Jun 19, 2024  
University Catalog 2023-2024 
University Catalog 2023-2024 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Social Sciences, MA

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MA in Social Sciences
Location: AU Online
Credits for Degree: 36 semester credits
Standard Mode of Instruction: Online
Standard time to completion: 24 months

Program Overview

The Individualized Master of Arts (IMA) Program offers an MA in Social Sciences. For more than 40 years, students at Antioch University have been individualizing their graduate study in many humanities 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, online 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 studies through 3 foundation courses, co-designed individualized courses with faculty, and seminars 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:

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

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 in Social Sciences with a specialization in their selected area.

Academic Specializations

Students choose a specialization or create their own specialization.

Social Sciences Specializations:

  • Educational Studies and Human Development
  • Conflict Resolution
  • Management of Human and Natural Systems
  • Create own specialization

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, experiential 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.

Program Requirements

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

  • 3 Foundations courses (9 credits)
  • 7-8 Specialization courses - Any combination of seminars and individualized courses (courses you design with instructors) (21-24 credits)
  • Capstone (3 credits) or Thesis (6 credits)
  • 3 Colloquia (0 credits)
  • Master’s Portfolio (0 credits)

Admission Requirements

  • Complete the Online Application (No Application fee!) Start by setting up a username and then select Online campus to get started!
  • 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.
  • (optional) Two current professional references; one from a professor who has evaluated your academic work preferred
  • Admissions Essay:
    • Please provide a statement in 500 words or less as to why you would like to do an Individualized program, what specialization you might be interested in pursuing, what you intend to accomplish in the program, and what qualifications you bring to accomplish that
  • No GMAT or GRE required
  • 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 Foundation Courses

  • 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 course addresses how to do effective Social Science or Humanities research.

  • In this course students develop their degree plan, including their specialization, tentative titles for future courses, a syllabus, and they select a mentor if one chooses.

    The individualized curriculum is developed in a collaborative partnership among the student, a Faculty Advisor, a 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.

Seminars & Individualized Learning (21-24 Semester Credits)

Students can self-design a course with an instructor, take any of the IMA Program courses (seminars), courses from other Antioch graduate programs and/or Prior Learning Assessment (PLA). For each of these options students work with their Mentor (optional) and Advisor to ensure the courses are in alignment with their Degree Plan. 

For Thesis track students need to complete 8 Courses. 

For Capstone track students need to complete 7 Courses. 

Seminars from the Field of Study
  • Seminars are courses that IMA faculty members have designed. Seminars are small, interdisciplinary classes that have asynchronous discussion forums and synchronous tutorials.
Individualized Courses
  • With guidance from their Faculty Advisor and Mentor (optional), students identify faculty members to teach courses in the student’s individualized area of study. Occasionally, students may request to study with an external scholar or practitioner, someone who is not on the Antioch faculty. 
  • Students submit their individualized course syllabi to their Faculty Advisors and Mentors (optional) for review.
IntraUnversity Courses
  • Students can also enroll in courses in the University system if they meet the prerequisites and there is space. 
Prior Learning

Prior experiential learning is gained from workplace training, participation in professional development opportunities, or an individual’s own self-guided experience, study, and reflection.  By themselves, these experiences do not constitute graduate-level college learning. However, the IMA provides graduate students with a process and structure to demonstrate that the experiences, the learning they drew out from those experiences, and their ability to apply that learning to other experiences are equivalent to the learning outcomes identified in a specific course.

The IMA employs a “course match” approach to the assessment of prior experiential learning using a prior learning portfolio. Students provide both a narrative description of what they have learned and specific evidence to support their narrative.

Students who believe that their previous work, professional, community experiences, or individualized study may be applicable to their graduate degree should meet with their advisor. Upon referral from their advisor, students meet with the IMA Prior Learning Coordinator to discuss the students’ history and review any possible avenues for petitioning prior learning credit and other options for obtaining transfer credit. Note a total of 15 credits can be transferred, 9 of these credits can be through the Prior Learning Assessment.  Please refer to the IMA Handbook on Prior Learning Assessment for more information.

Synthesis Project


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. The capstone must demonstrate the advancement of Social, Economic, or Environmental Justice. Capstone is offered every semester for the full term. 


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. Thesis is offered every semester for the full term. The thesis must demonstrate the advancement of Social, Economic, or Environmental Justice.

Three Required Colloquia (0 Semester Credits)

The colloquia take place each semester. 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.

Portfolio (0 Semester Credits)

Each student completes a Master’s Portfolio in their final semester in the program. The portfolio is used as a tool to gauge one’s learning over the course of one’s tenure at Antioch, and to use for professional presentations and applications. The portfolio also allows one to reflect on one’s progress while serving as a student at Antioch, and may serve as a useful collection to demonstrate what one has learned to outside agencies or graduate schools.

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