Master of Philosophy in Liberal Arts

Expand your master’s research, develop new methods and define your expertise

The Master of Philosophy in Liberal Arts (MPhil) is an advanced interdisciplinary graduate degree designed for individuals with a passion for academic pursuits. Available on a full- or part-time basis, you elect the courses most relevant to your interests, around your schedule. The Master of Philosophy in Liberal Arts can serve as an important step in future PhD studies, or as a way to deepen engagement with the topics that challenge and excite you.

Courses and thesis

If you already hold a master’s, you can earn an additional graduate degree in just six course units (c.u.).* Your MPhil program includes five courses (up to four in a single discipline) and an independent study dedicated to completing the final thesis project. We strongly encourage MPhil candidates to take advantage of the many disciplines and departments available across the University during your course selection process.

Advisory committee

When you join the MPhil program, you select an advisory committee of two members of Penn’s acclaimed faculty. It is likely that you will work with professors from your coursework or with faculty who are performing research in your area of interest. Though much of your work is done independently, the MPhil program director is available to help you navigate the process and discuss options along the way.

The advisory committee helps you establish guidelines for your thesis and approves the written project as part of your successful completion of the Master of Philosophy in Liberal Arts degree. The rigorous MPhil thesis exemplifies dedication to your chosen field and serves as an ideal tool for demonstrating the quality of your research and writing skills to employers, PhD programs and peers.

We encourage you to contact our program director, Dr. Christopher Pastore, to schedule an appointment to review your current research and explore your options for pursuing an MPhil at Penn.

Student Handbook

For guidelines on MPhil degree requirements, structuring your individualized curriculum, capstone and policies, refer to the Master of Philosophy in Liberal Arts Student Handbook (PDF).


Culture, community, and city living

Explore everything Penn has to offer, including the vibrant city life of Philadelphia.

Looking for financial assistance?

Learn about the options at Penn.

Contact us

Have any questions about the MLA? Reach out to our program director or enrollment team for a one-on-one discussion.