The interdisciplinary Masters' degree (MA) program in the Humanities allows students to pursue individualized curricula that incorporate classes from across ODU's seven Colleges and 65 standalone graduate programs. We attract students with unique research projects and/or career objectives that cannot be fully realized within a single discipline and who will benefit from a cross-disciplinary approach. Our students become experts in their field by triangulating courses across different disciplines. Students work closely with the program director to design a coherent program of study that encourages critical thinking, innovation, engaged scholarship and experiential learning.
The MA in Humanities is a 36-credit degree, 18 of which are core classes in the humanities and the other 18 flexible credits that students work with the program director to customize to their particular goals and needs. Students may only take 12 hours at the 500 level. Students are required to complete their graduate work within a 6-year period. The core classes are intended to provide students with a critical toolkit for research and teaching in the humanities.
Students have the opportunity to choose either a Thesis or Project option for their culminating work for the degree. The former allows students to develop long-form written research, while the latter provides a range of non-traditional options - from art installations and documentaries to outreach programs and interactive websites - for students to demonstrate their enhanced skill sets. Both the Thesis and Project options are guided by a faculty supervisor and committee of the student's choosing and must undergo an evaluation where the student orally defends their work.
Concentration areas indicate sites of significant student and faculty interest resulting in multiple course offerings. Students do not need to select a concentration, but they often serve as means to navigate across disciplines within the program. Concentrations do not correspond with departments or disciplines, but rather with thematic interests that cut across departments and disciplines.
The MA has several established concentrations in:
- Cultural and Human Geography
- Cultural Studies (including critical race studies and refugee studies)
- Gender and Sexuality Studies
- Media and Popular Culture Studies
- Philosophy and Religious Studies
- Visual Studies (including studio arts and art history)
- World Cultures
The Institute maintains a faculty advisory board with representatives from each of the departments in the College of Arts and Letters as well as representatives from each of the other Colleges. The board works to ensure that each concentration can offer students interdisciplinary course work opportunities
Another way that students can participate in the Institute for the Humanities is through our newly proposed graduate certificates in Arts and Entrepreneurship, Health Communication and Culture, and Social Justice and Entrepreneurship. These certificates combine critical and practical tools that will enable students pursuing them to be well positioned for sustainable careers as innovators and leaders in the arts, the health and wellness fields, and as community organizers and activists.
Each certificate is 13-credits and can be completed either in conjunction with a graduate degree from ODU or on its own. Students enrolled in a certificate program will complete a 1-credit capstone project wherein they develop a proposal for an intervention/initiative and then pitch their proposal directly to local and regional stakeholders.
Certificates can be earned in conjunction with the MA in Humanities or separately. Certificates are open to all students enrolled in any graduate program at ODU or to individuals who have earned an undergraduate degree who plan to enroll as non-degree seeking students. In some cases, high-performing undergraduates can pursue the certificates as part of the University Linked BA/BS-MA program (see below) or as an alternative to a minor/option D.
For further questions, please consult our Certificates FAQ.
The graduate certificate in Arts & Entrepreneurship focuses on helping students cultivate tools that are essential to launching and sustaining successful for-profit, non-profit, and community-based arts programs and initiatives that place art at the forefront of social innovation. These tools include creating sustainable business plans, grant writing, fundraising, social media marketing, cultivating and engaging stakeholders, arts administration, and social entrepreneurial and design thinking skills. These skills are paired with critical tools drawn from studying the social, political, economic and cultural value of arts-based innovations. The certificate is intended for individuals interested in studio and/or the performing arts, including painting, sculpture, metalwork, graphic design, cartooning, illustration, letterpress, music, dance, theater, film, and video. Students earning the 13-credit certificate will obtain skills that equip them to start and/or sustain their own arts-based enterprises.
Coursework is primarily project-based allowing students to apply course content while actively working with existing arts organizations and on art-based campaigns and initiatives. The certificate culminates in a capstone project wherein students will develop a proposal for an arts-based program and present their proposal to stakeholders in Hampton Roads for critique, feedback, and possible implementation. The certificate is open to any graduate student enrolled in any graduate program at ODU. Non-degree seeking individuals can also earn it as a standalone certificate.
The graduate certificate in Social Justice & Entrepreneurship focuses on students cultivating tools that are essential to launching and sustaining successful activist, community organizing, non-profit, social entrepreneurial, and social justice-based programs/initiatives. These tools include action plan development and implementation, fundraising and grant writing, social media and on-the-ground mobilization and engagement, community-driven problem solving, attracting and engaging media and stakeholders, organizational communication strategies and developing sustainable and responsive programs by identifying and assessing opportunities and resources. These skills are paired with critical tools drawn from studying the history, ethics, and principles of social justice activities.Students earning the 13-credit certificate will obtain community-based leadership skills translatable into various social justice areas.
Coursework is primarily project-based allowing students to apply course content while actively working with existing social justice organizations and on social justice campaigns and initiatives. The certificate culminates in a capstone project wherein students will develop a proposal for social justice-based intervention and present their proposal to stakeholders in Hampton Roads for critique, feedback, and possible implementation. The certificate is open to any graduate student enrolled in any graduate program at ODU. Non-degree seeking individuals can also earn it as a standalone certificate.
The graduate certificate in Health & Humanities helps students cultivate inter-professional tools that are essential to engaging diverse populations about health and wellness. These tools include interpersonal and mediated health communication strategies, bioethics and decision-making, social and cultural considerations when working with patients, addressing the impact of environmental and socio-economic factors on health and wellness, and integrating arts-based wellness programs into treatment strategies. Students earning the 13-credit certificate will obtain skills that equip them to engage diverse constituencies through multiple modalities about health and wellness concerns.
Coursework is primarily project-based allowing students to apply course content while actively working with existing health and wellness organizations. The certificate culminates in a capstone project wherein students will develop a proposal for a health/wellness-based program and present their proposal to stakeholders in Hampton Roads for critique, feedback, and possible implementation. The certificate is open to any graduate student enrolled in any graduate program at ODU. Non-degree seeking individuals can also earn it as a standalone certificate.
Linked B.A./B.S.-MA Program
Linked Master of Arts in Humanities- Communications, Geography, Interdisciplinary Studies, Philosophy and Religious Studies, Visual Studies, & Women's Studies
The linked degree programs make it possible for exceptional majors in Art History, Art Studio, Communication, Geography, Individualized Interdisciplinary Studies, Philosophy, and Women's Studies to take up to 12 hours of graduate courses while completing their undergraduate degree and to gain a head start on a graduate degree. Up to 6 graduate credits taken will be counted toward both the undergraduate and the graduate degree. Students interested in pursuing the linked program should carefully plan their undergraduate course of study considering the requirements of the program.
While our students pursue a wide range of careers upon completing their degree, some of the most common paths include arts administration, museum and gallery curators, community organizers, civil, environmental and human rights law and advocacy work, higher education, non-profit leadership, and social entrepreneurship.