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, seven electives, and may write an MA thesis. 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. Finally, MAPH students will either choose to complete a thesis with guidance from their preceptor—a post-doctoral Instructional Professor or Teaching Fellow—and under the supervision of a faculty member, or take an additional advanced seminar course.

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 seven additional elective courses. Many students will focus all of their elective courses in a specific academic department. Other students take classes from different areas across the University.

Thesis Project

MAPH students complete an MA thesis with a University of Chicago faculty advisor. Students most often write critical, scholarly papers. However, students can also produce a non-traditional thesis accompanied by a critical piece of writing. With good reason, students can instead take eight courses and complete an additional assignment rather than writing a thesis.

In the winter quarter, students 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.

Student Handbook

Current students can read more about the MAPH degree requirements in our Student Handbook.