Marylhurst Announces Social Change and Leadership Program

Ericka Carlson completed Marylhurst's low-residency graduate program in food systems and society in 2015. She is now director of business development at Truitt Family Foods, where they are "making foods that make a difference."

M.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies revamped as a highly accessible, low-residency program with a focus on social engagement and change.

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Marylhurst University is now accepting applications for its reinvigorated Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies program; classes will begin fall term 2018. The master’s degree program, with a focus in social justice and leadership, prepares students to better understand and engage with the social world so they can be effective thought leaders, problem solvers and agents of change.

The program is designed to be completed in two years, including a capstone project. Students will begin to research and define their projects in the first year of the program and accrue hands-on experience implementing the project throughout the second year, applying theory to practice and social engagement.

“The new low-residency format makes it possible for graduate students from across the country to remain in the places in which they live and work – where they may already be engaged in social advocacy – while taking classes,” said Dr. Sean Gillon, chair of Marylhurst University’s Department of Interdisciplinary and Applied Liberal Arts.

“Each student will collaborate with faculty advisers to develop an independent project related to social change,” Gillon said. “Faculty will support and guide the students, who will plan and implement truly inspirational work in areas of interest to them and their communities, resulting in real change.”

Students are able to complete most coursework online, complemented by two short visits per year to the Marylhurst campus, in fall and spring. During these weekend sessions, students engage with fellowstudents, program faculty and guest speakers. Select guest lectures will be open to the public.

The social change and leadership program is the latest addition to Marylhurst’s low-residency graduate offerings, ideal for students who need to fit school into their busy lives, around commitments to work and family, or who simply want to stay in their local communities while pursuing a graduate program. Marylhurst also offers a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing, Master of Arts in Mental Health Counseling, Master of Divinity and Master of Science in Food Systems and Society in the low-residency format.

For more information on the M.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies program and admission requirements, go to

About Marylhurst University – Founded in 1893, Marylhurst University is a premier, not-for-profit, professionally focused liberal arts and business university. Marylhurst’s community of scholars, professionals and artists offers exceptional master’s degrees, bachelor’s degree completion programs, courses, continuing education and impressive arts, music and cultural events.