The Stanford MLA Experience


When you join the MLA Program, you join an intellectual community that extends beyond the classroom.

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Who are MLA students?


MLA students bring diverse cultures, professions, and interests to the classroom. They are lawyers, teachers, CEOs, computer scientists, full-time parents, journalists, engineers, physicians, and more. Our students range in age and experience from recent college graduates to retirees. Together they form a dedicated and dynamic cohort of students who bring a lifetime of experience and expertise to the classroom.

Incoming MLA students create a close-knit cohort who follow the core curriculum together during their first four quarters of study. Those same colleagues are often together at the end of program, while working on their theses.

MLA alumni have told us that the friendships and intellectual community that they found in the MLA program is one of the highlights of their experience and will last throughout their lives.

Portrait of Xiao-Wei Wang

"The diversity of students is fascinating -- where else could you have artists, lawyers, activists, teachers, psychologists, and engineers all in one room discussing Beowulf and Marx?"

—Xiao-Wei Wang, MLA graduate

MLA Students are Part of the Stanford Community


Stanford University's MLA Program offers an extraordinary opportunity to pursue an interdisciplinary course of study in the liberal arts and to earn a master's degree at one of the world's great centers of learning.

Being part of the Stanford community is one of the great benefits of being an MLA student. Your time as an MLA student will include access to campus programs and lectures, coursework with Stanford faculty and a diverse student body, and the vast resources of Stanford’s libraries.

Students can take advantage of opportunities to explore and participate in a variety of cultural experiences on and around campus.

Learn more about additional resources for arts and culture, athletics, public service, public transportation, and campus safety at the Life on Campus site. Find out more about events on campus at Stanford Events.

MLA students are matriculated graduate students at Stanford and enjoy:

  • Small seminars with Stanford faculty.
  • Discounts on books and tickets to events with their Stanford Student ID card.
  • Full access to Stanford’s vast libraries, archives, and online resources.
  • Full use of Stanford’s extensive athletic facilities, including gyms, swimming pools, and the golf course.
  • All services available at Tresidder Memorial Union, including banking and dining options, the ticket office, and the Student Services Center.

Note that MLA students are not eligible for Graduate Housing.

Portrait of Teri Hessel

"I met great people and studied with world-class professors. I loved having access to Stanford libraries and I enjoyed being on campus. I cannot say enough about what the program meant for me."

—Teri Hessel, MLA graduate


The MLA Program offers many ways to engage you intellectually: through regular coursework, travel/study opportunities, regional and national Graduate Liberal Studies conferences, MLA-hosted lectures, and publishing opportunities in Liberal Studies journals. Learn more about some of the possibilities for engagement on the Sharing Your Work page.

The MLA Program hosts eminent faculty and authors for evening lectures and discussions open to members of the MLA community

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