Diploma in Liberal Studies

Admissions Requirements

Participants study a wide range of academic subjects in small, intimate classrooms encouraging interactive thought and discussions. The program seeks committed, energetic students with bachelor’s degrees from an accredited college or university, who have significant life experiences and who can communicate effectively. Below you will find all of the steps needed to get started.

If you are interested in applying for our Master of Liberal Studies, please find application information here.


Applicants must a 3.5 GPA in successfully-concluded postgraduate degree work from the Rice MLS program; or a liberal art/liberal studies graduate degree program at an Association of Graduate Liberal Studies Programs (AGLSP) member institution, or other post-graduate degrees that are considered on a case-by-case basis. Application deadline dates and details about the admissions process is available below.

Questions regarding your GPA or eligibility? Connect with a member of our team.

Important Dates

The Diploma in Liberal Studies Program admits students for the Fall admission cycle only.

Application Requirements

Applications take time. We recommend beginning the process early, which means understanding the materials required to successfully position yourself for admittance into the program. Give yourself sufficient time to prepare your application materials and request and receive official transcripts and letters of recommendation. We estimate this process can take several weeks.

The following materials must be submitted by the application deadline to be considered for admission:

  • Completed online  Application for Admission
  • Application fee ($85, non-refundable)
  • Current resume
  • Official transcripts from all previous colleges or universities attended, sent directly to the Graduate Liberal Studies office
  • Two references who will be asked to provide a letter of recommendation
  • Personal statement
  • Proposal for DLS study
  • Writing samples

Once you submit your application, you will be invited for an admissions interview. To access this information in a printable format, please download the DLS Application Instructions here.

For the proposal for DLS study, please describe how you plan to integrate the focus disciplines you have chosen above in an interdisciplinary way. This is most easily done if you sketch a possible small-scale research project involving your two chosen focus disciplines and explain in general terms how you might make use of insights from each discipline, in an integrated way, to carry out the project. Please read the article on interdisciplinarity that figures in this application before you write your proposal to proceed from a better foundation concerning the possibilities of interdisciplinary research. Please make some suitable references to this reading in your proposal. If you have already done an interdisciplinary study or paper involving your two focus disciplines, you may take that as your research project. Just make sure to add insights from the article just mentioned to show a broader understanding of interdisciplinary research.

Optional: if you already have an idea of what you might like to do in, not just a smaller interdisciplinary research project, but in the large-scale interdisciplinary Diploma Project that concludes the DLS program, you are invited to use this as your example of a possible research project involving your two focus disciplines, again, including information on how you might integrate the two disciplines. Here too read the article referenced above in advance and make suitable references to it in explaining the project.

This portion of your application is important, and we urge you to take care in the preparation of it. The persons reviewing your application will be assisted in their decisions by a brief and well-written statement from you. Please describe what you consider the most important steps in your life preparing you for the study of the two focus disciplines you have chosen for DLS study and interdisciplinary research. Be sure to include the course background you have in each of the two focus disciplines chosen, including, for example, courses you have taken in each discipline in the MLS program. Discuss also examples of any interdisciplinary research (or teaching or reading, etc.) you have already done involving your two focus disciplines, if you have such experience.

You should provide solid evidence of writing ability by submitting one of the following. Options are listed from the most preferred to the least preferred, but each option is sufficient for the purpose of completing the application.

  • An interdisciplinary paper from a post-baccalaureate program, e.g. MLS/MALS
  • An interdisciplinary research paper not from a post-baccalaureate program
  • A single-discipline research paper from a post-baccalaureate program, e.g. MLS/MALS
  • A single-discipline research paper not from a post-baccalaureate program

The initial processing begins once we have received the complete set of application materials and the application fee. Please be sure your application is complete by the appropriate deadline. You will receive a status message via email. Interviews as appropriate may be scheduled after the initial screening of applications. Satisfactory progress is required to remain in the program. Payment of tuition is not a guarantee of a degree.

All application documents, including resume, personal statement, writing sample, and letters of recommendation will be submitted online. Official transcripts must be mailed directly to the DLS program. Electronic transcripts are accepted and should be sent to mls@rice.edu. Application materials become property of Rice University and will not be returned.

Mailing Address
Rice University
Graduate Liberal Studies - MS 550
6100 Main Street
Houston, TX 77005

To access the proposal, personal statement and writing sample information in a printable format, please download the DLS Application Instructions.

Meningitis Vaccination Policy
Students under 22 years of age before their first day of classes must be vaccinated against bacterial meningitis. Please see more information on the meningitis policy.

COVID-19 Updates
Please visit Rice University's website for the latest information and updates.

Non-Discrimination Statement
Rice University seeks to attract to its faculty, staff and student body qualified persons of diverse backgrounds. In accordance with this policy, Rice does not discriminate in admissions, educational programs, or employment against any individual on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, national or ethnic origin, age, disability or veteran status.


Request Information

Use the form below to sign up to receive more information about the DLS program.


Email: mls@rice.edu


Assistant Director
Kim Raptis


Rebecca Sharp


Graduate Liberal Studies Program
Rice University
Anderson-Clarke Center
Third Floor
Houston, TX 77005


Graduate Liberal Studies Program
Rice University
Mail Stop 550
P.O. Box 1892
Houston, TX 77251-1892