Courses for Autumn Quarter 2011 – MLS 401: Visions of the Self

All MALS students are required to complete MLS 401: Visions of the Self, which is the first of our core courses, taught each year in Autumn Quarter only. The course meets Monday evenings, 6 – 9:15, at LPC. And while our MALS students are required to take MLS 401, we often encourage IDS students to consider it as well. In fact, many of our IDS students include MLS 401 on their List of Courses and find it to be one of their favorite classes.

This year “Visions of the Self” is taught by Professor Charles Strain. The course provides excellent exploration of how people in multiple cultures, throughout history, have worked to make sense of the human struggle for identity. In addition to compelling  interdisciplinary subject matter, the course also incorporates reinforcement of advanced reading, writing and research skills at the graduate level, which benefits so many of our students, especially those who may have been away from academia for some time.

This is a true Liberal Arts course, where students and professor enjoy the opportunity to explore ideas deeply in relation to our personal, intellectual, and professional questions of how we define ourselves in diverse settings.  Professor Strain approaches the course seminar-style, which allows for a smaller, more personalized classroom experience.

Courses for Autumn Quarter 2011 – MLS 488: Topics in World Religions

MLS 488 – Topics in World Religions: Islamic Law (Shariah) and American Culture
Wednesdays 6:00 – 9:15 pm
(Cross-listed with REL 324 and IWS 324)
Dr. Aminah McCloud

An intensive study of the many dimensions of religious liberties in a pluralist society. Explores the language of constitutional and political discourse generally, and the ways in which language affects an understanding of the First Amendment. Includes case studies on particular religious communities and their encounters with American law.

Courses for Autumn Quarter 2011 – MLS 489: Artists in Cities

MLS 489 – Special Topics in Sociology: ARTISTS IN CITIES
Mondays –Wednesday 4:20 – 5:50 pm
(Cross-listed with SOC 390/495)
Dr. Noreen Cornfield

 In this course, students are simultaneously introduced to two fields: Sociology of Culture (especially the visual arts) and Dynamics of Urban Society.  During “Chicago Artists Month” in October, hundreds of Chicago visual arts venues are open and free to the public.  These events give students unique opportunities for first-hand field experience of urban communities and arts institutions. Field trips bring sociological concepts to life – including, among others: comparisons of urban neighborhoods in terms of cultural amenities; visual artists as an urban subculture; art as collaborative action; demographics of arts audiences (including discrepancies of race, gender, ethnicity, socio-economic status); reciprocal impact of the presence of artists in low-rent neighborhoods, and the process of gentrification; effects of de-industrialization and globalization upon cities and urban culture; how artists utilize vacant urban spaces; artist networks (social and professional) and the production of culture.  Students engage in critical discussion of public policies regarding the arts; the role of arts institutions in promoting the vitality of cities; comparisons between mass media stereotypes of artists, and the actual lives of artists.  Readings include a recent ethnography of Wicker Park, a Chicago neighborhood popular among students; a new study of ethnic visual art networks in Rogers Park, Bronzeville, and Pilsen; and other timely research reports.


New Library Research Guides

The DePaul University Library website features new online guides to help you with some common research tasks including:

How To Find Book Reviews
How to Find Newspapers and News Stories
How to Find Biographical Information

There are also subject-specific research guides that can help you find the best resources in your area of study.  You can use these new and valuable resource at

The Master???s as the New Bachelor???s

William Klein’s story may sound familiar to his fellow graduates. After earning his bachelor’s in history from the College at Brockport, he found himself living in his parents’ Buffalo home, working the same $7.25-an-hour waiter job he had in high school.

It wasn’t that there weren’t other jobs out there. It’s that they all seemed to want more education. Even tutoring at a for-profit learning center or leading tours at a historic site required a master’s. “It’s pretty apparent that with the degree I have right now, there are not too many jobs I would want to commit to,” Mr. Klein says.

So this fall, he will sharpen his marketability at Rutgers’ new master’s program in Jewish studies (think teaching, museums and fund-raising in the Jewish community). Jewish studies may not be the first thing that comes to mind as being the road to career advancement, and Mr. Klein is not sure exactly where the degree will lead him (he’d like to work for the Central Intelligence Agency in the Middle East). But he is sure of this: he needs a master’s. Browse professional job listings and it’s “bachelor’s required, master’s preferred.”

Call it credential inflation. Once derided as the consolation prize for failing to finish a Ph.D. or just a way to kill time waiting out economic downturns, the master’s is now the fastest-growing degree. The number awarded, about 657,000 in 2009, has more than doubled since the 1980s, and the rate of increase has quickened substantially in the last couple of years, says Debra W. Stewart, president of the Council of Graduate Schools. Nearly 2 in 25 people age 25 and over have a master’s, about the same proportion that had a bachelor’s or higher in 1960.

“Several years ago it became very clear to us that master’s education was moving very rapidly to become the entry degree in many professions,” Dr. Stewart says. The sheen has come, in part, because the degrees are newly specific and utilitarian. These are not your general master’s in policy or administration. Even the M.B.A., observed one business school dean, “is kind of too broad in the current environment.” Now, you have the M.S. in supply chain management, and in managing mission-driven organizations. There’s an M.S. in skeletal and dental bioarchaeology, and an M.A. in learning and thinking.

The degree of the moment is the professional science master’s, or P.S.M., combining job-specific training with business skills. Where only a handful of programs existed a few years ago, there are now 239, with scores in development. Florida’s university system, for example, plans 28 by 2013, clustered in areas integral to the state’s economy, including simulation (yes, like Disney, but applied to fields like medicine and defense). And there could be many more, says Patricia J. Bishop, vice provost and dean of graduate studies at the University of Central Florida. “Who knows when we’ll be done?”

While many new master’s are in so-called STEM areas — science, technology, engineering and math — humanities departments, once allergic to applied degrees, are recognizing that not everyone is ivory tower-bound and are drafting credentials for résumé boosting.

“There is a trend toward thinking about professionalizing degrees,” acknowledges Carol B. Lynch, director of professional master’s programs at the Council of Graduate Schools. “At some point you need to get out of the library and out into the real world. If you are not giving people the skills to do that, we are not doing our job.”

This, she says, has led to master’s in public history (for work at a historical society or museum), in art (for managing galleries) and in music (for choir directors or the business side of music). Language departments are tweaking master’s degrees so graduates, with a portfolio of cultural knowledge and language skills, can land jobs with multinational companies.

Laura Pappano is author of “Inside School Turnarounds: Urgent Hopes, Unfolding Stories.”

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction: July 28, 2011


An earlier version of this article misidentified the university that is revamping its master’s in public history. It is the University of Central Florida, not the University of South Florida.


A New York Times article on the ever-increasing importance of a Master’s Degree in today’s job market.