Summative Projects

The Summative Project represents each MLS student's thesis-quality work, a 75-page+ research paper on a topic of personal significance using themes, principles, and methodologies developed in the MLS Program.

Students work with a committee of MLS faculty members to develop and complete their projects.  Satisfactory completion of the summative project is a degree requirement.

Read more about the Summative Project Guidelines, the Proposal Form, and the Agreement Form.

Past USC MLS summative project titles include:

"Adapting Du Maurier"

"America's Fascination with Crime Drama: The Evolution of   the Television Police Procedural"

"Chicago World's Fairs: Labor, Race, Gender"

"Confessions of a Bad Boy"

"Crime and Punishment: Exploring the Transgressions and Penalties of Human Deviance"

"Global Solipsism: Barriers to Environmentlly Appropriate Choices"

"Have We Learned? Crimes Against Humanity and Lessons of the Nuremberg Trials"

"Hero of Historical Action in Law: Thurgood Marshall"

"How Love Comes Home: Los Angeles in Four Voices"

"If West Adams Could Talk"

"Keep in Touch: Effects of De-Spatialization on Traditional Modes of Conversation"

"Self-Identity in the Pinoy: Focus on Cultural Retention in Filipino Americans"

"Spoken Word Poetry: Beyond the Fringe of Community"

"The Brown Paper Bag Test: An African-American Colorism Litmus Test"

"The Cultural and Linguistic Importance of Hangul"

"The Nature of Forgiveness"

"The Relevance of Martial Arts Training in Law Enforcement Arrest and Control Training"

Read more about the projects of the Class of 2012:

  • Lee Crystal: "Have We Learned? Crimes Against Humanity and Lessons of the Nuremberg Trials":

    The Nuremburg Trials conveyed to the world the message that crimes against humanity would never again be tolerated by civilization. Although the trials established the precedent that individuals could be held accountable for their actions against personhood and humanity, I contend that humanity's behavior has improved, but not enough, as a result.

  • Young Miller: "The Cultural and Linguistic Importance of Hangul":

    Created by a single individual, Hangul, the Korean alphabet, is an example of how a language can help a nation pave a path to cultural and political independence.  I examine why Hangul survived through centuries of Chinese linguisitic dominance and decades of Japanese colonalism to serve as an important tool in the patriotic movement leading to Korea's independence in 1945.

  • Kathleen Speer: "Chicago World's Fairs: Labor, Race, Gender":

    I examine the 1893 and 1933 Chicago World’s Fairs as constructed representations of the shifts in class structure that had begun in the late nineteenth century, brought about by the growing adoption of electrical lighting, the awareness of racial identities, the suffragette movement, and the rise of unions.  Juxtaposed with the evolving role of the city of Chicago as a example of urban planning progressivism, I conclude that today's retail-oriented city centers are themselves constructions of social fragmentation, based in the consumption of re-presented innovation.

The MLS Colloquium

Graduating MLS students present a summary of their projects at the annual Colloquium for the MLS community, their family, and friends.

View the 2011 Colloquium

"Everything you wanted to know about Summative Projects"

Read notes from a workshop conducted by faculty and alumni on the Summative Project process.

MLS Class of 2011

Life in MLS

Mary Roney Scholarship 2012

2012 GLS Symposium

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