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The typical full-time load is three classes per term or semester. (It is recommended, however, that candidates employed full-time take no more than two courses per semester.) Most coursework is offered at night, on weekends, or through online or hybridized online formats, allowing timely completion of the degree to fit into most work schedules.
A maximum of three classes may be taken during any fall or spring semesters, and a maximum of two can be completed during any given summer session. Candidates wishing to attempt more than the maximum load must receive permission from the Director of the M.A. in Humanities Program in advance of registration.
Graduate students must maintain a 3.00 grade point average. If the GPA falls below 3.00 or a grade of ‘C’ is received in any course, the student will be placed on academic probation. A student may be dismissed from the program if an academic probation extends beyond the completion of three additional course credits, or the student receives two course grades of ‘C’ or lower or one course grade of ’F’ at any time during their graduate studies at Wilson.
All students in the graduate program are subject to the Wilson College Honor Principle, the academic and administrative regulations, and the Wilson College Judicial Process.
Graduation Application and Forms
A student must complete and submit a graduation application to the Registrar by Registration Check-in Day two semesters before the anticipated graduation date. A fee will be assessed for late applications. If a student fails to officially submit a graduation application, s/he will not be eligible for graduation.
On-campus housing is available for qualified students in the program. For more information on housing, please contact the Wilson College Office of Residential Life and Student Development.
Graduate-level independent study work may be allowed under certain circumstances. Anyone wishing to consider independent study work must seek the approval of the Program Director. Independent study work cannot be completed over the January term. For more information, see the Program Director.
Leave of Absence
A leave of absence for a graduate student may not exceed one year. See complete description regarding applying for a leave of absence and termination of a leave of absence in the current college catalog.
Time Limit to Complete Degree
All course work and degree requirements must be completed within six years of taking the first class at Wilson College. Appeals for extension of the six year limit must be submitted in writing to the Director of the Graduate Program.
Undergraduate Enrollment in Graduate Humanities Coursework
undergraduate students may not enroll in a graduate-level Humanities course for any reason except as follows:
Students who complete undergraduate coursework at Wilson College may not enroll in any course as a graduate student that they did as an undergraduate, even though the number and major area may differ.
Special Graduation Circumstances
In areas not represented here, the M.A. in Humanities Program is governed by the general academic regulations of Wilson College. For more on these regulations, see the current college catalog
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:
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
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.
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
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?
1) A proposal
2) A thesis
In addition, students will orally defend their work.
The committee will consist of three members: a director, a primary reader, and a secondary reader.
The director will act as the primary mentor and advisor for the student’s thesis work. Students and thesis directors will meet once a week to discuss the work and monitor its progress. The director will steer the student through drafting and submitting the proposal, work with the student in creating an appropriate timeline for the thesis, and steer the student through his/her thesis work. The director will read drafts of the thesis and proffer feedback as the work develops. The director also assigns a grade value to HUM 598, allowing the student to continue on to HUM 599 if the director sees fit. The director should be selected on a basis of primary expertise that the individual brings to the committee based on the thesis subject matter. The director must be a member of the MA in Humanities graduate faculty at Wilson College.
The primary reader should be involved in the thesis work from early on, though the extent of the primary reader’s involvement is left to the discretion of the student, the director, and the primary reader. Minimally, the primary reader must approve the proposal before the student can continue working on the thesis. The primary reader should be selected on a basis of primary, secondary, or critical expertise that the individual brings to the committee based on the thesis subject matter. The primary reader must be a full-time member of the Wilson faculty, but does not need to be a member of the Humanities graduate faculty.
The secondary reader comes onto the thesis committee only toward the end of the crafting of the thesis itself. The secondary reader is one of the committee members who reads and responds to the completed thesis, but plays no formal role beyond this. The secondary reader need not be a Wilson faculty member, though any non-full-time Wilson faculty must be approved by the Program Director. While the first two faculty members must agree to serve on the thesis committee prior to the student beginning the proposal, the secondary reader need only agree to serve prior to reading the final version of the thesis.
All three readers must approve the thesis for the student, though it is the role of the director to assign a letter grade.
This next section will briefly describe the expected outcome result of each document.
A successful proposal for the thesis will describe the project in some detail, giving readers not only a sense of the project but the confidence that the student, in conjunction with her/his director, has thoroughly thought through and already explored the thesis and scope of the proposed work. The proposal is considered a road map for the thesis; while the department and the committee expects that the project will evolve over the course of the student’s work, and thus change, the project should not be radically altered from the proposal without approval from the entire committee. A proposal should be between ten to fifteen pages in length and should minimally consist of the following:
• A lengthy description of the project itself, with emphasis on the thesis and three chapters being proposed (this will take up the bulk of the proposal);
• Some discussion that places the project into the context of other critical work about the subject area;
• Some discussion of how the student came to the project;
• A lengthy reading list of primary and critical works the student will consider and consult during the course of her thesis;
• Plus anything else that the student feels is relevant to the project.
