Graduate
programs Pennsylvania

Master of Humanities

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?

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Below you can find answers for some of the most common questions regarding the M.A. in Humanities and/or 3+1 program at Wilson College. If you have a question that is not answered here, please contact the Program Director.

FAQ

Q

I have a job and can’t attend classes during the day. Can I still complete the degree?

A

Absolutely! Most courses in the M.A. in Humanities degree are offered at nights, during weekends, or through online formats. A student who can only attend courses during those time periods can graduate as quickly as any other.

Q

I can only attend classes during the day—and not on weekends. Will that impede my progress in the program?

A

I’m afraid some of the required courses are offered only at night. Students must be available to take some night classes as part of the degree.

Q

How many courses can I take in one semester as part of the program?

A

You may take a maximum of three courses in any Fall or Spring semester while you are completing the M.A. degree. Three courses is equivalent to full-time study for graduate study. Students can petition the Program Director to take more than three courses, but permission will only be given under exceptional circumstances. Students may only take one graduate-level course during Wilson’s summer sessions. The program does not offer courses during the January term.

Q

Why doesn’t Wilson offer graduate courses during the J-term? I’d like to get one done quickly.

A

The three-week, intensive format the J-term offers is not conducive to graduate study. The program will not be offering classes in that time period.

Q

I did not graduate with a 3.0 or higher—can I qualify for the degree in another way?

A

Yes. While the College recommends a minimum 3.0 GPA for entrance into the MA, the degree also has a provisional status that allows a student to enroll in graduate classes in order to qualify for admission to the degree program. A student may be granted provisional status by the Program Director after a plan of action is developed which will assist the student to meet the entrance requirements of the program. If a student is granted provisional status, the student must first satisfactorily complete the educational plan approved by the program director with a GPA of 3.0 or higher before being officially admitted to the program.

Q

I see a course listing in French or Spanish—but I’ve never studied those languages!

A

Graduate course offerings in French Humanities or Spanish Humanities are offered in translation—meaning that they are open to any student who is matriculated in the graduate program. Prior knowledge of the language and culture are certainly helpful in these classes, but the texts will be studied in English, not the original language.

Q

Okay, I want to attend full-time. How much is the rate of full-time graduate tuition at Wilson?

A

Wilson does not have a full-time rate for graduate study. Students are charged per course, whether they take one, two, or three courses in any given semester. To learn what the current charge per course at Wilson College is, please contact the Wilson College Office of Financial Aid.

Q

Is the 3+1 Program for undergraduates really less expensive than attending four years of study at the college and completing just a Bachelor’s degree?

A

It may seem odd, but it is actually true. The 3+1 Program costs less than the regular, four-year undergraduate degree. For example, the cost of full-time tuition for four years of undergraduate study at Wilson College, using the rates for the 2011-2012 school year, is $105,480 (prior to any scholarships or discounts being added to undergraduate tuition cost.) Yet the cost of full-time tuition and attendance for four years of undergraduate and graduate study at Wilson College in the B.A. / M.A. in Humanities 3+1 Program for the same rates is only $95,190 (prior to any scholarships or discounts being added to undergraduate and graduate tuition cost.) This represents a savings of $10,290.

How can this be? This is because in the final year of study, the graduate year, the student will only be charged a per course fee. This represents a significant savings during the course of four years.

Q

Will I be assigned an advisor for my degree?

A

Yes. All M.A. in Humanities students are advised by the Program Director.

Q

The Spring semester is coming up—can I enroll then? Or do I have to wait until Fall?

A

There is no need to wait for the Fall semester to enroll. Students may enroll in any semester graduate coursework is offered. However, all students are required to take HUM 510: Materials and Methods of Research in the Humanities during their first Fall semester.

Q

What do I do with my M.A. in Humanities degree?

A

This degree is designed to be quite versatile to meet individual students’ needs. Some students will move on to advanced degrees in selected fields, including Ph.D.s and M.F.A. degrees. Other students will move into the workforce in a field that will appreciate the skills and knowledge obtained through the program. For more on where this degree may take you, see the “Beyond the M.A.” section in this packet.

Q

What is the deadline for application?

A

Wilson has a rolling admissions deadline—meaning that students can apply for the MA at anytime during the year and begin work on the degree in the next available semester.

Q

What financial aid is available for students in the M.A. in Humanities Program?

A

Students in the M.A. in Humanities Program are eligible to apply for Wilson College Graduate Assistantships and/or federal student loans. For more information on applying for a Graduate Assistantship, please see the Tab marked “Graduate Assistantships” on the main M.A. in Humanities page. For more information on obtaining loans for graduate study, please contact the Wilson College Office of Financial Aid

Do you have a question not answered here? Contact the Program Director, Dr. Michael G. Cornelius, at mcornelius@wilson.edu.