Master of Liberal Arts | MLA Degree

MLA Program Mission

The mission of the Master of Liberal Arts (MLA) is to provide a broad and balanced spectrum of graduate courses that are interdisciplinary in nature and focused on the moral, aesthetic and intellectual values of the liberal arts.

A Classical Approach to the Liberal Arts

The Master of Liberal Arts program at HCU is dedicated to training students in the classical model of education, preparing them to serve in a variety of professions and vocations. The degree is designed for students desiring a broad and deep course of study in the liberal arts with an emphasis on the Great Books of the Western Tradition.

While the MLA is flexible enough to satisfy the particular interests of each student, we do not subscribe to the common “grab bag” approach to liberal arts. Instead, we provide a core of six courses in the Western Tradition that is both chronologically progressive and cohesive to enable students to grasp the flow and development of ideas that have shaped the modern world. Other elective courses are focused on essential figures (i.e. St. Augustine), periods (i.e. Tudor England), and topics (i.e. democracy, logic, church/state relations). Also, the MLA encourages students to craft their degree around one of three optional areas of emphasis (Classical Learning, Research and General Liberal Arts).

MLA Program Distinctives

  • Courses combine Classical Liberal Arts and the Christian worldview
  • Small classes that are seminar-based, rooted in the Great Books and Socratic dialogue
  • Faculty are distinguished Christian scholars from a variety of disciplines
  • Part-time or Full-time enrollment (rolling admissions)
  • 6-hour thesis option available

MLA Degree Programs


The Master of Liberal Arts offers students an interdisciplinary panorama of knowledge in art, literature, history, culture and science. The MLA is designed for those who have completed their undergraduate education but who wish to continue intellectual enrichment in a formal academic environment. A thesis option is available. Students in the MLA program represent a variety of educational backgrounds and ages. The degree is of particular interest to those in areas such as education, business, law, medicine and engineering who desire a high-level inquiry into the liberal arts. Classes meet once each week in the evening. A selection of courses from the various liberal arts is offered each semester.

Accelerated Master’s

The accelerated master’s degree (AMLA) provides the opportunity for students to earn a graduate degree in five years from their matriculation as an undergraduate freshman. The AMLA is a track of study within the existing MLA program, building upon the current purpose and vision of the traditional MLA degree — to train students in classical education and prepare them for careers with a deep understanding of the liberal arts. Students begin graduate course work toward an MLA degree during their senior year by completing up to nine MLA hours.

With Education Specialization

The MLA with Specialization in Education (MLA-Ed) degree offers students interested in a career in classical/Christian/public education an opportunity to prepare for Texas teacher certification for 4-8 or 7-12, EC-6 Generalist, EC-12 Art, Music, Physical Education or Spanish. A student will take 18 credit hours of MLA coursework and will register for the postbaccalaureate teaching certification program to earn 18 credit hours of defined Education course work. Students are required to adhere to the admissions standards for both programs. Any MLA scholarships would be applied to coursework in the postbaccalaureate Teaching Certification program.

MLA Program Areas of Emphasis

The Master of Liberal Arts degree’s areas of emphases provide suggested recommendations for course options. Students are not bound by the emphases, but should rather use them as a guide to fulfill their individual purpose/goal in taking up the MLA.

Classical Learning Emphasis

This emphasis is for students who are either already teachers or intend to become teachers. It is intended to deepen students’ knowledge of classical education and train them to teach from a Great Books perspective.

After graduating with an MLA degree

MLA program students are successful in many careers and vocations. Previous graduates of the MLA have gone on to positions as private/classical school teachers, school administrators, junior college instructors and positions in various industries. Others have continued their graduate study in doctoral programs and other advanced degrees.

Associated Faculty

The Master of Liberal Arts program faculty members are among HCU’s most prized instructors. They are as diverse as the liberal arts, with poets, philosophers, historians, public intellectuals, political theorists and literary scholars. Their writing has appeared in The Imaginative Conservative, Books & Culture, The New Criterion, The Ben Jonson Journal, The South Carolina Review, and First Things, and they are regular contributors to HCU’s monthly, The City. The faculty also represent a wide array of internationally ranked institutions, with terminal degrees from University of Virginia, Baylor University, Princeton University, Notre Dame University, University of Exeter, Louisiana State University and University of Dallas.

Degree Plans

PDFMLA Degree Plan

PDFAccelerated MLA Degree Plan   (For current HCU students only)

PDFMLA with Specialization in Education (4-8 or 7-12)

PDFMLA-with-Specialization-in-Education (EC-6 Core)

MLA with Specialization in Education (EC-12 Art, PE or Spanish)

Related Information:

For more information, please contact Dr. Micah Snell at