The proposal must be approved, with signatures from the thesis director, primary reader, and Program Director, prior to the student beginning thesis work.
The actual thesis should consist of five sections: an introduction (20-25 pages); three chapters (20-25 pages each); and a conclusion (8-10 pages). It is advisable for the student to think of the project as three lengthy papers, all coordinated under the same general thesis and subject area, plus a lengthy introduction and more succinct conclusion.
The introduction is designed to provide the reader of the thesis with the proper background necessary to comprehend the nature of the project, while also explaining the thesis in some detail. The audience should be presumed to have strong knowledge of the general subject area (i.e. literary theory, media theory) but not specific expertise in the topic of the thesis. This is where the nature of the literature review comes in (i.e., the discussion of the current state of the specific field.) The student should also provide some presaging of each subsequent chapter by discussing the contents of each. It is also recommended that the student attempt to place her/his project into the larger pantheon of critical studies surrounding his/her basic subject area.
Each chapter should be sustainable unto itself while also being an integrative part of the larger project as a whole. Each chapter will develop a particular thesis that will relate strongly to proving the larger overall thesis of the entire document. Students may be advised to think of each chapter as a more highly developed seminar paper from a graduate-level course.
The conclusion reiterates the main thesis and highlights each chapter accordingly while also providing concluding remarks and observations.
Who Must Attend / Who May Attend
During the semester the student is completing HUM 599, the student will conduct a defense of her/his thesis. All members of the thesis committee must be present for the defense (members can be present by electronic means if necessary.)
The Director of the MA in Humanities program is also invited to the defense, and every effort should be made to accommodate that individual’s schedule. However, it is not required that the Director be present for the defense to occur.
The student may also invite others to attend the defense as the student wishes, though the defense is generally not open to the public.
The timeline for the defense will be determined by the student and her/his thesis director. The defense must be completed on or prior to the last day of classes during the semester in which the student is registered for HUM 599. The student must make her/his completed thesis work available to all members of the thesis committee prior to this in a timeline determined by the student and the thesis director; however, it is recommended that committee members receive the completed thesis at least 3 full weeks prior to the defense date.
During the defense, the members of the student’s thesis committee will pose questions on the thesis and engage the student in conversation about his/her work. This portion of the defense should last between 30 to 60 minutes. During this time, only committee members and the Director of the Program may ask questions of the students. All other invited persons must remain quiet. Upon concluding the defense, the student and other guests are excused and the committee members will remain to discuss the thesis and defense. The committee will determine a “pass” or “not pass” status for the thesis at this time. The committee will also fill out the thesis evaluation forms. It is the job of the thesis director to collect these forms and pass them on to the Program Director and to inform the student of his/her “pass” or “not pass” status.
Following the defense, the thesis director may direct the student to complete revisions on the thesis prior to determining a letter grade for HUM 599. Thus a student may receive a “pass” defense grade but still be required to revise parts of the thesis for the course letter grade. These revisions must be completed prior to the end of finals week, and the student must submit to the Program Director a completed (electronic) copy of the thesis no later than the last day of finals as part of the student’s final assessment. Failure to do so will delay graduation for the student.
Should a student receive a “not pass” for the thesis defense or fail the thesis project, she/he will receive a failing grade of “F” for the HUM 599 class. The student will be allowed to re-take the HUM 599 course in the subsequent semester and attempt the thesis defense again. If the second attempt is successful, the student will receive a grade of “pass” and a revised grade for HUM 599. If the second attempt is unsuccessful, the student will not be allowed to try again.
The student will also give a public presentation of her/his thesis work. This usually occurs during the Spring semester (even for Fall and Summer graduates) during the Research Presentation Day. The public presentation is neither assessed nor evaluated
Below both students and faculty in the MA in Humanities Program at Wilson College can find key forms for use in the program. Should you have any questions about these forms or need more assistance, please contact the Program Director.
MA in Humanities Course Requirements Form
MA Registration Form
Policy Manual MA Humanitie
Deferred Payment Agreement
MA in Humanities Transfer Course Evaluation Form
MA in Humanities Thesis Proposal Form
MA in Humanities Thesis Approval Form
MA in Humanities Thesis Assessment Form
MA in Humanities Portfolio Assessment Form