Master of Liberal Arts Concentrations

The curriculum in the University of Chicago online Master of Liberal Arts includes three electives, giving you the opportunity to delve into the areas of inquiry that are most relevant to your goals. You can pursue a general course of study by selecting classes in various disciplines or focus on the topics that you’re most passionate about through one of three optional concentrations:

Ethics and Leadership

Take an interdisciplinary look at leaders and leadership strategies across a variety of contexts. Examine works of literature, philosophy, history, politics, and more to interrogate the ethical implications of the choices we make. Apply a creative approach to discover insights into your own leadership style or the leadership at your organization.

In this concentration, you’ll develop leadership frameworks to identify the right course of action and refresh how you think about concepts as wide-ranging as corporate responsibility, team morale, and achieving results. Along the way, you’ll not only learn from the assigned texts and your professor, but also benefit from the knowledge of classmates who hold leadership positions.

This concentration is ideally suited to:

  • Current executives seeking to reflect on and grow in their practices.
  • Rising professionals seeking to explore varied leadership styles.

Example courses in this concentration:

  • Aristotle and Homer: Ethics, Leadership, and Homecoming
  • History of Ethics
  • Leading Well and Doing Good: Lessons from Middlemarch

Deep learning in leadership and ethics through the liberal arts lens is a dream come true for me as a student. The UChicago MLA program allows me to transfer my real-world experience in scaling startups to the realm of academic thought and beyond, all while being a part of an exciting learning community that challenges my current notions and helps me grow as an individual and executive.

Cara Brennan Allamano
Chief People Officer, Lattice

Literary Studies

Explore a wide selection of literary works, becoming conversant in the major structures and methods of literary analysis. You will read some of the best writing that humanity has produced and learn from faculty members who approach literature from a wide range of disciplinary standpoints.

In this concentration, you’ll be exposed to new ways of looking at literature, write at length about your thoughts, and receive extensive feedback. These courses are a powerful means to discover or reignite a passion for great writing.

The Literary Studies concentration may be right for you if you’re:

  • Seeking to hone your writing skills. You’ll read examples of literature in many different modes, genres, and styles and then discuss what makes these works stand out. By responding to the assigned reading in your own writing, you’ll grow as an effective communicator and a more rigorous thinker.
  • Looking for personal enrichment. This is the ideal concentration for students who already love literature and want a structured environment to read and discuss with a group of highly engaged peers.

Example courses in this concentration:

  • Imagining the City
  • Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Poet?
  • World Wisdom Literature

School has always been a happy place for me, and I had desperately wanted to study literature. The MLA program has made that possible and opened me up to a broader skill set. I have formed connections with students from all over the world, including Columbia, India, Australia, and China. I look forward to my class each week and can’t wait to discuss the readings with my professor and peers.

Fatema Burhani
Mathematics Teacher, UChicago Laboratory Schools

Tech and Society

This interdisciplinary concentration provides scholarly and applied frameworks for thinking through the societal implications raised by technological advancements. You’ll explore the benefits and risks that emerge from societies’ influence on technological development, as well as technology’s effects on culture.

As analytics and artificial intelligence increasingly become everyday parts our lives, it’s clear that the value of data depends on the quality of the questions you ask. This concentration will equip you to formulate the right types of questions. Rather than just considering how to complete a project, you’ll consider how your efforts affect the big picture and the reasons why we pursue technical breakthroughs and industry disruptions.

This concentration is ideal for students who:

  • Work in tech and have the career-oriented skills to succeed, but want to probe the overarching questions raised in their professional lives.
  • Work in tech-adjacent fields or executive roles that are being disrupted or accelerated by new technology, such as consultants and leaders in the finance, automotive, and energy industries.

Example courses in this concentration:

  • Digital Ethics
  • Techne and Sophia: Technology and Wisdom in Western Civilization
  • Technology and Public Policy

In Tech and Society courses, we raise questions like:

  • What are the ethical responsibilities for organizations that collect and use personal data?
  • How is technology transforming politics, and what will be the effects for democracy around the world?
  • What should tech leaders do to address the spread of online misinformation?
Swipe Up: Is an MLA Right for You?