Master of Liberal Studies

Admissions Requirements

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.

Three Steps to Submitting Your Application




Review the prerequisites required to apply to the Master of Liberal Studies program.




We recommend reaching out to a member of our team or attending an information session to learn about the level of commitment required to ensure a rewarding experience in Rice's MLS program.




Please review the application process to understand what will be requested as a part of your admissions. Get started early.


Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree (or equivalent) from an accredited university or college. A minimum GPA of 3.0 from the applicant’s undergraduate work is expected. Application deadline dates and details about the admissions process is available below.

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

Important Dates

We accept applications for fall, spring, and summer start dates.

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
  • Personal statement
  • Writing sample
  • 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

Once you submit your application, you will be invited for an admissions interview.

Letters of Recommendation: If you have completed undergraduate or other graduate work in the past five years, your references should come from former professors. For those who have not recently attended an academic institution, we prefer letters of recommendation from someone who knows your work professionally or understands why an MLS degree would be important to your intellectual development.

This portion of your application is extremely 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 (no more than two pages in length) which should include the following:

  • Various influences than have been important in your intellectual development
  • Your academic and professional objectives in applying to the MLS program

The document should be typed in 12-point font, double-spaced, one-inch margins and should include your full name, title of the document and page number on each page of the document.

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

In addition to the Personal Statement, you are asked to submit a writing sample that demonstrates your ability to think and write critically. The writing sample should:

  • Demonstrate a coherent and concise argument through well-organized paragraphs;
  • Provide support for the assertions made;
  • Lead to a logical, meaningful and clearly stated conclusion;
  • When applicable, properly credit all ideas and quotes taken from other sources.

The writing sample must not be edited by anyone other than the applicant prior to submission. You may use resources such as texts, encyclopedias, or the internet but all sources must be fully credited.

Choose ONE topic from the three options listed below. The writing sample must be at least four to five pages in length and should include citations for all references as appropriate. The document should be typed in 12-point font, double-spaced, with one-inch margins. Your full name, title of the work and page number should appear on each page of the document.

Humanities: Using this quote from The Gettysburg Address, discuss the context, meaning, and provide an analysis of the text. “But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate – we can not consecrate – we can not hallow -- this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion – that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain – that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom – and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

Social Sciences: “For the great enemy of truth is very often not the lie – deliberate, contrived and dishonest – but the myth – persistent, persuasive, and unrealistic.” – John F. Kennedy

Even with the proclamation that through hard work and perseverance anyone can achieve the American Dream, history has exposed this belief as a myth for the many who had been excluded. Using current and historical evidence, demonstrate your understanding of the ways in which some people have been prevented from attaining the American Dream.

Natural Sciences: DNA is said to contain the genetic information for life. A lovely orange and black monarch butterfly that emerges from the chrysalis and the green caterpillar that makes up the chrysalis have identical DNA. What is DNA and how is it possible that such disparate forms of life, the butterfly and the caterpillar, can have the same DNA? Be as specific as possible about the process(es) involved.

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 two references will be submitted online. Official transcripts must be mailed directly to the MLS program. Electronic transcripts are preferred if available and should be sent to Application materials become property of Rice University and will not be returned.

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

To access the personal statement and writing sample information in a printable format, please download the MLS 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.


View the MLS Information Session

Want to learn more? Access our free on-demand information session today.




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