M.A. Degree

Although only students intending to proceed to the Ph.D. degree are admitted to the program, a student may decide to leave the program with an M.A. degree, or the student’s adviser (or dissertation committee) and the graduate director may recommend this course of action. The M.A. degree may be obtained in one of three ways:

  • Upon completion of 30 credits of coursework, a student who wishes to leave the program may petition to receive a terminal M.A.  The student chooses a 15-20 pages research paper written during coursework that is representative of their work.  The graduate director convenes a reading committee of two core or affiliate faculty to read the paper and recommend it or not as sufficient to fulfill the requirements for an M.A. Based on the recommendation of the reading committee, and the student’s performance in coursework, the graduate director will then recommend or not the student for the conferral of a terminal M.A., and the appropriate paperwork will be submitted to the graduate school.
  • In some cases, and with the approval of the graduate director, a student may take a comprehensive written examination for a terminal M.A., devised by the students Adviser in consultation with the Graduate Director, based on a list of 25 texts compiled by the student in consultation with the adviser, and the approval of the Graduate Director. The Adviser and the Graduate Director will evaluate the exam. Based on the recommendation of the reading committee, and the student’s performance in coursework, the graduate director will then recommend or not the student for the conferral of a terminal M.A., and the appropriate paperwork will be submitted to the graduate school.
  • Students who are proceeding to the Ph.D. may obtain the M.A. after passing the doctoral exam by submitting the appropriate candidacy and diploma forms. However, if the student fails to file the proper paperwork, the documentation for the Masters degree will not appear on the student’s transcript.