Life in MLS

Students in the MLS program develop more than lifelong learning habits—they also develop lifelong friendships. Despite juggling many responsibilities, MLS students nevertheless find ways to connect with one another, whether it’s grabbing a bite at a program reception before class, having dinner with faculty and alumni, getting coffee after class, or sharing photos from a field trip.  MLS students are encouraged to be involved in the MLS Student Association.

All MLS students receive a subscription to Confluence, the Journal of Graduate Liberal Studies.  Published by the Association of Graduate Liberal Studies Programs (AGLSP), Confluence is a national, interdisciplinary journal reflecting the best scholarly and creative work of graduate liberal studies programs.  Its broad scope includes scholarly essays and creative work, such as short stories, poetry, creative nonfiction, and visual art.  Contributors include students, alumni, faculty, and others affiliated with graduate liberal studies programs.  USC MLS students are encouraged to read Confluence to be part of the intellectual discussion in the graduate liberal studies community and to submit work to Confluence for publishing consideration.   The hybrid prose-poetry of Karen Holden (MLS ’09) was published in Confluence Vol. XV:2, Spring 2010. 

A number of universities within the AGLSP jointly sponsor a west coast summer weekend symposium. This Graduate Liberal Studies Symposium gives students and alumni the experience of presenting papers and learning from presentations in a supportive, academic environment.  Past symposia have been held on the campuses of Dominican University, Stanford University, Reed College, and Simon Fraser University.  USC MLS students selected to present papers receive financial awards to defray their travel expenses.  The USC MLS Program hosted the 2012 GLS Symposium on June 22-23, 2012.

The entire MLS community – students, faculty, alumni, and staff – turns out for the annual Colloquium, at which the graduating MLS students present short synopses of their summative projects.  Of course, Commencement is a celebration for all, most especially the graduates and their families.

The MLS program inculcates a mindset of lifelong learning. Here’s what some USC MLS students had to say.

Jeri Schuessler-Loynachan

“The 2010 GLS Symposium was the first one that I attended, and it was quite an exciting experience.  I believe that current students in the MLS Program would benefit from attending the next symposium, whether or not they are presenting.  It is an opportunity to meet and learn from other enthusiastic graduate students, faculty, and alumni.  It was a thrill that our program hosted the 2012 symposium, and I'm looking forward to participating in future symposia.”

Shelly Hacco (MLS ’11)

“Not only did the staff and faculty help me by making sure the program assisted me in my personal academic goals, they, as well as fellow students, supported my artistic goals by attending my outside theatre performances. It's so nice to be part of a program that supports its students' diverse interests and backgrounds.”

Chris Wittenberg (MLS ’10)

“After obtaining my MLS degree, I now realize to really understand a topic, I have to get other points of view. In analyzing current affairs, I now regularly include news from overseas sources.  Because of the exposure the MLS Program gave me to world events and other cultures, I better understand people with whom I work.  This is especially useful as a manager in a culturally diverse location like Los Angeles.”  Read the advice Chris has as an alumnus for current and prospective MLS students.

University Events

Film Screening: The Throwaways
ICW in Conversation with Tyler Green
The Business of Education
USC LAA Alumni Spotlight Reception

MLS student Mischalgrace Diasanta

"The 2012 GLS Symposium was a wonderful experience!


  • Master of Liberal Studies
  • 3501 Trousdale Parkway
  • Mark Taper Hall, THH 355
  • University of Southern California
  • Los Angeles, California 90089-0355