Jul 12, 2024  
University Catalog 2021-2022 
University Catalog 2021-2022 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Individualized Studies in Humanities, MA

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MA in Individualized Studies in Humanities
AU Distance and Extended Education
Credits for Degree: 36 semester credits
Standard Mode of Instruction: Online/Low Residency
Standard time to completion: 24 months

Program Overview

For more than 40 years, students at Antioch University have been individualizing their graduate study in many liberal arts or social science fields, while continuing to live and work in their home communities. The IMA program offers qualified students a unique opportunity to pursue graduate education through an individualized, limited-residency program.

Our IMA program is designed for the reflective, committed, and self-directed learner who seeks to effect social, organizational, or personal change. Students pursue their study through three intensive seminars and a combination of online required courses and individualized courses, making it possible to combine graduate education with professional, personal, and community commitments.

What We Do

We create the space for students to individualize their curricula.

Our students are adults with a wide range of professional and personal experiences, whose expectations for graduate learning are not easily met by standardized curricula. With the individualized curriculum, they seek the flexibility to tailor their coursework so that it matches their own unique life circumstances, academic and professional interests, intellectual goals, and learning styles.

We encourage ongoing personal, professional and cultural learning.

We view learning as life practice–as holistic activity that deepens our engagement with the world around us. Rather than drawing rigid boundaries between the personal, political, socio-cultural, and professional, we recognize the integral nature of experience and legitimize inquiry into the knowledge inherent in all those domains.

We encourage creative, artistic and analytic expression.

Our program is decidedly interdisciplinary, drawing from the humanities, the arts and the social sciences. We believe that creative expression is not limited to the arts, nor that analytic expression is limited to the social sciences.

We foster the development of a collaborative learning community.

Pursuing individualized study does not mean our students need to work in isolation. Rather, we believe that a culture of collaboration provides the necessary basis of support, stimulation and challenge from which students are empowered to venture into their individualized endeavors. Learning communities develop during on-campus residencies when interdisciplinary groups of students begin to learn from their Faculty Advisors, Concentration Mentors, and each other. Collaboration continues in the on-line learning environment, which allows students to dialogue with each other and their Faculty Advisor.

We promote an awareness of how our world is divided into what may seem limiting and narrowing dualities such as theory and practice, reflection and application, right and wrong.

We challenge students to develop a more nuanced understanding of complexities to integrate multiple, diverse perspectives, and to use these understandings to affect progressive social, personal, political and cultural change.

IMA Program Design

The IMA offers a graduate program with the following features:

  • Three synchronous Colloquia
  • Study with Antioch faculty and Mentors the students choose in their area of study
  • Flexible schedule to fit your lifestyle
  • Learning that is self-directed
  • Integration of theory and practice
  • Online coursework
  • Online learning communities with faculty and students
  • Students may transfer up 15 semester credits
  • 36 semester credit Master of Arts degree

The IMA program strives to be distinctive in a world of standardization and common denominators by creating the space for students to individualize their curricula. We encourage a commitment to ongoing personal, professional and cultural learning, creative, artistic, and analytic expression, and the engagement in transformational practices. In the context of a supportive, student-centered learning environment, we challenge students to develop a critical and reflective conscience, and to meet high academic expectations. We promote the integration of theory and practice, and study and reflection with application and engagement. We believe that these aims need to be grounded in an awareness of, sensitivity to, and respect for our shared humanity in a culture that welcomes diverse ways of being and knowing in a variety of contexts.

Students earn an MA with a concentration in their selected area.

Academic Concentrations

Students in the IMA develop an individualized curriculum that meets the academic and professional standards for graduate education in the students’ discipline or field of study. The individualized curriculum is developed in a collaborative partnership among the student, the Faculty Advisor, the Concentration Mentor, and the instructors. Together they are responsible for certifying that the curriculum complies with graduate-level learning requirements and the professional criteria in the field of study.

Note: Students who may be pursuing external professional certification or licensure as part of their individualized curriculum should consult with their Faculty Advisor upon enrollment.

IMA Program Outcomes

By the end of the program students will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate critical thinking, writing, and communication skills by developing a specific point of view and defending it clearly with arguments and evidence.
  2. Adopt an interdisciplinary, foundational approach to one’s program by synthesizing knowledge, perspectives, and research skills from one’s field of study and applying them to one’s area of focus within one’s field.
  3. Design and Implement a research-oriented program of study that synthesizes information from one’s chosen field of study.
  4. Apply and demonstrate appropriate mastery of the relevant content in the disciplinary approaches relevant to one’s individualized area of study.
  5. Advance social, racial, economic, or environmental justice through a culminating project that integrates theory and practice through written work, a work of art, or work in one’s community.

Steps toward Completion of the IMA Degree

  1. Students must choose a broad area of study at the beginning of their journey - they will be able to choose from the Social Sciences, or the Humanities.
    Broad Fields of Study and Interdisciplinary Areas of Focus:
    1. Social Sciences Interdisciplinary Areas:
      Educational Studies and Human Development
      Conflict Resolution
      Management of Human and Natural Systems
      Transformative Learning Communities
    2. Humanities Interdisciplinary Areas:
      Creative Writing
      Cultural and Religious Studies
      Art and Letters
  2. Required Elements of the Program Structure

    The program requires a 36 credit semester hour based course load with attendance at three required Colloquia. Students must also complete a Portfolio demonstrating how they have met the program requirements. It is conceivable that a student could finish the entire degree in one year, but that would require taking several classes per session. In general, we can assume students will only take one class per session, or 2 per trimester, for 18 credits per year. At that rate, a student would finish in two years. Colloquia will usually take place the first week of each trimester, in September, January, and May.

