UST Announces the Executive Master of Liberal Arts Degree
Designed for working professionals who want a deeper understanding of themselves and the world, University of St. Thomas – Houston announces the Executive Master of Liberal Arts degree program to begin summer ‘21. The new EMLA track is based on Socratic seminar discussion of the Great Books. An offering this summer by Dr. Dominic Aquila will be a sustained comparative study of the works of Vergil and Dante called "Epic Connections."
The Director of UST’s MLA program, Dr. Thomas Behr, described the present need for an Executive MLA.
“This particular kind of ‘continuing education’ in the liberal arts is needed more than ever where destructive ideologies — struggles for wealth and power — fuel cynicism, fear and conformity,” Behr said. “These combine to obscure the language of principles and reason in defense of democratic values. They also ignore the long historical heritage on which those democratic ideals have been built,” Behr said.
Developed for Working Professionals
The program will attract working professionals in business, law, medicine, education, non-profit and public leaders who desire to broaden and deepen their cultural foundation. They will likely be part-time students, typically taking one seminar per semester.
Behr said, “It will appeal to our alumni and the intellectually curious in general who may have had some experience with the Great Books and now want to visit, or revisit, some of the great works of all time with the seriousness and motivation they have gained in life.”
How It Differs from Traditional MLA
The new program differs from the traditional MLA track. Instead of focusing on a particular discipline, the executive track will offer seminars across the disciplinary spectrum in literature, history, politics, law, philosophy and science. Expert Socratic seminar leaders will facilitate the close reading and focused discussion of texts. No outside expertise or prior study is required for our students to take up the Great Books and examine what they have to say to us today.
How the Program Is Structured
The degree is comprised of 30 credit hours. An Executive MLA graduate seminar on various themes will be offered each semester. “The Pursuit of Happiness” seminar is required of all, as that will include practice in the application of Mortimer Adler’s “How to Read a Book,” useful for all of UST’s Great Books studies. The remaining nine courses can combine Great Books seminars with multidisciplinary coursework in other areas if desired.