Frequently asked questions regarding the admissions process:
How selective is the Master of Liberal Arts Program?
The MLA is a highly selective graduate degree program. The number of applications received and the percentage accepted varies each year. In past years we have admitted as few as 1 in 5, and as many as 1 in 2.5 applicants.
I have been out of school for a number of years and am not in contact with my old professors. What do I do about letters of recommendation?
The Master of Liberal Arts Program is intended for adults who have been out of school for a while, so many applicants find themselves in this situation. We recommend either contacting your undergraduate professors and reminding them of your work with them, or taking some Continuing Studies courses at Stanford (see our list of recommended classes) or elsewhere. If you have turned in written work for a grade in a Continuing Studies class, you might ask the professor to write a letter of recommendation based on your written paper and participation in the class.
The requirements state that applicants whose native language is not English must submit a TOEFL score. Do I have to take the TOEFL if I earned my degree at an American University?
Graduating from an American institution does not guarantee that an applicant's written and oral communication skills are at the level required by the MLA. If you graduated from an American university with a degree in the Humanities, you may be exempted from the TOEFL requirement. For all other degrees, the TOEFL is required if English is not your native language. The TOEFL process can be time-consuming, so plan accordingly.
Can international students apply?
Yes, though they should note that as a part-time program, we are not able to provide student visas. The international students we have had in the program have been here on work or spousal visas. It is the responsibility of the applicant to research and understand if their visa type will allow them to study at a part-time graduate degree program.
If I am not accepted, should I re-apply the following year?
In most cases, applicants who were not admitted to the program either did not fulfill the eligibility requirements, or did not demonstrate a strong enough case for admittance (see Admissions Criteria) to indicate that the applicant is ready to succeed in this rigorous graduate-level liberal arts program. Unless the following year's application shows significant changes, the committee's decision will be the same.
If I am not accepted, may I ask the department for more information regarding the department's decision process and their evaluation of my application?
The MLA program is not able to provide specific information related to individual applications.