Office: Second Floor, 211 Roosevelt Hall, Telephone: (516) 463-5824, Fax: (516) 463-4832, E-mail: email@example.com
Barry Nass, Ph.D., Vice Dean
Peter W. Sherwood, Ph.D., Senior Assistant Dean and New College Master of Arts Program Administrator
John Krapp, Ph.D., Associate Professor and New College Master of Arts Program Academic Coordinator
The New College Master of Arts Program (MAP) affords students who do not wish or are unable to attend classes on a regular university schedule the opportunity to earn a master’s degree by pursuing a course of study under the supervision of expert faculty. The liberal arts curriculum is flexible, individualized and interdisciplinary. The rigorous and challenging degree plan guides students through a series of learning contracts intended to lead to the completion of a master’s thesis.
Because needs, interests and educational goals vary, the focus and design of each student’s program of study are unique. They originate with each student, whose work is carried out under the supervision and guidance of experts in the pertinent academic fields. There are no specific programs of study that a student must pursue, nor any list of courses from which a program of study must be selected. Possible programs of study are as varied as the goals of the students in the program, limited only by available instructional resources.
Within this individualized framework, students pursue their studies by means of learning contracts, not traditional classroom courses. Each student enters into a learning contract with a faculty supervisor. The contract defines the educational objectives of the study, the resources and methods to be employed, the products to be submitted and the criteria to be used in evaluating the student’s achievements. Students conduct the study under the guidance of the supervisor.
Although the individual nature of the program permits a great deal of flexibility, two requirements must be fulfilled: each program must be interdisciplinary, and all components must be within the liberal arts.
Interdisciplinary Studies Within the Liberal Arts
Prospective graduate students often wish to study interrelated topics within the context of a single program or focus their studies on a particular theme of personal or professional interest. Such studies do not necessarily conform to traditional disciplinary and divisional master’s programs. The New College master’s program is designed for such students. Within the liberal arts, students may examine a subject or problem by using the concept, methods or techniques of at least two of the three broad areas of study: the humanities, the social sciences and the natural sciences. At New College the fields within these broad areas of study are:
Music History and Literature
To earn the master of arts degree through New College, students must complete five learning components for a total of 34 s.h. These are:
MAP 200: Initial Study (4 s.h.)
MAP 201: Learning Contract One (8 s.h.)
MAP 202: Learning Contract Two (8 s.h.)
MAP 203: Learning Contract Three (8 s.h.)
MAP 204: Master’s Thesis (6 s.h.)
Detailed Description of Degree Requirements
MAP 200 - Initial Study
The initial study consists of a series of weekly meetings with the program’s academic coordinator that all students are required to attend for one semester. During the initial study, students complete the following assignments:
- Students will read several interdisciplinary texts and write several short papers on topics related to them. This component of the initial study will demonstrate the student’s ability to engage interdisciplinary material in a thoughtful, sophisticated manner and to present a cogent, focused argument generated in response to it.
Students will complete a library research paper. This component of the initial study will demonstrate the student’s ability to conduct library research, to organize it, to express it effectively, and to document it correctly. This process may also reveal those academic skills that need improvement. The student chooses the topic of the research paper, subject to the approval of the academic coordinator. A topic relevant to the whole degree plan will permit the student to explore pertinent sources, as well as verify that the theme of the degree plan is feasible and has intellectual value.
Students will complete a master’s degree plan. This is the centerpiece of the initial study. The master’s degree plan is a comprehensive description of the student’s individual program at New College. It consists of comprehensive descriptions of each of the three learning contracts and the master’s thesis (detailed below under MAP 201, 202, 203, 204)), a discussion of the interdisciplinary character of the program, an estimate of the length of time the program as well as each of its components will require and suggestions for supervision. The completed degree plan is reviewed by the MAP Curriculum Committee, which considers such matters as (a) the availability of the faculty and professional resources for each component of the plan; (b) the availability of library and technical resources for each component; (c) the appropriateness of the student’s projected schedule for completion of the total program; and (d) the consistency of the plan with the student’s stated motivation for graduate work in interdisciplinary studies. The student is informed in writing of the MAP Curriculum Committee’s approval of the degree plan or of required revisions. Satisfactory completion of the initial study is dependent on approval of the degree plan.
