The Master of Arts (MA) in Liberal Studies at Ashoka University is a 32-credit, one-year programme taken by students who have graduated with a diploma in Liberal Studies from the Young India Fellowship, and have been accepted by an Ashoka University faculty mentor to work on a specific research project as a graduate assistant. The programme is highly interdisciplinary and entails coursework from a variety of disciplines, including the humanities, social sciences, behavioural sciences and the natural sciences.
The purpose of a Master of Arts in Liberal Studies is to train students to think critically about their disciplines of interest, while deriving insights from other disciplines. It also aims to help students who wish to pursue graduate studies to ground themselves in their discipline(s) of choice and to prepare their graduate application.
Students design their own curriculum, in consultation with their supervisor, and often choose to work on projects across two or more disciplines. The focus is on nurturing curiosity for intellectual challenges and building skills for research.
In addition to the coursework and assistantship, students are required to work on a research-intensive capstone project, which is expected to culminate in a traditional Masters’ thesis, or a creative project like a novel or a film.
Admissions for the Master’s in Liberal Arts programme is currently restricted to graduates of the Young India Fellowship. This is a degree programme taken by students who have graduated with a diploma in Liberal Studies from the Young India Fellowship, and have been accepted by an Ashoka University faculty to work on a specific research project as a graduate assistant.
Research Conducted and Post-MLS Trajectories
Since 2015, MLS students have worked on a vast array of disciplines, covering human-computer interaction, cognitive Psychology, Literary Theory, Macroeconomics, Anthropology, Gender Studies, Politics and Sociology and Philosophy.
Their research topics have included: The politics of Zilla Parishads in Western Uttar Pradesh, Understanding Human Memory and Aging using Email Archives, The Amplification of Group Emotions, The psychological impact of communal violence, Religious Conversions and Law in India, The development of female wrestling in Haryana, A History of the 1946 Bombay Navy mutiny, The foreign policy thoughts of prominent Hindu nationalists, an Ethnography of a Kashmiri political party, an Ethnography of the student movement in Ramjas College, a Content analysis of Parliamentary questions, among others.
Five former MLS students are currently pursuing their PhD in Psychology (University of Austin, Washington University, Saint-Louis and University of Maryland), in Political Science (UC Santa Barbara), in Social anthropology (University of Edinburgh).
Other graduates of the MLS have gone to the Netherlands for further Studies, are teaching law in India or work as teaching fellows and research assistants at Ashoka University and IIIT-Delhi. Others have started their own ventures or have joined the private sector.