The Master of Arts in Humanities is an interdisciplinary degree that allows the study of defined topics or themes through at least three fields from art history, classical or modern languages, English, history, philosophy, theology/religious studies and certain courses in communications, political science, and sociology. The main premise of the degree is that historical, artistic, or ethical topics can be best understood when seen through the lenses of different scholarly approaches. Students may design, with guidance, individualized study plans. The degree may be completed exclusively through evening classes. Most students take one or two courses a semester and complete the program within four years.

The Master of Arts in Humanities degree is designed for both non-traditional and traditional students. Non-traditional students are those who are already established in careers such as medicine, law, business, education or religion. Traditional students are recent B.A. or B.S. graduates seeking an integrated multidisciplinary program that can lead to teaching or government careers or as preparation for doctoral studies.


Program Learning Goals

Humanities students will:

  1. Plan and articulate an individualized program of study.
  2. Integrate the various humanities disciplines to produce interdisciplinary projects.
  3. Display mastery of critical thinking through evaluation of primary and secondary source arguments, evidence, and various methodologies.
  4. Demonstrate graduate-level research, speaking, and writing skills.

Degree Requirements

  • 33 semester hours (eleven courses) are required.
  • Required introductory courses are HM 501: Foundations of the Humanities: Classical and Medieval; HM 502: Current Issues in the Humanities: Modern and Contemporary; and HM 503: Introduction to Graduate Research & Writing through Special Topics
  • Final courses: HM 598, Integration of the Humanities requiring a three-credit Research Essay or HM 599, Thesis, for six credits.

Admission Requirements
Students must have a 3.0 undergraduate GPA and demonstrate, through interview and application essay, readiness for graduate study. Applicants with slightly lower averages, or with language and writing difficulties, may be required to take the Graduate Record Examination, and/or provide letters of recommendation with recommendation cover sheet, or complete specific undergraduate prerequisites.

Study Options

Students have considerable leeway in selecting a study plan that can be in Classical, Medieval/Renaissance, Modern European, American, or Ethics Studies or tailored to particular interests: Women and Gender, Asian-Western Comparative Studies, Irish Studies, Catholic Studies, or Medicine and Humanities.

Sample Study Plans

  • Medieval and Renaissance Studies: Courses in art history (Classical, Early Christian, Gothic, and Renaissance Art), history (Medieval Society, Renaissance Italy), English (Drama, Chaucer, Renaissance England) and/or from religious studies and philosophy.
  • Irish Studies:  Courses in Classical & Modern Languages and Cultures (Irish language), English (Studies in Irish Literature), History (History of Ireland), Peace, Justice & Human Rights (Belfast, Northern Ireland Summer Institute in Peace Building) and/or Theology & Religious Studies (Early Christianity).
  • American Studies: Courses in History (Early Republic, Civil War, Gilded Age, New Deal), English (19th – 20th Century fiction and/or prose), Philosophy (American Philosophy), Political Science (American Political Thought, Special Topics) and/or fromTheology/Religious Studies (Religion in Black America).

Special Study Plan

  • Holocaust Studies: This study is available through a cooperative program with the Cleveland College of Jewish Studies. Students take John Carroll courses on Modern Europe, Germany, and Ethics Issues. They will also take up to  four courses on Holocaust History and Literature at the College of Jewish Studies.

Non-Degree Options

  • The Humanities Program offers certificate programs for those interested in personal formation and enrichment. Typically a student will take up to 15 credit hours of Humanities courses.  Certificates are available for all study plans and are designed in collaboration with the program coordinator.

Financial Assistance

  • The William and Mary McNulty Endowment for Irish Studies provides assistance for students pursuing Irish topics (Anglo-Irish and Irish-American included). The assistance is primarily directed toward helping to support the scholarship of students engaged in the study of Irish topics. Areas of research might include such fields as early Irish Christianity, Tudor rule and the Irish, the Stuart era plantations and Irish-American immigration issues.
  • 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. Graduate assistants aid professors with courses and research.
  • 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.