Classical Liberal Education and Leadership, MA

At a Glance: program details

Explore the classic texts and great thinkers of history in Socratic seminar discussions with world-class professors. This interdisciplinary degree is ideal for K-12 teachers, aspiring civic leaders and students preparing for PhD applications.

Program Description

Degree Awarded: MA Classical Liberal Education and Leadership

The MA program in classical liberal education and leadership is an interdisciplinary course of study that fosters student engagement through the Socratic method of classroom dialogue. Students in this program join a community of students and faculty oriented to the holistic pursuit of knowledge, and they can focus on a particular field of study, which helps them become more competitive in their area of employment.

The curriculum ranges across disciplines and topics, including classical antiquity and American civics. It combines theory with practice and ideas with application. This program inquires into the meaning of the good life and the practical challenge of leading others, including nations, societies and individuals. Students grapple with the perennial questions of the human experience: What is the best form of government? The most just economy? What is the proper relationship between the self and the state?

From Plato and Locke to Jefferson and Lincoln, the great thinkers of the past guide students through the age-old debates about how individuals and societies flourish or flounder. As Aristotle taught, there is no substitute for doing the right thing in the right way. This is true in how children are educated, coexistence with neighbors and governance of nations. The classical liberal education and leadership program aims to prepare the next generation's teachers, scholars and statesmen to meet the challenges ahead with integrity, prudence and imagination.

Degree Requirements

Curriculum Plan Options

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

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'll 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, gain the skills you'll need 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

Graduates of this program draw from the wisdom of the past to confront the challenges of the future. They possess specialized knowledge to advance in a chosen field. As the workforce evolves, a graduate degree shows that employees are dedicated to enhancing their industry expertise and credibility.

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.