Classical Liberal Education and Leadership, MA

At a Glance: program details

If you are interested in reading primary sources and engaging in seminar discussions, you will greatly enjoy this academic and professional development opportunity to study classic texts through the Socratic method.

Program Description

Degree Awarded: MA Classical Liberal Education and Leadership

The MA program in classical liberal education and leadership is an integrated, interdisciplinary course of study that is student learning centered, employing the Socratic method of classroom dialogue. This Master of Arts degree program fosters a learning community of students and faculty oriented to the classical, holistic pursuit of knowledge.

The curriculum focuses on philosophy, politics, literature, ethics, economics and history. It combines theory and practice with ideas and application, incorporating inquiry about the good life with the practical challenge of leading others --- nations, societies and individuals --- in the pursuit of a way of life that accords with the precepts of justice and the ethos of humanity.

Intellectual, moral and civic education are understood to be component parts of a genuine liberal education; all are necessary for the flourishing of the individual and society. As Aristotle taught, there is no substitute for doing the right thing in the right way. This is true in how children are educated, neighbors are lived with, and nations are governed. The classical liberal education and leadership program aims to prepare the next generation's teachers, scholars, civic leaders and statesmen to meet the challenges ahead with foresight, integrity, prudence and imagination.

Degree Requirements

30 credit hours including the required applied project course (CEL 593)

Required Core (9 credit hours)
CEL 501 Literary Leaders (3)
CEL 503 Classic Texts in Political Philosophy and Justice (3)
CEL 513 Classic Texts in Leadership and Statesmanship (3)

Restricted Elective (3 credit hours)
LAT 421 Roman Literature (3)
SLC 598 Topic: Greco-Roman Ideas of Leadership and Politics (3)
SLC 598 Topic: The Classical Tradition (3)
SLC 598 Topic: Tragedy and Comedy in the Greek Polis (3)

Open Electives or Research (12 or 15 credit hours)

Culminating Experience (3 or 6 credit hours)
CEL 593 Applied Project (3)
CEL 599 Thesis (6)

Additional Curriculum Information
For the restricted elective, students select one course from the list of options. Students should see the School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership for the most current list. Other courses may be substituted with approval of the academic unit.

Open electives and research are selected in consultation with the academic advisor.

Admission Requirements

Applicants must fulfill the requirements of both the Graduate College and The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Applicants are eligible to apply to the program if they have earned a bachelor's or master's degree in liberal arts, political science, history, philosophy, theology, the natural sciences or a related field from a regionally accredited institution.

Applicants must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00 (scale is 4.00 = "A") in the last 60 hours of their first bachelor's degree program, or applicants must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00 (scale is 4.00 = "A") in an applicable master's degree program.

Applicants are required to submit:

  1. graduate admission application and application fee
  2. official transcripts
  3. three letters of recommendation from people in education or leadership positions
  4. written statement
  5. proof of English proficiency

Additional Application Information
An applicant whose native language is not English must provide proof of English proficiency regardless of their current residency.

Flexible Degree Options

Accelerated program options

This program allows students to obtain both a bachelor's and master's degree in as little as five years.
It is offered as an accelerated bachelor's and master's degree with:

BA - Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership

Do you want to help reshape society? With the skills you gain from this solid academic foundation, you leave ASU prepared to meet today's challenges, whether you create foreign or domestic policy, build a nonprofit that strengthens communities, or lead a business that impacts the lives of many.

Website | Locations: TEMPE

BS - Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership

Whether your dream career includes helping to create foreign or domestic policy, building a nonprofit or leading a business, a degree in civic and economic thought and leadership indicates you're ready to meet the challenges.

Website | Locations: TEMPE

Acceptance to the graduate program requires a separate application. During their junior year, eligible students will be advised by their academic departments to apply.

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Application Deadlines



Session A/C
In Person
April 15th
Session A/C
In Person
February 1st



Session A/C
In Person
November 1st
Session A/C
In Person
October 1st

Career Opportunities

A master's degree allows students to upgrade their bachelor's degree. Students gain specialized knowledge to advance in a chosen field. As the workforce evolves, a graduate degree shows employees are dedicated to enhancing their industry expertise and credibility. Students can focus on a particular field of study, which helps them become more competitive in their area of employment.

A master's degree can open many career doors, including certain career fields, advancement opportunities and higher salaries in the following areas:

  • civic leadership and engagement
  • education, at all levels
  • government
  • nonprofit work
  • politics

Program Contact Information

If you have questions related to admission, please click here to request information and an admission specialist will reach out to you directly. For questions regarding faculty or courses, please use the contact information below.