Old Dominion University
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College of Arts and Letters

Institute of Humanities


Once students gain admission to the program, they may pursue the 36-hour thesis option or the non-thesis option. All students must take HUM 601, HUM 602, HUM 603, HUM 604, and HUM 692. These courses provide an introduction to humanities research, critical theory (601) and methods (602), ongoing debates about the future of the humanities in a digital era (604), introduce students to interdisciplinary research and teaching (603), and serve as a foundation for each student’s individualized program of study. HUM 692 prepares students for their final project. Thesis students enroll in HUM 698 or HUM 699; non-Thesis students enroll in HUM 693. Students may only take 12 hours at the 500 level. Students are required to complete their graduate work within a 6-year period.

Although the program welcomes full-time students, we recognize that professional and/or family obligations often make it difficult for students to attend graduate school on a full-time basis. For the convenience of students who have such obligations during the day, approximately two-thirds of the courses are offered after 4:00 in the afternoon.

Thesis Option
Students pursuing the thesis option must take HUM 698-HUM 699 (thesis, six hours). The thesis is to be based on original scholarly research and should reflect the interdisciplinary nature of the humanities degree. Each student will choose a faculty advisor who will chair a thesis committee appointed by the director of the Humanities Institute. The thesis committee will direct and evaluate the student’s work and consists of faculty members from at least two different Arts and Letters disciplines. Upon completion of the thesis, the committee will conduct an oral examination and student defense of the thesis. A formal written statement explaining and justifying the project must be submitted by the student before the oral examination.

Non-thesis Option
Students selecting the non-thesis option must take the capstone seminar, HUM 693. Students have the option of creating a theoretically informed final project instead of a traditional thesis. Individual projects must be approved by the program director, but can include creative works, art installations, film and video, interactive and born-digital works, as well as other forms of community engagement.