Application Procedure | College of Arts & Sciences | Kent State University

Application Procedure

Students may begin the program in the fall, the spring, or the summer. Applications may therefore be submitted at any time during the regular academic year. However, because of budget cuts occasioned by the current Recession, applications can no longer be considered over the summer. Students interested in starting in the fall therefore need to make sure all their application materials have reached Graduate Studies before the end of the previous spring semester. 

Keep in mind, however, that your application file must be complete six weeks before the start of the semester in which you wish to begin the program in order to guarantee  consideration. That means that all required documents - letters of recommendation, transcripts, Goal Statement - must be received by Graduate Studies six weeks before the start of the semester in which you wish you enroll.

Most of the application process is now online, and is explained below. 
For items that have to be sent by postal mail, such as your transcripts and the letters of recommendation that you will have your professors submit for you, use this address:

Division of Graduate Studies
Cartwright Hall
650 Hilltop Drive
Kent State University
Kent, OH 44242

International students should have their documents sent to:

Office of Global Education
625 Loop Road
106 Van Campen Hall
Kent State University
Kent, OH 44242

To receive general information about graduate studies at Kent State, you can fill out this form.

Kent State University requires a minimum 3.0 undergraduate gpa of applicants to its graduate programs. See Graduate Admissions. In extraordinary circumstances, which are evaluated on a case-by-case basis, students can be admitted conditionally if they had an undergraduate gpa between 2.75 and 3.0. Students who had less than a 2.75 undergraduate gpa and are seriously interested in pursuing graduate study should consider taking rigorous upper-division undergraduate courses as a PUG (post-undergraduate) to raise their gpa and show that they are capable of solid work in advanced courses. These courses must be approved by the Director of Liberal Studies before they are taken in order to be considered.

How to Apply Online

  1. Start by writing your Goal Statement, using a word processor and following the directions provided below. You will need it during the online application procedure when you get to Additional Requirements (Checklist Item 8 of 9). You are strongly urged to run your completed  Goal Statement by the Director of Liberal Studies, Richard M. Berrong (, before you start the online application procedure, to make sure it covers all the bases. Your Goal Statement must include aTentative List of the specific classes you are interested in taking. Use the form provided here and attach it to the end of your Goal Statement. Make sure to use this form and not an Excel spreadsheet, etc.
  2. When your Goal Statement, including your Tentative List of Classes, is complete and has been approved by the Program Director, but not before, start the Kent State University online graduate application procedure by clicking on this link. (International students should click here instead.)
    On the New Application Selection page, under Select Academic Unit, select Arts and Sciences.
    On the Intended Major page (Checklist Item 5 of 9), select LSM - Liberal Studies from the pulldown box. It's at the top of the list, out of alphabetical order.
    On the Additional Requirements page (Checklist Item 8 of 9), click on clicking here in the third line from the top, underPlease complete the following, and upload your Goal Statement. It will say Thank you for your submission!, but you haven't finished yet. Close that window and continue through to the end of the application procedure.
  3. Email the Director at to let him know that you've started the application process, so he can keep an eye out for your application, which he will not receive until Graduate Studies has received all the required materials (transcripts, letters of recommendation, Goal Statement) and forwarded them to him in one file.
  4. Ask 3 individuals to send letters of recommendation to the address in the upper left-hand corner of this page describing your qualities as a student and the likelihood of your succeeding in graduate study.  You should provide them with your Tentative List of Courses and Goal Statement, so that they can speak to the likelihood of your doing well in the specific program you have chosen. Do not give them any sort of form with boxes to check. Those are worthless. Ask them to write a letter that speaks to the issues mentioned above.
        If you have been out of college for some time and are no longer in contact with your college professors, you would want to get letters from your employers or others who can speak to your work ethic.
        In all cases, it is very important that these letters come from individuals who can provide objective evaluations of your qualities; they should not come from personal friends, your employees, or anyone else who might be less than objective.
        Also, make sure to pick individuals who will write you substantive letters; letters from individuals who write only a few sentences or  that they do not really know your work well will not help your application. Again, you definitely want to avoid using any recommendation form that just  asks the writer to put checks in boxes.
        Make sure you have the individuals you ask for these recommendations indicate in their letters that you are applying to the Masters in Liberal Studies program.
  5. You should figure that it will take at least six weeks between the time Graduate Studies has received all your material, including all your letters of recommendation, and the time you receive a decision, so allow plenty of time before the semester you wish to start. Also remember: because of budget cuts occasioned by the current Recession, applications can no longer be considered over the summer. Students interested in starting in the fall therefore need to make sure all their application materials have reached Graduate Studies before the end of the previous spring semester.

