M.A.of Humanities for Current Students

Below you will find information from the College’s general Graduate Academic Policies and Regulations manual. The M.A. Humanities program may have specific policies that differ slightly from these and are noted elsewhere in this website. 

Academic Load

The general maximum full-time load for graduate study is three classes during any fall or spring semester; two courses during each summer session; and one course in the January term. This does not include the special summer residency period for MFA candidates. Candidates wishing to attempt more than the maximum load must receive permission from their Program Director prior to registration.

However, please note that different graduate degree programs may have different academic load maximums. Those limits supersede this regulation. It is advised that all students familiarize themselves with the maximums in their program.


Academic Probation

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. Students in the Nursing and Fine Arts graduate programs will be placed on academic probation for grades of B- / 2.7 or lower.

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 (or B- / 2.7 for the Nursing and Fine Arts programs) in order for the probation to be lifted.

A student on academic probation cannot begin work on a graduate thesis sequence or project.

All students in the graduate programs are subject to the Wilson College Honor Principle, the academic and administrative regulations, and the Wilson College Judicial Process.


Academic Dismissal

A student may be dismissed from their graduate 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.


Academic Credit

Any graduate class where the student receives a grade of ‘C-’ / 1.7 or lower cannot be counted toward completion of the degree. For Nursing and Fine Arts students, any class of ‘B-’ / 2.7 or lower cannot be completed for the degree. Students may re-take the course the next time it is offered to replace the low grade.


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.


Independent Studies

Graduate-level independent study work may be allowed under certain circumstances. Anyone wishing to consider independent study work must start by seeking the approval of the Program Director. To be eligible, the student must be in good academic standing (including not being on academic probation) and must demonstrate a need for the independent or guided study. Graduate independent and guided study courses are subject to the same approval processes as undergraduate independent and guided study courses. For more information, see the appropriate Graduate Program Director.


Leave of Absence

A graduate student may request an official leave of absence. This will halt official progress toward the student’s program of study. A leave of absence for a graduate student may not exceed one year. If a student is out of a program for two years, the student will need to re-apply to the program. See complete description regarding applying for a leave of absence and termination of a leave of absence in the current college catalog.


Non-Degree Status

Students may start any Wilson graduate degree program as a non-degree candidate (though the student may still need to produce some admissions materials; for specifics, please consult the appropriate Graduate Program Director). However, after the completion of two courses the student must matriculate into the program to ensure that all coursework will be counted toward the graduate degree.


Provisional Admission Status

In certain circumstances, a student may be lacking one of the mandatory requirements for admission into a graduate program. Provisional admission status may allow a student to enroll in classes in order to qualify for admission to the degree program. A student may be granted provisional status after a written plan of action to assist the student in meeting the prerequisites or entrance requirements of the program has been approved by the Graduate Program Director. Provisional status is given at the discretion of the Graduate Program Director and/or Graduate Program Admissions Committee.

If granted provisional status, the student must complete the approved plan of action with a GPA of 3.0 or higher before being officially admitted to the program. Generally speaking, full admission status is awarded after the successful completion of two courses with a qualifying grade of 3.0 or higher in each; however, provisional admission status cases are unique and may differ from this model.


Split-Level Coursework

Certain Wilson courses have both a graduate and undergraduate component. Generally, Wilson students cannot complete the graduate-level version of a course if they have already completed the undergraduate version unless the course has undergone significant alteration. Certain exceptions to do exist; for more, please see the appropriate Graduate Program Director.


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 appropriate Graduate Program Director.


Transfer Credits

At the discretion of the Program Director, no more than two courses may be transferred into any Wilson graduate program. For a course to transfer, the grade in the course must be 3.0 or higher on a 4.0 scale and the subject area, goals, and outcomes must be similar to that of courses designed for the graduate program. Students may be required to present supporting materials (such as a syllabus, assignments, etc.) beyond an official transcript when transferring in a class. Under special circumstances, students may request to transfer more coursework to the College; for more on this, please see the appropriate Graduate Program Director.


Undergraduate Enrollment in Graduate Humanities Coursework

Generally, Wilson undergraduate students may not enroll in a graduate-level course for any reason. However, there are exceptions to this in certain programs; to learn if your program qualifies, please see the appropriate Graduate Program Director. Post-baccalaureate Teacher Internship Program (TIP) students may enroll in graduate-level coursework with permission of the appropriate Graduate Program Director.


