College of LAS > Academics > Interdisciplinary Studies > Graduate Programs > Interdisciplinary Studies (MA) > Degree Requirements
All students will keep a portfolio of significant work done for courses, such as final papers or special projects, with comments and grades from the professor. By the midpoint, there will be work from a total of at least three courses in the portfolio. At the culminating point there will be work from a total of at least six courses in the portfolio.
After completing the sixth course but before taking the ninth course, all students in both programs will write a 3-5 page essay examining their progress to that point, using as evidence work from the portfolio. The Midpoint Essay reflects on the student's intellectual growth, and suggests directions for the second half of the student's program.
All students in both programs (regardless of which final option they choose) will write an essay of 3-5 pages, reflecting on their intellectual growth in the second half of the program.
All students must apply and be approved for the particular option they wish to use for program completion (thesis, practicum, enhanced portfolio or exit course). This application will include the student's portfolio. The thesis and practicum options include a Formal Proposal. Approval of the proposal is necessary before the student undertakes this final stage of the program. Enrollment in MLS 499, the culminating project independent study course, takes place after approval of the proposal has been secured. If necessary, in lieu of an elective, students may enroll in MLS 498 INDEPENDENT STUDY:THESIS if they require an additional quarter of research and other preparation for MLS 499.
Both 498 and 499 are conducted as Independent Studies. Instructions for proposing and pursuing these are available with the Program. When the project is completed both the members of the committee and the MALS/IDS director sign a Culminating Project Completion Form.
The IDS program may be completed in one of four ways:
In addition to the Culminating Point Essay and final portfolio submission, the student will write a paper of approximately 35-50 pages that includes 3-4 components or sections, one of which will be a research component and original exploration of the subject. (Other components might include a review of literature, a synthesis of earlier research, a reflection on various disciplinary and methodological approaches to the issue, suggestions for future research, etc.) The research component of the Master’s Thesis involves reflection on primary research, or actual primary research combined with reflection on the primary research of others. The student is encouraged to make a public presentation about his or her thesis.
In addition to the Culminating Point Essay and final portfolio submission, for the Practicum Option the student will create a project aimed at developing and executing a community-based intellectual or intellectual/creative activity. Examples are a public presentation as a lecture, in broadcast or print media, or on the web. Service learning projects are also encouraged. A 15-25 page descriptive/analytic essay documenting the project is also submitted. The student is encouraged to make a public presentation about his or her practicum in addition to the primary distribution of the project.
In addition to the final portfolio submission, and a Culminating Point Essay based on portfolio pieces selected from at least three courses in the second half of the program, the distinctive feature of the Enhanced Portfolio option is the writing of a new extended expository essay of 12-15 pages. This is a paper on a topic of the student's own choosing that makes an argument. (Further information on this paper and the option is available from the program.)
In addition to the Culminating Point Essay and the final portfolio submission, the student proposes a particular course over and above the original 12 courses. This course should be chosen as an "exit course," in that it brings together a number of areas of interest that the student has pursued over the course of the program. By arrangement with the instructor, the student uses the final paper or final project to make connections with the goals of his or her overall IDS Program. The instructor will grade the paper, and another reader suggested by the IDS program will also review and comment on the paper.
If the majority of courses completed for the master’s degree are drawn from programs that award the Master of Arts degree, then the student will earn the MA. If the number is equal the student can choose the MA or the MS.
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