    Colloquia: This model requires that students attend three Colloquia that are completed using Zoom, so students in the program will need to have video conferencing capability and steady internet connections.

    Advisors and Mentors: Each new student will be required to work with a Faculty Advisor from the first day. Students will need to choose a Mentor before the third foundation course. Lists of possible Mentors will be given, but students can find a Mentor who is not on the list with approval of the Advisor and the Program Chair.

In order to graduate from the program, a student must complete the following:

  1. Attend three non-credit Colloquia. The Colloquia will be offered on Zoom and will usually take place at the beginning of each trimester. Each Colloquium will take a few hours. At the end of each, students will be required to write a brief critical analysis of the topics presented and discussed.
  2. Take three 3-credit Foundation courses. The first two Foundation courses, addressing Foundations of the Field and Research Methods in the Field are required before a student can take the third Foundation course, addressing doing Individualized Study in the Field.
  3. Take three seminars in one’s Field of Study (either Humanities or Social Sciences).
  4. Take five individualized courses, which they can develop once they have completed the third Foundation course.
  5. Choose a Mentor before beginning the third Foundation course.
  6. Develop an Individualized Plan of Study, which meets the approval of both the student’s Advisor and the student’s Mentor; this should be completed in the third Foundation course.
  7. Complete either a Capstone Project, or a Thesis. (Students who complete a thesis take four individualized courses instead of five.)
  8. Complete a Portfolio.
  9. Complete 36 credit hours of graduate work.

Admission Requirements

  • Complete the Online Application
  • Bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university or an institution recognized by regional accreditation. Official transcripts of all academic work.
    • Exceptions may be reviewed on a case-by-case basis using faculty’s professional judgment such as cases of international degree. Antioch Online will accept degrees earned under the terms of the Bologna Declaration.
  • Two current professional references, at least one of which is from a University professor whom you have worked with and who has evaluated your academic work
  • Admissions Essay
  • Writing sample (no more than 5 pages) addressing your knowledge or interest in Humanities or Social Sciences
  • Additional requirement for international students:
    • Reading & Writing in English Proficiency Assessment (if applicable) or TOEFL score of 550 “paper-based”, 214 “computer-based”, and 79 “internet-based or higher.

Antioch does not require scores from the GRE or other standardized exams.

Current Tuition and Fees

University Tuition and Fees  

Plan of Study

Three Required Foundation Courses from the Field of Study (9 Semester Credits)

Students must choose either A. Social Sciences, or B. Humanities. They cannot choose both fields.

Humanities Foundation Courses:

*The third course requires the first two in the sequence; the first two can be taken in any order.

Foundation Courses

  1. (5001 Courses) Foundations of the Field. The first and second foundation courses will be offered in alternating sessions. The goal of the first course is for students to get their feet wet and begin putting a program of study together by first identifying both the history and breadth of knowledge construction in the field; this will also help as they begin the process of identifying a Mentor.
  2. (5002 Courses) Developing a research plan, learning to focus, and working with a Mentor. This course addresses how to do effective Social Science or Humanities research. Students will also develop different assessment skills, so that as they choose a Mentor to work with, they will be ready to begin to research how to develop an individualized plan of study that would include their 4-5 Individualized classes.
  3. (5003 Courses) Individualized Learning Plan: The individualized course plan should be finalized and approved, and students should also choose and design the plan for their capstone or thesis. The plan must include both learning outcomes for their program of study, and methods of assessment they and the faculty members they work with will use to evaluate their work. The plan for the thesis or capstone should be developed at least one session before a student begins work on the thesis or capstone.

Three Required Colloquia (0 Semester Credits)

The colloquia will usually take place during the first week of each trimester, which begin in January, May, and August. Students are required to take three over the course of their tenure in the program, but may take more. The principal reason for the colloquia is developing and supporting a community of individualized learners. Different topics, readings, speakers, and trainings will be introduced at each Colloquium. Students will be required to write a brief, critical assessment of the material covered at the colloquia they attend; these will be required elements of their Portfolios.

Three Seminars from the Field of Study (9 Semester Credits)

Students need to take a total of 3 courses from their Field of Study. Students can take additional courses from either field of study as individualized courses once they have completed their third foundation course, and have developed appropriate learning outcomes for their courses with their Advisors’ and Mentors’ permissions.

Four or five Individualized courses (12-15 Semester Credits)

These can be taken from other fields, from other campuses, from the courses offered, or as Independent Studies. The courses are chosen or created by both the Advisor and the Mentor with an Individualized Plan, and they must be developed after a student has taken the third foundation course.

One 3-credit Capstone (can only be taken in one seven week term) or one 6-credit Thesis (that can be offered over one or two sessions) (3-6 Semester Credits) .


A capstone can be an applied learning project, a creative work, or a written work that is approved by a student’s Advisor and Mentor. Both the Advisor and Mentor must consent to approve credit for the Capstone. The capstone must demonstrate the advancement of Social, Economic, or Environmental Justice.


A thesis is a significant piece of writing and research in one’s field of study. A thesis proposal must be approved by a committee consisting of a student’s Advisor, Mentor, and a third Committee member agreed to by the Advisor and Mentor who is an expert in the field. The thesis may take place over two sessions, and is worth 6 credits. The thesis must demonstrate the advancement of Social, Economic, or Environmental Justice.

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