Designing Your Degree Program

Goal Statement Format

Remember that the Goal Statement is both a description and justification of your intended program for the MLS (Master of Liberal Studies) degree and provides reviewers a writing sample.

Be sure to start with the following header and your name, so it is clear to which program you are applying.

(Your Name)
Kent State University
College of Arts & Sciences
Liberal Studies Master’s Degree Program

1. Title and Areas of Study

Start by proposing a title for your program of study. It should indicate what is it that you want to learn about and be able to do. Then, in a paragraph or two, explain why you want to learn this, be able to do this, etc. Indicate in what fields you would need to take courses to accomplish this. 

2. List of Courses

Make  a list of courses in your chosen areas of study that you judge will contribute to your stated goals.  Make sure to include the course subject heading, number and title, using the procedure described below.  The courses as a whole should meet the requirements for the program.

You can see what the university offers in your areas of interest by accessing the online version of the university's course descriptions. Below are instructions for how to look for courses.

a. Clicking on the online version of the university's course descriptions will take you to a window entitled Catalog Term. Pick the current term in the drop-down box under Search by Term and then click on the gray Submit button under that.

b. On the Search for Courses window that appears next,

i. pick one of the Subjects that interests you in the top Subject box,

ii. skip down to Level and pick Graduate,

iii. skip down to the gray Get Courses button at the bottom on the left and make a selection. 
You will be taken to a window entitled Catalog Entries that will provide  you a listing of all the potential graduate courses in that field. Note that "potential" is emphasized for reasons explained below.

c. Note the graduate courses at the masters level (i.e., 50000 and 60000 course numbers) which interest you in that subject.

d. Do this for each of the subjects that interest you.

When you have compiled a list of courses that would help you learn what it is that you propose to study, group them by department, making sure that you

  1. Precede each course title with its subject heading abbreviation and five-digit course number, such as CLAS 51006 Roman History.  
  2. Include after it the number of credit hours listed for that particular course. Most courses will be three-credit-hour courses, but not all.

This is an alternate link to view the university's most recent course descriptions.

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 27 credit hours of electives in addition to the required Liberal Studies Essay or Internship course. 12 to 15 of the listed hours should be in your focus area (one subject heading), with the rest in other areas; do not include any courses listed as "Workshops" and do not include any courses which are not at the 50000 or 60000 level.

If you are applying for the 100% online option, make sure the courses you list on your goal statement are generally taught online, rather than face to face (to do so use the instructions linked here: Finding Courses). Note, not every department offers online courses regularly.

A Note on the University Catalog. Why the list of courses you develop from it can be no more than potential courses for your program of study.

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 recent  years, because the faculty who taught the course may have  left. To get an idea of the graduate courses that are offered regularly in the subject areas that interest you, go to the online Kent State University Schedule of Classes, and see what was offered in the preceding and current semesters.

3. Review the Program Requirements

Review the Program Requirements, listed on the Program Requirements page on this site. 

4. Justify Your Selections

State in general terms how your course selection serves your individualized program goals.  

5. Getting Help

Contact the program coordinator if you need help compiling your course list, or have questions about composing your goal statement.