The Master of Liberal Arts program (MLA) is designed for individuals from a variety of backgrounds and requires no specific prerequisite courses. However, for your admission to the program, it is necessary that you have previous coursework in the liberal arts and evidence of preparedness for graduate-level work, such as independent research and writing experience.
Applicants must hold either a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited US institution. International students should make sure that their degree is the equivalent of a four-year degree in the US. Successful applicants to the Master of Liberal Arts program must possess at least a 3.0 grade point average in their undergraduate studies.
Standardized tests such as the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) are not generally required when applying for the Master of Liberal Arts. However, you may choose to submit standardized test scores in support of your application. Most international applicants are required to demonstrate English proficiency via Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) scores.
COVID-19 and admissions reviews
Recognizing the challenges of teaching, learning, and assessing academic performance during the global COVID-19 pandemic, Penn’s admissions committees for graduate and professional programs will take the significant disruptions of the COVID-19 outbreak in 2020 into account when reviewing students’ transcripts and other admissions materials as part of their regular practice of performing individualized, holistic reviews of each applicant. In particular, as we review applications now and in the future, we will respect decisions regarding the adoption of Pass/Fail and other grading options during the period of COVID-19 disruptions. An applicant will not be adversely affected in the admissions process if their academic institution implemented a mandatory pass/fail (or similar) system for the term or if the applicant chose to participate in an optional pass/fail (or similar) system for the term. Penn’s longstanding commitment remains to admit graduate and professional student cohorts composed of outstanding individuals who demonstrate the resilience and aptitude to succeed in their academic pursuits.
Application and deadlines
The first step toward earning your Master of Liberal Arts degree at Penn is completing the online application.
You may apply to begin Master of Liberal Arts studies during the fall, spring, or summer terms. Your application portfolio, including all transcripts, must be received by the following deadlines:
Regular admission deadlines
|Term of Entry||Deadline|
|Spring 2022||November 1, 2021|
|Summer 2022||April 1, 2022|
|Fall 2022||July 1, 2022|
International student admission deadlines
|Term of Entry||Deadline|
|Spring 2022||October 1, 2021|
|Summer 2022||March 1, 2022|
|Fall 2022||June 1, 2022|
Applications for the Master of Liberal Arts program are accepted on a rolling basis. Candidates under serious consideration are invited to interview with a member of the Admissions Committee on campus or remotely.