Areas of Study


Students in the Master of Arts Program in the Humanities (MAPH) build highly individual course schedules. Many students use the program to focus more narrowly in a particular discipline, while others explore a variety of different academic fields. MAPH students may take classes in almost any department at the University of Chicago, but students typically take the majority of their coursework within the academic departments of the Division of the Humanities.

Create a Discipline-Specific MAPH Year

Many students come to MAPH to further their study in a specific academic area like English Literature, Art History, Philosophy, or Cinema and Media Studies. For these students, MAPH can function like a discipline-specific MA program: in addition to our one required course (Foundations of Interpretive Theory), you can complete all 7 elective courses in one area and complete a thesis under the supervision of a faculty member in that field of study.

Explore Your Intellectual Interests

Other students come to MAPH to explore their varied intellectual interests on a more intensive level. Some students completed their bachelor degrees in a field outside of the humanities and would like to learn more about humanistic study. Others combine coursework in a number of different fields—Art History, Theater and Performance Studies, East Asian Languages and Civilizations, for example—that results in an interdisciplinary thesis project.

Create a Capstone Project

While most MAPH students write a critical thesis that is a traditional academic research paper, students are also free to be more adventurous in their work. Many students choose to complete a non-traditional thesis project which might mean writing fiction or poetry, completing a translation, working in video or other visual media, producing a musical composition, or making some other non-traditional intervention in a humanistic conversation. Some students for whom it makes academic sense apply to take an eighth research course in lieu of a thesis.