Special Graduation Circumstances

December graduates:

  1. 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.
  2. December graduates will participate in and receive their diplomas at the following May’s Commencement and be considered part of May’s graduating class.


Summer graduates:

  1. 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. 
  2. 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.
  3. Diplomas will be released to the students in late September.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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, graduate students are guided by the College catalogue for the year in which they entered the program. In cases where the specific graduate policies disagree with the College’s general policies, the policies for the graduate program shall govern the graduate student. Students may request waivers and exceptions to certain policies under special circumstances; for more on this, please see the appropriate Graduate Program Director.


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 require 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.

HUM 555 – Humanities Master’s Internships

A primer and guide


Background and Description of Internship Experience

Certain students in the M.A. in Humanities curriculum might benefit from a practicum—an internship-style experience that would involve their working in the field to achieve particular aims and goals related to their broader educational goals in the M.A. program.

The goal of having this course is to offer eligible students an opportunity to earn course credit outside of the classroom setting, similar to the undergraduate internship experience. This practicum experience must combine aspects of 1) research; 2) authorship and manuscript generation; and 3) presentation / education in order to qualify. This means students must be actively engaged in supervised research in an approved facility, must compose materials that supports that facility, and must present their materials in a professional or pedagogical setting in some capacity in order to qualify.

For example, a student could complete a practicum experience in a museum, archive, or historical society, working underneath the supervision of the area personnel, cataloguing materials, researching components of them, and presenting those materials in some public capacity. Students may also complete teaching internships in the college classroom, provided they are adequately supervised.



In order to be approved, the practicum experience must

1) be connected to a facility that has an educational purpose (though the goal of the organization need not solely be educational, and the manner of education would align to the organization);

2) allow for the research and generation of original materials, whether for internal or external publication; and

3) require the student to present the materials or related material in an educational manner.


Students are eligible for a practicum experience

1) if they have been accepted into the MA Humanities program;

2) if the goals of the practicum align directly with the goals of their program; and

3) if the experience would be deemed to enrich the student’s M.A. educational goals.


Internship Requirements

The internship requires a minimum of 120 hours completed on site during the given semester or term. Students would be evaluated based on their site supervisor’s report and the generated materials. Students would also be expected to maintain a practicum journal and complete other assignments relevant to the internship experience, which will be detailed in their internship application.

Students must also hand in a portfolio of all materials generated for the internship and complete an exit interview with their faculty internship director. Students will meet periodically with their faculty and/or site internship director based on a calendar set out at the beginning of the internship experience.

The journal, portfolio, and paper are all due on the last day of classes during the semester or term in which the internship occurs. The exit interview must be completed prior to the conclusion of the final exam period.


Internships in the M.A. Humanities program will receive letter grades. The grading of these courses will be bound by the policies impacting all M.A. Humanities grading.

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.

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 to the thesis committee only toward the end of the crafting of the thesis itself. The secondary reader 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.

The Proposal

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 generally adheres to what is outlines in the proposal. A proposal should be between 10 to 15 pages in length and should minimally consist of the following:

• 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 and primary reader, prior to the student beginning thesis work.

The Thesis

The actual thesis should consist of five sections: an introduction (20 pages); three chapters (approximately 20-25 pages each); and a conclusion (approximately 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. It should outline the main method/theory of the project. 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.

The Defense

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 not open to the public. These guests may attend as observers only.


Below you will find some key dates for the thesis process:

  • The proposal must be completed and on file in the Graduate Program Director’s office no later than one month prior to the start of HUM 598.
  • The thesis defense must occur before the final day of classes during the semester in which the student is completing HUM 599. The thesis committee must receive a final draft of the thesis at least 3 weeks prior to the defense date.
  • The final thesis must be submitted electronically to the Thesis Director and the Graduate Program Director no later than the last day of final exams during the semester in which the student is completing HUM 599.

Defense Procedures

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 approximately 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 Graduate 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 thesis director ad the Graduate 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.

Public Presentation

The student will also give a public presentation of her/his thesis work. 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 Graduate Program Director.