Humanities, Master of Arts

Admission Requirements

Applicants must hold a bachelor of arts or science degree from an accredited institution and present an undergraduate record that shows evidence of the ability to do graduate work in the humanities. A minimum overall undergraduate grade-point average of 3.0 will normally be required. Applicants must write a 500-word statement of purpose that indicates goals and interests in the program. The essay may refer to the suggested study plan or focus on a proposed idea for a self-designed study plan. In addition, recent graduates of a B.A. or B.S. program are asked to submit a writing sample, roughly ten pages in length and involving research, from their undergraduate program. Less recent graduates may supply a comparable writing sample of a professional nature. An interview with the program coordinator is normally required. The University recognizes that each applicant, including those who have been away from formal schooling for many years or who may have less than the required grade-point average, possesses unique qualifications that will be given full consideration. In some cases, prospective students may be required to complete prescribed undergraduate courses. Students are not formally admitted until all undergraduate transcripts and other required materials have been submitted to the office of Graduate Studies in the College of Arts and Sciences.

Program Learning Goals

A Humanities student will:

  1. Integrate at least two disciplines, one of which must be in the humanities, to produce a sound interdisciplinary Master’s Essay.
  2. Demonstrate, in that essay, a level of critical thinking and analysis that situates the essay’s argument in the scholarship of the selected fields.
  3. Show professional research, speaking, and writing skills.

Program Requirements

The Humanities Program requires students to perform satisfactorily in at least ten courses (a total of 30 credit hours), one being a course to complete the Master’s Essay. Students must also pass an oral defense of that essay. Of the 30 credit hours of study, at least 15 must be taken at the 500 level. Students take specific courses determined by their study plan. In addition to their two foundational Humanities courses (HM 500 and HM 503) and their final MA Essay course (HM 598), students take additional 400- and 500-level courses primarily from the departments in the humanities: Art History, Communication and Theatre, Classical and Modern Languages and Cultures, English, History, Philosophy, and Theology and Religious Studies. Courses may be taken from departments in the social sciences and natural sciences as well, but they must have a clear relation to the student’s particular area of humanist study and may be taken only with the permission of the Humanities program coordinator.

In certain cases, courses on special topics will be offered under HM 597. These include courses taught by visiting scholars and courses whose content relates to more than a single discipline (and may therefore be cross-listed with another department). The specific title will replace the “Special Topics” title listed for HM 597 below.

N.B. Enrollment in EN 599 below is restricted only to those students who matriculated under earlier bulletins.

Study Plans and Individualized Study

Each student will select and design, in cooperation with the program’s coordinator and faculty advisors, an individualized plan of study. Within their study plans, students are encouraged to identify and pursue integrative themes that promote personal, intellectual, and/or professional development. Study plans often foster appreciation of diverse cultural traditions. Finally, they should offer new perspectives on persistent human problems.

Sample study plans include but are not limited to:

Classical Studies

Medieval/Renaissance Studies

Modern European Studies

Cultural Studies

Ethics, Leadership, and the Professions

Medicine and the Humanities

American Studies

Catholic Studies

Women’s and Gender Studies

Irish Studies

Latin American Studies

Urban Studies

Ethics and Society

Literature and Society

Theory and Practice of Democracy

Visual Culture

Visions of the Self

Representations of the Body

Environment and Society