Humanities, M.A.

Admission Requirements

Applicants should follow the admissions process described in this catalog or at the Graduate Admissions website at

In addition applicants must have:

  • a score in the 60th percentile or higher on the verbal section of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) General Test or an equivalent score on the Miller Analogies Test (MAT);
  • an undergraduate major in the humanities broadly defined;
  • an undergraduate grade point average of 3.0 on a scale of 4 from the bachelor’s degree transcript, or a score in or above the 40th percentile in the GRE subject test of Literature in English.

Applicants who do not meet all of the above admissions requirements may be admitted provisionally. A provisionally admitted student must earn a grade of B or above in their first twelve hours of coursework in the humanities, the twelve hours to include:

HUMN 604Expository Wrtng for Research3
Select one of the following Core Courses:3
Intro to Study in Humanities
Literary Theory & Criticism
Historical Studies
History & Theory of the Arts
Wstrn Trdtns/Contemp Cultures

Program Requirements

Degree students have the options of a thesis or final project. Students electing the thesis complete a total of 36 hours, six of which are the thesis (HUMN 680 Independent Research Symposium and HUMN 681 Independent Research Symposium). Students electing the project option complete a total of 39 hours, three of which are the project (HUMN 680 Independent Research Symposium).

With both options, students must pass a comprehensive examination. All individual plans of study are organized according to the following general structure:  

Humanities Core
HUMN 600Intro to Study in Humanities3
HUMN 604Expository Wrtng for Research3
Select two of the Following:6
Literary Theory & Criticism
Historical Studies
History & Theory of the Arts
Wstrn Trdtns/Contemp Cultures
Select a minimum of 15 hours from one of the four following areas: A&S, CULS, HIST, LITS15
Program Electives
Select 3-12 hours3-12
Independent Research Project or Thesis
Select one of the following: 3-6
Independent Research Project (3 hours)
Thesis (6 hours)
Total Credit Hours33-45

Plan of Study

Before registration for the 12th graduate credit hour, all graduate students must complete an official Plan of Study form to be approved by the Graduate Director and/or Department Chair and submitted to the Graduate Studies office.

Within a concentration, a student may select courses to develop personal interests. Note: Not all courses are offered at every teaching site. Students should understand that some plans of study may require travel to other teaching sites in West Virginia.

No more than twelve hours may be taken at the 500 level. A student nearing the completion of a plan of study may request an independent study course on a topic unavailable through regular courses. In such a case, the student will work under the direct supervision of a faculty member. The student’s advisor and the program director must approve the independent study.

Degree students are expected to maintain a 3.0 Grade Point Average in their courses. After a minimum of 24 hours of course credits and consultation with the advisor, a student is eligible to sit for the examination which is related to the core and to the individual plan of study. Note: Students may not enroll in HUMN 680 Independent Research Symposium until they have passed the comprehensive examination.

For further information on the degree program (sample plans of study, comprehensive examination, and independent research options), students should consult the Humanities Program Guide, available from the program director in South Charleston. Because degree students in Humanities have individualized plans of study, they are cautioned to contact the program director when applying for graduate study and to meet regularly with their advisors.

Note: Some courses, Classics, Communication Studies, English, History, Journalism and Mass Communications, and Philosophy also may be appropriate for the plan of study in Humanities.