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Duke University Graduate School
2127 Campus Drive
Box 90065
Durham, NC 27708 USA

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Departments & Programs


For more information contact:

Douglas L. James, Ph.D. - Co-Director of Graduate Studies
John A. Klingensmith, Ph.D. - Co-Director of Graduate Studies
Program in Humanities
Duke University
Box 90068
Durham, NC 27708-0068
(919) 681-3257


General Information

Degree offered: A.M., JD/MA (Note: Applicants interested in the JD/MA will make application to the Law School rather than to the Graduate School.)
Faculty working with students: Students have access to virtually all Duke faculty in the Humanities departments.
Students: 6
Students receiving Financial Aid: financial aid not available
Spring Application: yes
Part time study available: yes
Test required: GRE General
Application Deadline

Program Description  (updated Fall 2013)

The Master of Arts Program in the Humanities is an interdepartmental program tailored to the needs of individual students who pursue interdisciplinary graduate study in the humanities and interpretive social sciences. The candidate must define a theme, historical period, or course of analysis and select appropriate course work with the aid and approval of an academic advisor (i.e., the Director of Graduate Study).  While there are no separate faculty or course offerings for the program, students have access to all members of the Humanities graduate faculty and courses offered in 11 different Humanities and Social Science departments. Students frequently take courses in related social science areas where these fit their particular intellectual interests.

Program requirements include:

(1) A minimum of thirty (30) credit units  
    You must register for and complete a minimum of 30 credit units. 
      (a). This must include a minimum of 27 graded credits:
       Graduate courses are level 500 or above. Up to 6 graded credits can be advanced undergraduate course credits of Level 200-499. Students usually also complete a graduate research credit in preparation for their Exam. See details in the Program Requirement description linked below.   
    (b). There is a 12 credit per term cap on enrollment to promote successful completion.  Nine (9) credit hours is considered full time.

(2) a minimum of three semesters of continuous enrollment** and payment at the flat-rate tuition and fees set annually by The Graduate School 
     Note: Summer Term I and II combined are equivalent to one semester.
      **After three semesters of full-time study and enrollment or that equivalent, the student's approved academic load will be changed to part-time status, and tuition charges will be set at the costs noted under the Cost of Attendance.

(3) Either a final Thesis (usually 40-60 pages) with a Master's Exam (60-90 minutes), OR a Non-thesis Master's Exam (using two (2) substantial course papers) successfully defended with an Examining Committee of three graduate faculty (at least two must be Full graduate faculty).  Details on Graduate Faculty can be found here:
General requirements for the M.A. degree are described on the Graduate School website:  

Detailed M.A. in Humanities program requirements are provided HERE or contact the DGS.

Individual programmatic foci can take any number of forms. Two recent students, for example, have shaped programs of study in Feminist Criticism and Women's Studies by bringing together courses offered in Art History, Literature, English, History and Women's Studies; and study in Contemporary Critical Theory, with courses from Art History, Cultural Anthropology, Literature, and Philosophy. Students are free to propose a program that focuses on a given theme (e.g., Romanticism, Urbanism, Nationalism, Revolution), on a specific historical period (The Age of Constantine, The Reformation, The Enlightenment), or on a particular course of analysis (Cultural Studies, Film and Media Studies, Textual Studies). In most instances, then, the Program in the Humanities offers students the opportunity to develop an intellectual and research focus not otherwise available in any traditional graduate program. It therefore seeks students who are interested particularly in traversing a number of traditional fields, or who are interested in pursuing new approaches to traditional humanities subjects.  Admission is by regular application to the Graduate School. Students may enroll full time or part time.

Prerequisites & Admission
Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree in any field from an accredited institution (or the equivalent to a U.S. bachelor's degree), and must demonstrate sufficient background in humanities to permit study at the graduate level.  Admission is by regular application to the Graduate School.