Master of Arts Program

The Master of Arts program consists of 36 credit hours in humanities with emphasis in imaginative literature, natural science, philosophy and religion, and social sciences. The program includes readings which may be selected from the Great Books Foundation anthologies, The Great Books of the Western World, the Annals of American History, and other works by authors listed in the Syntopicon’s Bibliography of Additional Readings which may be available in many popular editions or collections. 

It is the philosophy of Harrison Middleton University to provide the opportunity for a student to study the subjects that interest him or her. The Master of Arts program consists of 36 graduate credit hours, which include The Great Conversation: The Cornerstone Course, 28 credit hours of core coursework, and The Capstone Course. As a student at Harrison Middleton University, you may design a program of study focusing on the subjects or authors that interest you. There are a variety of ways to design your Master of Arts program. You may choose to do an in-depth study of an idea from one of the disciplines of Imaginative Literature, Natural Sciences, Philosophy and Religion, or Social Science, or you may decide to do an in-depth study of specific authors. Additionally you may complete a study of primary source documents from Great Books Foundation publications, or you may choose to study a combination of the three. 

Students design their program of study as the culminating assignment in their first course, The Great Conversation: The Cornerstone Course, with the guidance of their Mentor and the Instructional Team. Students at Harrison Middleton University are enrolled in and complete one course at a time. Each course needs to be completed within sixteen weeks. Student courses will consist of a series of telephone or Skype discussions and an end-of-course essay.

The Master of Arts degree at Harrison Middleton University is unique in the way the program is delivered - entirely via distance education - and provides a flexible, individualized, student designed program of study. In this way, the manner in which the student fulfills the degree requirements can be tailored to each student's individual educational and career goals.

The Master of Arts Program (36 Credit Hours) Consists Of:

  • HUM 501: The Great Conversation: The Cornerstone Course ~ 4 credit hours
  • Core Student Designed Program (Humanities) ~ 28 credit hours
  • HUM 502: Master of Arts Capstone Course (student-designed project, practicum, or thesis)  ~ 4 credit hours

Master’s Program Learning Objectives

Upon successful completion of a Master's program, students will be able to:

  • Design, implement, and complete a self-directed program of study in humanities.
  • Construct logical, coherent, well-supported, creative, and compelling verbal and written arguments.
  • Identify, analyze, evaluate, and exploit textual ambiguity while exploring complex ideas.
  • Achieve the ability to think critically about major ideas in Western thought and to engage in rigorous discussion about fundamental questions of human existence. Successful completion of a master's degree program requires, and in turn enhances, mastery of critical, analytical, synthetic, creative, and problem-solving skills through discussion and essay writing.
  • Develop synthetic arguments that draw upon multiple strains of thought. The hallmark of graduate study is a student's ability to draw profound conclusions and create original insights that move beyond the text.
  • Design and completion of a culminating thesis, practicum, or field project demonstrates an ability to carry out sustained library or field research on a designated topic as well as to synthesize and apply knowledge and skills acquired in the course of study.

The quality of student work is evaluated through: 1) in-depth discussions with faculty members, 2) end of course essays, 3) a scholarly paper, applied project, or pedagogical training, 4) and the presentation of the results of the applied project or pedagogical training or the oral examination in defense of a written scholarly paper. Achieving excellence in scholarship requires full participation.

Master's level students are required to draw connections and references to the text and to their chosen Great Idea(s), topics, and subtopics and should be able to begin identifying common themes which exist among various authors being read. This form of study is known as author-to-idea study. At the master's level, students are expected to produce academic course work that reflects greater creativity and criticality, as well as depth and breadth, than might be expected at the undergraduate level. Master's level students should be able to demonstrate a clear understanding of an author's position with respect to the Great Idea(s) or issues raised in the selection or discussion. Students should have mastered the ability to summarize and to perform complex textual comparison and contrasts as well as incorporating their own thoughts and analyses of both the ideas and the arguments. Master's level students should be able to produce novel syntheses and to develop new insights; that is, they should not only be able to understand a particular argument or position, but move beyond the arguments to draw inferences; evaluate evidence, coherence, and the validity of the author's conclusions in relation to the Great Idea(s), topics and subtopics being studied. They should be able to make and support theoretical commitments and think analytically and critically. Students should produce coursework that persuades the reader in their original argument by providing textual evidence. Master's level students should also begin making author-to-author connections. It is at this level (author-to-author study) that the conversation between the authors and the students begins to illuminate new insights based on the Great Idea(s), topics, and subtopics being studied.


"The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious - the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science."
~ Albert Einstein