Master of Humanities for Current Students
M.A.of Humanities for Current Students
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 a student’s cumulative GPA falls below 3.00 the student will be placed on academic probation.
If a grade of ‘C+’ (2.3) or lower is received in any course, the student will be placed on academic probation. For M.A. Humanities students academic probation will last either one semester (for full-time students) or the completion of two more courses (for part-time students). At the end of this period the student must have a GPA above 3.0 and not received any grades of ‘C+’ (2.3) or lower in order for the probation to be lifted.
A student on academic probation cannot begin work on the Master’s thesis sequence (HUM 598 and 599).
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.
A student may be dismissed from the M.A. Humanities program if the period of academic probation extends beyond the completion of one semester (for full-time students) or the completion of two more courses (for part-time students).
A student may be dismissed if the student receives two course grades of ‘C+’ (2.3) 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.
Any class where the student receives a grade of ‘C-’ (1.7) or lower cannot be counted toward completion of the M.A. Humanities degree. Students may re-take the course or take a different course in its stead.
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
Wilson undergraduate students may not enroll in a graduate-level Humanities course for any reason except as follows:
- Students in the B.A. / M.A. in the Humanities 3+1 Program may enroll in the two graduate-level courses as outlined above; however, these classes do not count towards completion of the undergraduate degree but instead will count toward the eventual graduate degree.
- Education students who are working towards possible certification in ELL may enroll in ENG 511 (as outlined in the regulations for the ELL Certificate) with requisite permissions.
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. Post-baccalaureate Teacher Internship Program (TIP) students may enroll in graduate-level coursework with permission of the Program Director.
Special Graduation Circumstances
- A student who completes her/his degree requirements at the end of the fall semester will have her/his degree conferred on the first day of the January Term. This date will be noted on the official transcript.
- December graduates will participate in and receive their diplomas at the following May’s Commencement and be considered part of May’s graduating class.
- A student who completed her/his degree requirements during the summer will have her/his degree conferred on the first day of the fall semester.
- Summer graduates will participate in and receive their diploma covers at the preceding May’s Commencement and be considered part of May’s graduating class.
- Diplomas will be released to the students in late September.
- A student who has not completed all requirements for graduation must petition the Committee on Academic Procedures by the last day to withdraw from classes to participate in Spring Commencement if more than two course requirements remain to be met.
- Regardless of the number of courses remaining to be completed, the student must submit a written plan to the Registrar outlining how the requirements will be met before the end of the Summer following Spring Commencement. This plan must be signed and approved by the student's academic advisor. The written plan must be submitted by the last day of classes for the Spring semester.
- In the event that a student fails a degree requirement(s) during Spring semester of his/her graduation year, he or she must submit a written plan to the Registrar outlining how the requirement(s) will be met before the end of the Summer following Spring Commencement. This plan must be signed and approved by the student's advisor and must be submitted to the Registrar by June 1st.
In other academic policy matters, M.A. Humanities students are guided by the College catalogue for the year in which they entered the program. In cases where the specific M.A. in Humanities policies disagree with the College’s general policies, the policies for the M.A. Humanities program shall govern the M.A. student.
Upon completion of their thesis, all students will undergo an exit assessment that will determine their proficiency in relation to the program’s learning goals. This assessment is completed using the students’ work for their HUM 510 Methods and Materials of Humanities Research class as well as their Master’s Thesis (HUM 598 and 599). This assessment is completed by the Program Director, with the assistance from the student’s thesis committee; it does not involve the student to complete more work at all.
At the conclusion of their thesis sequence, students should be able to demonstrate competencies 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 assessment is designed to ensure that Wilson M.A. Humanities 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 learn the fundamentals of these processes for graduate students in Humanities fields. The final assessment will check the rate and nature of growth in students’ ability to harness these essential skills by comparing students’ first product in the program—the seminar paper created in HUM 510—to the last: the Master’s thesis.
In the assessment, students’ first program product is compared to their last. Each product is assessed individually. The 510 paper is assessed by the Program Director using the course rubric; the M.A. thesis is assessed by the thesis committee using the thesis assessment form. Both of these forms are based on the program’s assessable learning goals (listed below). At the end of a student’s time in the program, their product and the assessments they generate are compared to determine the rate and means of student growth from the beginning to the conclusion of the program.
M.A. Humanities Learning Goals for Assessment
For assessment related to skillful interpretation, students should 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 assessment related to the process of research and writing, students should 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 assessment related to the synthesis of ideas, students should 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.
Successful completion of the Master’s thesis consists of the completion of two separate documents:
1) A proposal
2) A thesis
In addition, students will orally defend their work.
Committee structure will mirror that of the College’s Honors thesis work. The director should be someone from within the Humanities Master’s degree faculty, but external members need not be.
The Thesis Committee
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 lengthy description of the project itself, with emphasis on the thesis and the 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 three 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
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.
Receiving a “Not Pass”
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 598 and HUM 599 sequence in the subsequent academic year. If the second attempt is successful, the student will receive a grade of “pass” for the defense and revised grades for HUM 598 and 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 in the Spring semester (even for Fall and Summer graduates) during Wilson's 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.