Goal Statement Format

 Remember that the Goal Statement is both a description and justification of your intended program for the MLS and a writing sample, so make sure you write it in your best English. This goes for all applicants, no matter which fields they propose to pursue. This program operates out of the College of Arts and Sciences. It therefore requires that its graduate students be able to write a fluent and correct English such as is to be expected from individuals pursuing a graduate degree. Yes, it is sad but true that some American high schools and even colleges now graduate students who cannot write their native language at even grade school level. This is a skill that can be learned, however, at any age. No one is born writing well. Those who write well learned how to do it, in large part because they listened to those who showed them where they had work to do. If your written English needs work, the Director may direct you to an undergraduate composition course - not College Writing - to remedy the situation. If your written English is bad, you may be denied admission to the program.

Be sure to start with the header and your name, so that your Goal Statement goes to the right place.

Kent State University
College of Arts & Sciences   Liberal Studies Masters Degree Program

Name _________________________________________________________ 

     The Liberal Studies Masters Degree is an interdisciplinary program that provides students interested in taking graduate courses in several different fields with an opportunity to do so. As you think about the fields in which you would like to study, keep in mind that the courses you take must constitute a unified project.

1. Start by proposing a Title for your Program of Study, therefore, and indicate what you major and minor Areas of Study would be. You can find examples of what past students have done by looking at the list of completed programs under Examples of MLS Programs and Capstone Essays in the left frame. Remember: your Program of Study must form a cohesive,unified whole. It can't just be a list of various courses you would like to take.

2. Then sit down with a copy of the Graduate Catalog, either a paper version or the one online, which you can access by clicking onKSU Graduate Catalog in the left frame of this website. Make a list of courses that interest you in your various chosen Areas of Study. Group them by department, and make sure that you
a. precede each course title with its field abbreviation and five-digit course number, such as BAD 65184 International Business.
b. include after it the number of credit hours that course entails. Most courses will be three-credit-hour courses, but not all.
This is only a tentative list; what you end up taking will be a function of which courses are available in which semesters and how your interests develop as you pursue your degree. You may list as many courses as you like, but you must list at least 28 credit hours of electives in addition to the required courses, or 27 hours if you elect to take AS 61001 while you take AS 61000.

Student experience has convinced me that I need to add an explanatory note here for those of you who are not accustomed to working with a university catalog and so may not understand what the list of courses in it actually is. A university catalog contains a list of courses that have, at some time in the past, been approved to be offered. Some of those courses are offered regularly, though few of them are offered every semester, especially at the graduate level. Some of them have not been offered in years, because the faculty who used to teach them have left. Some many never be offered during your six years in the program, or may be offered once but at a time that conflicts with your work or something else. Other courses not listed in the catalog, especially Special Topics courses, may be offered. For this reason, it is a good idea to list more than the minimum number of courses required.

To get an idea of the graduate courses that are offered regularly in the departments that concern you, go to the KSU Schedule of Classes, as explained on the Main Page of this site near the bottom under Finding Online Courses, and look to see what those departments offered in the preceding and current semesters. This will not show you all the courses that will be available while you are working toward your Liberal Studies degree: many graduate courses are offered on a three- or four-semester rotation. It will, however, give you some idea of which graduate courses are offered on a regular basis. You can also contact the individual departments via e-mail to ask about the frequency of certain courses. We usually do not know which courses will be offered more than a year in advance, but most departments keep track of what they offer regularly.

3. Then review the Degree Requirements, which you can find by clicking on Return to Main Page  in the left frame of this website and looking under Program Requirements. You may need to adjust or augment your list of courses as a function of these requirements.

4. Then download the form I have prepared for organizing your Tentative List of Courses by clicking here. Use this form and not a spreadsheet. After you have filled it out, simply copy/paste this form into your Goal Statement.

5. Finally, in your Goal Statement explain, one by one, how each of the nine or more courses you have listed under Electives fits into the unified, cohesive program you have proposed. This is very important. Your Program has to make sense as a unified whole, and not be just a list of courses that interest you. For a model of how to do this, click here.

I look forward to reading your Goal Statement!