DLS admission requirements for academic background and application materials.

Diploma in Liberal Studies admissions process consists of a thorough application packet and an interview with the academic director. The following list provides an overview of the materials needed to apply for the DLS program:

  • A 3.5 GPA in successfully-concluded postgraduate degree work from the Rice MLS program; or a liberal arts/liberal studies graduate degree program at an Association of Graduate Liberal Studies Programs (AGLSP) member institution; or other post-graduate degrees that are considered on a case-by-case basis.+A completed admission application
  • Application fee ($85)
  • Current resume
  • Official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • Personal statement
  • Proposal for DLS study
  • Writing samples
  • Admission interview with the academic director

To access this information in a printable format, please download the DLS Application Instructions here.

apply online

Please specify the two main disciplines that you propose to focus on primarily, assuming you are admitted into the DLS program. In DLS these would be called your two “focus disciplines.” The primary focus discipline must be in the humanities since that is the GLS area in which there is the greatest strength and the greatest number of faculty to teach and advise you. It is recommended that the secondary discipline be in the humanities also, again, because that is the area of the program’s greatest strength. But other disciplines or areas are possible. See below if this option is of interest to you.*

It should be emphasized that focus disciplines can be changed after admission. Your choice for the purposes of application is not necessarily the final word on this. However, given the nature of the program, changes would only be approved after consultation, and only if proper advising and suitable courses in the newly chosen discipline or disciplines could be assured for you.

*In connection with the choice of secondary disciplines, a non-humanities discipline/area is possible, in addition to humanities disciplines, if one has a strong background in that discipline/area. So, for example, a secondary focus discipline in the social sciences or natural sciences, or even in the areas of law, engineering or medicine is possible. To be sure, especially in connection with the last three areas, the program would have to make sure, during the application review process, that it could properly advise a student with a secondary focus discipline in such areas before admission could be granted.
What constitutes a strong background in a discipline or area outside of the humanities, one may ask. Here are some examples. A BA or BS degree with a major in a particular discipline would count as a strong background in an area outside of the humanities -- as would, naturally, a Ph.D. in a given area, or an LL.D. or an M.D. degree. (Check with the GLS Directors if you need further information on this.) If you are proposing such a discipline or area as your secondary focus discipline, click the “Other” box and write in the discipline or area proposed in the space provided.

For the proposal for DLS study, please describe how you plan to integrate the focus disciplines you have chosen above in an interdisciplinary way. This is most easily done if you sketch a possible small-scale research project involving your two chosen focus disciplines and explain in general terms how you might make use of insights from each discipline, in an integrated way, to carry out the project. Please read the article on interdisciplinarity that figures in this application before you write your proposal to proceed from a better foundation concerning the possibilities of interdisciplinary research. Please make some suitable references to this reading in your proposal. If you have already done an interdisciplinary study or paper involving your two focus disciplines, you may take that as your research project. Just make sure to add insights from the article just mentioned to show a broader understanding of interdisciplinary research.

Optional: if you already have an idea of what you might like to do in, not just a smaller interdisciplinary research project, but in the large-scale interdisciplinary Diploma Project that concludes the DLS program, you are invited to use this as your example of a possible research project involving your two focus disciplines, again, including information on how you might integrate the two disciplines. Here too read the article referenced above in advance and make suitable references to it in explaining the project.

This portion of your application is important, and we urge you to take care in the preparation of it. The persons reviewing your application will be assisted in their decisions by a brief and well-written statement from you. Please describe what you consider the most important steps in your life preparing you for the study of the two focus disciplines you have chosen for DLS study and interdisciplinary research. Be sure to include the course background you have in each of the two focus disciplines chosen, including, for example, courses you have taken in each discipline in the MLS program. Discuss also examples of any interdisciplinary research (or teaching or reading, etc.) you have already done involving your two focus disciplines, if you have such experience.

You should provide solid evidence of writing ability by submitting one of the following. Options are listed from the most preferred to the least preferred, but each option is sufficient for the purpose of completing the application.

  • An interdisciplinary paper from a post-baccalaureate program, e.g. MLS/MALS
  • An interdisciplinary research paper not from a post-baccalaureate program
  • A single-discipline research paper from a post-baccalaureate program, e.g. MLS/MALS
  • A single-discipline research paper not from a post-baccalaureate program