Oct 01, 2023  
University Catalog 2022-2023 
University Catalog 2022-2023 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Individualized Studies in Humanities (IMA), MA

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MA in Individualized Studies in Humanities (IMA)
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 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.

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 (This area is no longer accepting new students as of 8/29/22) updated 9/12/22
    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 seven to eight Seminars or Individualized Courses (either Humanities or Social Sciences).
  4. Choose a Mentor before beginning the third Foundation course.
  5. 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.
  6. Complete either a Capstone Project, or a Thesis. (Students who complete a thesis take seven seminars and individualized courses instead of eight.)
  7. Complete a Portfolio.
  8. Complete 36 credit hours of graduate work.

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.

Seven to eight Seminars or Individualized courses (21-24 Semester Credits)

Seminars from the Field of Study
  • Interdisciplinary Dialogical Classes that address a topic and an area of interest generated by our faculty.  These are generally offered in synchronous formats.
Individualized Courses
  • These courses are created jointly by faculty and students, putting students behind the wheel of their academic journey, with faculty members providing supportive guidelines.

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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