Old Dominion University
A to Z Index  |  Directories

College of Arts and Letters

Institute of Humanities


Graduate students in the Institute work in close consultation with the Director of Humanities and/or a faculty mentor to design a coherent, tailored curriculum of courses that explores the various facets of the student's emphasis area. 

Students may enroll in approved graduate courses from the following fields: art history, linguistics, literature, foreign languages, history, music, philosophy, political science and geography, sociology and anthropology, communication and film studies, women's/gender studies, and international studies.

Students may pursue the 33-hour thesis option or the 36-hour non-thesis option. All students must take HUM 601 and 602. These courses provide an introduction to humanities research, methodology, and critical approaches, and serve as the foundation for each student's individualized program. In selecting their courses, students may take only 12 hours at the 500 level. All students must complete their graduate work within a six-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.

Non-thesis Option
Students selecting the non-thesis option must take the capstone seminar, HUM 694. This seminar brings students together in their final semester of study in order to explore the current state of humanities disciplines and theories of interdisciplinarity. The course also provides students with an opportunity to take stock of their experiences in the program and to discuss their own interdisciplinary projects and undertakings. All students are required to complete a final integrating paper that demonstrates effective interdisciplinary work. Students wishing to undertake special projects other than the research paper must obtain the approval of the program director and appropriate faculty advisors.

Thesis Option
Students pursuing the 33-hour thesis option must take HUM 698-699 (thesis, six hours) in place of HUM 694. The thesis is to be based on original scholarly research and must reflect the interdisciplinary nature of the humanities degree. In rare cases, students may be permitted to undertake a creative project--the making of a film or video, the production of a musical or multimedia event--with the approval of the Director. Each thesis student will be assigned a faculty advisor who will chair a thesis committee appointed by the director of the Institute of the Humanities. The committee, consisting of faculty certified for graduate instruction in the College of Arts and Letters, will direct and evaluate the student's work. The thesis committee must have faculty members from at least two different Arts and Letters disciplines. Upon completion of the thesis, the committee will conduct a two-hour examination and defense of the thesis and the topics related to the student's program of study. A formal written statement explaining and justifying the project must be submitted before the oral examination.