Bayeux Tapestry, 11th century
|Intro. to Grad. Study||4|
|7 MLA Seminars||28|
Students in the MLA Program complete a minimum of 50 units of coursework, exploring a range of subjects rather than focusing narrowly on a single topic. This approach provides the broad perspective that leads to an interdisciplinary Master's Thesis, an in-depth study of a single subject, which serves as the culmination of graduate study. Students have a minimum of four years and maximum of five years to complete the program.
During the first year and a quarter, students are engaged in the core curriculum.
The first year, students look at the broad framework of history, literature, philosophy, political science, geography, economics, art, and the sciences in our sequence of three Foundations courses, which lay the groundwork for interdisciplinary study. Class meets one night per week, 7:00-9:30pm.
Click image to play video
MLA faculty and students describe the first year and a quarter of required classes.
During the first quarter of the second year, students take Introduction to Interdisciplinary Graduate Study, in which they concentrate on writing a critical graduate paper, conducting library research, presenting the results of their research, and participating in a collaborative seminar. Class meets one night per week, 7:00-9:30pm.
After completing the core curriculum, students take at least seven MLA seminars, which provide the opportunity to participate in small group settings for discussions, debate, and intellectual exploration. Each seminar requires a significant seminar paper.
The seminars offered are different every year, though some seminars are repeated every two or three years. They include offerings from various disciplines, including anthropology, classics, history, literature, music, economics, environmental science, history of science, political science, philosophy, and psychology. Between two and four seminars are offered each quarter. Seminars meet one night per week, 7:00-9:30pm.
Click image to play video
Why are Stanford MLA seminars exceptional? Students and faculty share their experiences.
The MLA Program culminates in the Master’s Thesis. After completing core and seminar work, students write a 75- to 100-page thesis, which evolves out of work they’ve pursued during their MLA seminars. The thesis is undertaken with the prior approval of the MLA Program; a Stanford faculty member with relevant experience advises each student.
During the process of writing the thesis, students meet regularly with a work-in-progress group, which offers peer critiques, motivation, and advice under the direction of the Associate Dean and the MLA Writing Consultant. Each student presents the penultimate draft of the thesis to a colloquium of MLA faculty and students, in preparation for revising and submitting the final draft.