The Master of Arts in Humanities gives you the opportunity to explore the big questions in life while satisfying your desire to learn about a topic in depth. Its interdisciplinary approach means you investigate historical, literary, philosophical or cultural issues using the tools of a range of different disciplines.

This degree enriches your career path whether as a teacher, journalist, lawyer, curator, librarian, archivist, researcher, policymaker, or anything where critical thinking is valued.

Humanities Learning Goals

Humanities students will:

  1. Integrate at least two disciplines in a sound interdisciplinary project.
  2. Demonstrate a level of critical thinking, data analysis, and use of sources that situates this project in the scholarship of the selected field(s)
  3. Demonstrate a professional level of writing and oral presentation skills (eloquentia perfecta)

The humanities are defined as those fields that have from earliest times recorded in script or sound, on canvas or stone–the achievements, ideals, and even failures of humanity:

  • Art History
  • Communication and Theatre
  • English
  • History
  • Classical and Modern Languages
  • Philosophy
  • Theology and Religious Studies.

While other disciplines can be considered, the nature of the self-designed study plan should be based in the Humanities.

Degree Requirements

Coursework for the degree involves two foundational courses–in themes and research methods–and a capstone that integrates your individual course plan as you pursue your own research plan.

  • 30 credit hours (ten courses) are required.
  • Pass oral defense of essay
  • At least 15 credit hours should be completed at the 500 level.
  • Required Courses:
    • HM 500 “Foundations of the Humanities”
    • HM 503 “Introduction to Graduate Research & Writing through Special Topics”
    • HM 598 “Integration of the Humanities”
      • A three-credit Research Essay carrying an oral defense

Admission Requirements:

  • Details on the application process can be found here!

Study Options

Students have considerable leeway in crafting a study plan that fits their interests. They can situate it in any period and tailor it to particular interests. In the past, some students have focused on:

  • Women and Gender
  • Global/Comparative Studies
  • Irish Studies
  • American Studies
  • Catholic Studies
  • Medicine and Humanities
  • Theory and Practice of Democracy
  • Literature and Society
  • Visions of the Self

Financial Assistance

  • The William and Mary McNulty Endowment for the Humanities provides scholarships on competitive basis for students pursuing interdisciplinary research projects
  • A limited number of graduate assistantships are available. Graduate assistants are given a tuition waiver for up to 18 credit hours per year plus a stipend. Students are expected to spend 10-15 hours per week working for the department.
  • The University’s Office of Admissions and Financial Aid offers assistance on student loans.
  • For teachers, who receive a one-third tuition reduction, the degree enriches teaching repertoires and is applicable to professional certification advancement. Teachers participating in certain summer programs may petition to apply this work toward the M.A. in Humanities degree.