Master of Liberal Studies

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.

  1. Ensure Your Eligibility
  2. Find Your Application Deadline
  3. Submit Your Application


Ensure Your Eligibility

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.

GRE is not required for Rice's MLS program.

Find Your Application Deadline

When you are ready to take the next step, we invite you to submit your application for admission to Rice's MLS program. We accept applications three times a year for fall, spring, and summer start dates.

Admission Cycle Application Deadline
Fall May 15
Spring October 15
Summer February 15

Submit Your Application

The main component of your application materials is the online application for admissions: You can find details regarding additional application materials below.

Application Requirements

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

  • Completed online Application for Admission
  • $85 non-refundable application fee
  • Current resume
  • Personal statement (See instructions below.)
  • Writing sample (See instructions below.)
  • Official transcripts from all previous colleges or universities attended, sent directly to the Graduate Liberal Studies office
  • Two letters of recommendation, each accompanied by a completed Letter of Recommendation form
  • Application interview
Writing Sample

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.

Personal Statement

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.

Submitting Your Materials

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 MLS program. Electronic transcripts are accepted 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.

Interested in the Rice MLS?

Join us at an upcoming information session or connect with us one-on-one to get started.


Expand your horizons and gain a deeper understanding of the world with the Master of Liberal Studies program. This program combines a world-class Rice education with the flexibility of a degree plan tailored to meet your needs.

Master of Liberal Studies



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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