Current Student

Upon completion of the degree program, students will need to demonstrate their proficiency with the program goals by completing an exit assessment. The exit assessment will consist of the following:

  • Portfolio of Assignments and Writing; and
  • The Master’s Thesis and Public Defense.

 The Portfolio of Assignments and Writing

At the conclusion of the program, students should be able to demonstrate a competence regarding both the critical thought that hallmarks Humanities graduate work and the appropriate level and understanding of writing that accompanies graduate work in the Humanities fields. The portfolio will assess that students

  • can demonstrate that they are skillful interpreters of textual, visual, and/or cultural creation;
  • are familiar with the processes of research and writing that hallmark graduate-level study in a Humanities field;
  • are capable synthesizers of ideas of critical resources relevant to their field and understand the nature of research appropriate to the field.

In their Methods and Materials of Humanities Research course, students will begin to assemble this portfolio as part of that course’s embedded assessment. In this class the students will learn the rudiments of all three concepts above. To this portfolio, students will then add significant, seminar-style works from their subsequent coursework, one each designated by the student to measure one of the particular skills noted above (for a total of three). The Program Director, with appropriate consultation from other program faculty if necessary, will review this portion of the assessment.

 The Master’s Thesis

In addition to the portfolio, all students will complete a thesis and defend the thesis publicly as part of their graduate work. This thesis will demonstrate a student’s knowledge of a field or subject. The general parameters of the thesis (outlined in the section on the thesis in this packet) will aid in enabling the student to demonstrate his/her mastery of a particular subject area of study. The thesis director and committee members will assess the thesis.

Ultimately, it is important that graduates from the MA in Humanities Program demonstrate both a breadth of Master’s-level learning across a range of disciplines and a depth of understanding in one particular field and, even more, in one particular area. The Portfolio is thus designed to assess each student’s breadth of knowledge, while the Thesis assesses each student’s depth in one particular subject area.

MA in Humanities Exit Assessment – Portfolio Evaluation

Exit assessment evaluation scale (on a basis of 1-4)

1 – the student does not demonstrate an understanding of the goal in any measurable way

2 – the student demonstrates a basic understanding of the goal, but there are still severe deficiencies present in her demonstration of the course goal

3 – the student demonstrates a strong understanding of the goal, but is still missing one or two key components in mastering the goal

4 – the student demonstrates a full understanding of the goal per the course’s level and objectives

Each portfolio must contain the following materials: 1) works from the Methods and Materials of Humanities Research course, including one abstract, literature review, annotated bibliography, encyclopedia article, and seminar-style paper; and 2) three seminar papers generated from coursework within the program each designated to apply to the particular markers set up in the Portfolio Exit Assessment.

For the paper related to skillful interpretation, do the students demonstrate their ability to

            *complete an analysis of the subject matter closely;

            *use literary/historical/cultural evidence;

            *situate the subject area in its socio-historical context.

For the paper related to the process of research and writing, do the students demonstrate their ability to

            *compare and contrast themes across works related to the subject area;

            *use research to enter scholarly dialogue;

*construct and support a viable and defendable argument;

*discover and utilize level-appropriate resources

            *highlight an awareness of audience and a requisite level/style of writing.

For the paper related to the synthesis of ideas, do the students demonstrate their ability to

*apply theoretical constructs relevant to the subject area to aid in understanding and highlighting the subject area;

*understand the nature and arguments of the critical works being used;

*use these arguments to bolster their own thesis and foster a greater understanding of the subject area.


MA in Humanities Exit Assessment – Thesis Evaluation

Exit assessment evaluation scale (on a basis of 1-4)

1 – the student does not demonstrate an understanding of the goal in any measurable way

2 – the student demonstrates a basic understanding of the goal, but there are still severe deficiencies present in her demonstration of the course goal

3 – the student demonstrates a strong understanding of the goal, but is still missing one or two key components in mastering the goal

4 – the student demonstrates a full understanding of the goal per the course’s level and objectives

 

Questions for the Thesis and Defense

 Does the introduction contain a properly-detailed, original thesis that will guide the entire project?

Does the introduction contain a functioning literature review of relevant research in the subject area?

Does the introduction establish the goals of the thesis itself and establish what it is setting out to demonstrate?

Does the introduction establish the goals of the thesis in the larger pantheon of critical studies related to the subject area (if relevant)?

 Does the thesis contain three chapters?

Does each chapter have its own identifiable, properly-grounded thesis?

Does each chapter relate to the main thesis first explicated in the introduction?

Is each chapter adequately developed?

Is each chapter’s thesis supported with evidence in keeping with the norms in the field?

 Does the conclusion reiterate the key main thesis and each subsequent thesis?

 Does the thesis overall demonstrate an expertise in the subject area?

Does the thesis overall demonstrate a level of writing reflective of Master’s level work in the field?

 Is the student able to explain and codify his/her work and address questions on the subject matter adequately?