Pre-Summer 2019 Students Only

In lieu of completing a thesis, MALS students in the non-thesis option submit an essay at the end of their studies which synthesizes their experiences in the program. The essay is due at the end of their final term, usually around the last day of classes.


Here is a general outline for your use in constructing your synthesizing essay. We have provided three general questions to stimulate your thinking as you reflect on your MALS experience at Wake Forest University. Using each question as a theme, we have suggested ways to expand your thoughts in these areas.

The essay should be 15-20 pages in length, double spaced, with 1 inch margins, using a standard font in 12 point type. The deadline for submitting the paper will be set each semester, generally within a week of the end of classes. Please email an electronic copy to

How has the MALS program enriched your life?

Discuss at least three ideas, growing from your personal MALS experience, which inspired you. Illustrate these ideas by drawing from the appropriate coursework that provided inspiration.

What have you learned about yourself that you didn’t know before?

Think about interactions with MALS faculty, fellow students, discussions, readings, or assignments that were particularly stimulating.

How do you think your MALS experience will inform your future?

Consider your professional life, your personal life, your family and/or your community.

General suggestions

Focus the essay on your coursework and your intellectual development. While personal situations (illnesses or major life changes, for example) that occurred during your time in the MALS program, as well as the factors in your life that led to your entering the MALS program are all important, the essay should be about your time in the program, your courses, and your personal development as a result of the program. If you find it necessary to include discussion about these types of external circumstances, please limit it to less than one page.

The quality of your writing should reflect that this is a final paper in a Master’s degree program. Be careful with punctuation, grammar, etc. You may utilize the services of the Writing Center if you feel you need help.

Feel free to contact the Liberal Studies office if you have any questions about approaching this writing assignment.


If you have questions about the Liberal Arts Studies M.A. program, please contact us so we can help you!