University News

WIU Master of Liberal Arts and Sciences Program’s Flexible Curriculum Options

April 20, 2022

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MACOMB, IL - - The Master of Liberal Arts and Sciences program at Western Illinois University provides flexible, individualized course options, and opportunities for students wanting to pursue higher education without honing in on one central subject.

The program focuses on reading, writing, speaking and critical thinking skills, as well as enabling students to explore personal areas of interest that will eventually foster their professional growth. In contrast to other graduate programs offered on campus, this program caters to students looking to fulfill the requirements of a master's degree, without a core specialty in mind.

Graduates of the unique program find themselves pursuing a variety of careers. Alumni David "Sento" Ashby, a 2020 graduate, received his degree with an emphasis in both sociology and stage combat. In February, he was elected to the Governing Body of the Society of American Fight Directors (SAFD), a nonprofit organization focused on promoting safety and excellence in the field of stage combat.

Many graduates have taken advantage of the courses offered in the program, working toward their degree while simultaneously maintaining a job and various responsibilities. The program sets itself apart from many programs by offering courses not only during the day, but also in the evenings, and even on weekends to cater to its unique student population.

One of those students, Sue Adams, a 2014 alumna, took advantage of this program because, while she always wanted to further her education, she was not interested in a specific course of graduate study. This program, however, allowed her to enhance her knowledge in multiple fields, while simultaneously working as an employee of the University.

"I was not someone who was interested in a specific career that required a certain degree, but I love learning and I loved everything about this program," said Adams. "I wasn't stressing out over tests and grades, I was excited and confident about my knowledge and ready to apply it in the classroom setting."

In addition to her time in the program, Adams said she has benefited beyond the classroom. As her final project in the program, she wrote a series of articles regarding complicated discussion topics in the Bible. While this began as an assignment, it blossomed into a passion for self-publishing her work and now Adams has written multiple books.

"I would have never thought to dive into the world of self-publishing if it weren't for this program," said Adams.

An Integrated Baccalaureate and Master's Degree in Liberal Arts and Sciences is also offered, allowing students to receive both degrees in a total of five years. In addition to this offering, the University also offers an integrated program to students pursuing related Baccalaureate degrees such as anthropology and foreign language and cultures.

When asked what advice she would give to prospective students considering this program, Adams had a simple reply.

"Just do it, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain," said Adams. "You will use the skills and knowledge from this program in all areas of your life, not just in your career."

For more information about the program, visit

Posted By: Rachel Greene (
Office of University Communications & Marketing