Besides intellectual engagement and the chance to read those "great books" that you skimmed or missed in college, the M.A. in Humanities offers practical opportunities. Some use it for transfer to a Ph.D. program. Some use it as a unique strength for law school admission. Teachers use it to complete a master's degree requirement. Others use it to strengthen their ethos and intellectual caliber in public affairs. All use it to further the broad education that can lead to higher wages, respect, and a richer intellectual life. What everyone gains is a chance to scrimmage mentally with wise men and women who wrote important books that remain relevant to human problems in every century.
Unlike the traditional master's degree that specializes in one area, the Master of Arts in Humanities bridges four disciplines of the liberal arts: philosophy and religious studies, literature, history, and rhetoric. It seeks to establish context and connections, linking significant texts with their intellectual and historical backgrounds from the perspectives of the disciplines of the program. Each course in the core engages texts written in or translated into English from four epochs of Western civilization: ancient, medieval, Renaissance, and modern. Housed in the College of Liberal Arts, the program draws on the faculty of the departments of Philosophy and Religious Studies, English, History, and Foreign Languages.
At the heart of the humanities program is the seminar, a unique learning experience that engages its twelve members in a constructive dialogue. With the professor chairing the sessions, you will present your seminar paper to the class, sharing your well-formed ideas and opinions, or thesis, on a particular subject. Your thesis is then open to the seminar for inquiry, analysis, debate, and criticism. Through this dialectical process, you will develop powers of rigorous thinking and public speaking, creating new knowledge with the shared insights of your peers.
A Flexible Degree
Students have the option of a thesis or non-thesis track. Thesis students will work closely with an advisor to select and develop a thesis topic. Non-thesis students take an additional six units approved by the department and produce an anthology of six revised seminar papers. All seminars are offered in the evenings.