text

For today’s youth, technology such as computers, the Internet, cell phones, and iPods are an assumed and functional presence and a fundamental part of everyday life. For parents, however, emerging issues challenge traditional parenting styles. This course examines ways in which children’s identities are shaped by the world around them and how families can develop reasonable strategies for addressing the unique issues faced by children who are surrounded by infinite choice.

PSY 5135 Psychology of Attitudes

Students apply psychological research on attitudes to a variety of real-world situations, including public opinion polls, voting, jury decision making, advertising, cults, prejudice and discrimination, attractions, and health.

Students must meet the following requirements to earn a Master of Liberal Arts degree:

  • Successful completion an approved Master of Liberal Arts curriculum (36 credit hours)
  • Completion of all Master of Liberal Arts core requirement (21 credit hours)
  • Cumulative GPA of at least 2.5
  • A 3.0 overall grade point average with no more than one course completed with a C grade
  • Successful preparation, presentation, and defense of the MLA portfolio
  • Completion of all course work within six years of the date of initial enrollment
  • Submission of intent to graduate form six months before anticipated degree completion
  • Payment of all tuition and fees
  • Approval by the faculty and Board of Trustees

Curriculum & Program Requirements

During the 36-credit-hour program, you will take a minimum of 6 credit hours in each of the three central areas. Beyond those 18 hours, you may either choose a variety of courses from the five areas of concentration or focus course work on one area of special interest. You will also create a portfolio and complete a capstone project.

  • 18 credit hours from the following areas:
    • Creative arts – art, music, literature, theatre (6 hrs)
    • History and ideas – history, philosophy, religion (6 hrs)
    • Sciences – psychology, sociology, ecology (6 hrs)
  • 18 additional credit hours including Interdisciplinary Liberal Arts (3 hrs)


Creative Arts

Explore film, music, theatre, literature, and art courses designed to expand your knowledge of and appreciation for the creative arts.

History & Ideas

Explore a variety of historical events to gain a better understanding of the impact of the past on today’s society, study fundamental issues in philosophy or culture, and delve into various religions to examine the traditions, beliefs, and impact of religion on people and society.

Natural & Social Sciences

Study an array of courses from the sciences, including psychology, politics, criminal justice, and natural science, reflecting on the impact one has on the other in our society.

Gender Studies

Gain an understanding of how gender dynamics affect your world as well as the greater world in which you live.

Management & Leadership

Strengthen your leadership skills, gain a better understanding of group dynamics and behaviors involved in organizations, and examine current leadership challenges and trends.


1. Who would benefit from the MLA program?

The Master of Liberal Arts program is for people who want to become better thinkers, writers, and communicators and want to ask better questions. Some students enter the program to improve their job prospects. Others enter the program to study a topic or field they’ve always wanted to know more about, to explore new ideas, or to challenge themselves intellectually.

2. Why should I enter the MLA program if my goal is personal rather than professional growth?

This program takes an interdisciplinary approach to the study of humanities, science, and the arts within an academic setting. Even if you read widely and explore new ideas on your own, the more formalized structure of the program and your instructors will push you to think critically, write clearly, and to explore cultures and perspectives you might not find on your own and to see the connections between the various disciplines.

3. As a business professional or someone who hopes to work in the business world, how would an MLA degree benefit me?

Businesses need creative people with strong writing and critical thinking skills. The MLA program develops strength in communication, critical thinking, analysis, and synthesis, all skills valued in the workplace. So an MLA degree can help you move up the ladder in your current position or open doors to a new profession.

4. What professional fields benefit from the MLA course work?

The knowledge and skills gained in the MLA program apply to a variety of professions. MLA graduates work in business, education, medicine, criminal justice, writing and publications, insurance, and sales.

5. Do I have to write a thesis?

No. Instead, you will create and submit a portfolio that demonstrates your growth throughout the program.

6. How many classes can I take each term?

You may enroll in up to 6 credit hours per academic term.

7. How long will it take me to earn my MLA?

You set your own pace for program completion. Most students finish in 18 to 24 months.

8. Is Baker University accredited?

Yes, Baker has been continuously accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools since 1913 (312.263.0456, ncahlc.org). Baker has also met the rigorous accrediting standards of the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).

9. Do you require a specific undergraduate grade point average?


10. Is the HUM 5500 Interdisciplinary Liberal Arts course required?

Yes. Students learn about program and portfolio requirements in this course, and it must be one of the first three courses you complete at Baker.

11. What are the admission requirements?

You must hold a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university.

12. Is there a required GPA in the MLA program?

Yes. All students must maintain at least a 3.0 grade point average.

13. Do you accept transfer credit from other universities?

Yes. Students can transfer up to 6 graduate credits hours. All transfer hours must be completed before starting the MLA program.

14. Can I receive credit for work experience or life experience?


15. Is financial aid available?

Financial aid is available to degree-seeking students. Learn More

16. My undergraduate degree was not in liberal arts; can I still be accepted into the MLA program?

Yes. Prior study of the liberal arts is not necessary. The MLA program introduces students to various courses and schools of thought.

17. When do classes start?

Classes are held year-round and new classes start every seven weeks.


School of Professional and Graduate Studies
913.491.4432 | 800.955.7747