The MAPH Year

Master of Arts Program in the Humanities seminar photo

Students in the Master of Arts Program in the Humanities (MAPH) take one required course and 8 electives. In the fall quarter, all MAPH students take Foundations of Interpretive Theory as a cohort. From there, students complete their remaining coursework throughout the University of Chicago. One elective may be used for an optional capstone project, such as a research seminar, academic thesis, or non-traditional thesis. MAPH students who opt to complete a thesis receive guidance from their preceptor and a faculty advisor.

Core Course: Foundations of Interpretive Theory

Foundations of Interpretive Theory (known colloquially as Core) is the intellectual heart of the MAPH community and is the only required course students take. Core begins two weeks before regular University of Chicago classes and serves as an introduction to the theoretical basis of contemporary humanistic research. Core is taught by the MAPH Director and all the preceptors, and students meet in small groups with their preceptors each week.

This class meets on Tuesdays and Thursdays with a required precept discussion section on Fridays.

Elective Courses

Outside of Core, MAPH students take 8 additional elective courses. Many students focus all their elective courses in a specific academic department. Other students take classes from different areas across the University. 

Capstone Project

One elective may be devoted to a capstone project. Some MAPH students choose a curricular option, such as a research seminar.

Those who opt to complete an MA thesis work under the supervision of a University of Chicago faculty advisor. Some students write critical, scholarly papers. Others produce a non-traditional thesis accompanied by a critical piece of writing.

In the winter quarter, students who opt for a thesis work closely with their preceptor to find a faculty thesis advisor, write a thesis proposal, and begin workshopping their writing. In the spring quarter, students complete their thesis while meeting regularly with their preceptors and fellow MAPH students.