As students progress through the program, they may discover lines of study more appropriate than proposed in the approved master’s degree plan. These students may submit a revised plan for review by the MAP Curriculum Committee. If a revised plan is not approved, the student may continue with the original plan or modify the revised plan for re-evaluation.
MAP 201, 202, 203 - Learning Contracts
Following satisfactory completion of the initial study, the student begins and carries out the three learning contracts proposed and approved during the initial study. Normally all contracts are supervised by Hofstra University faculty. Contracts consist primarily of library and/or field research, apprenticeships or internships, laboratory work, and studio participation. Whatever the manner of study, some form of written report, chiefly analytical and substantive, must be submitted for evaluation. The requirement that the master’s degree plan be interdisciplinary may be satisfied in either of two ways. Each contract may incorporate approaches from at least two of the liberal arts areas (humanities, natural sciences, social sciences), or at least one of the contracts must emphasize a different area from the others. One may not, for example, do all of one’s graduate study in the humanities.
With the permission of the MAP Academic Coordinator, students may apply graduate course credit earned at Hofstra towards one learning contract if the graduate course work is relevant to the student’s masters degree plan. In such cases, students may be required to supplement the graduate course work with additional writing in order to satisfy the credit requirements of the learning contract.
The Learning Contract Proposal
The Learning Contract Proposal contains the following elements:
Purpose—A description of the topic with a clear indication of the goals of the study, its scope and its interdisciplinary character.
Methodological Procedures—A statement of the ways in which data are to be collected and an indication of the major resources to be used (e.g., library research, clinical observation, course attendance). The site or sites where the information is to be gathered should be identified, and their suitability to the study indicated. If it is necessary to use consultants who are not members of the Hofstra faculty, their qualifications should be substantiated through professional resumes.
Preparation—A review of the student’s preparation for undertaking the study (e.g., through prior study or work experience).
- Outline—An outline of the anticipated major divisions and subdivisions of the study.
Function—A statement of the manner in which the learning contract contributes to the fulfillment of the master’s degree plan.
Time Estimate—The anticipated length of time needed to complete the learning contract. Units of time should be in keeping with the Hofstra University academic calendar. Students who require additional time may apply in writing for an extension.
Annotated Bibliography—A list of articles, books, records and other documents that are expected to be of use in the fulfillment of the contract. Each item should be accompanied by a brief comment on its expected value to the study. It is understood that the bibliography is tentative and subject to modification during the course of the research.
Implementation of the Learning Contract Proposal
As part of the master’s degree plan, each learning contract proposal receives approval by the MAP Curriculum Committee during the initial study. When a student is prepared to begin a learning contract, an initial meeting is arranged between the student and a potential faculty supervisor who is either chosen by the student or, if the student has no recommendation regarding a supervisor, by the MAP Curriculum Committee. During this initial meeting, the student confers with the faculty member and, if the two agree to work together, the student registers for the contract through the Program Administrator’s Office. Work on the contract may then begin. If the student and faculty member are unable to maintain a tutorial relationship, then the MAP Academic Coordinator will guide the student toward other faculty supervision until a tutorial relationship is established.
Evaluation of the Learning Contract
A learning contract is considered satisfactorily completed when student, supervisor and MAP Curriculum Committee are satisfied with the finished product(s). It should be anticipated that revisions of written work to satisfy student, faculty, and program standards will be necessary.
When the learning contract has been completed, the student is asked to confer with the supervisor. This conference should result in the award of a final grade for the learning contract. Once the student has completed Learning Contract One, she or he will be permitted to register for the second and subsequent learning contracts according to the same protocol followed for Learning Contract One.
Any student who has successfully completed the three learning contracts has acquired the tools and skills necessary to begin work on the master’s thesis.
MAP 204 - Master’s Thesis
The final degree requirement and fifth component of the program is the master’s thesis. In accordance with the Master of Arts Program, the master’s thesis must reflect the interdisciplinary character of the topic. When the completed thesis has been approved by a group of three faculty readers and successfully defended, a recommendation is made to the Vice Dean of New College that the degree of Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies be awarded.
The Thesis Proposal
The Thesis Proposal contains the following elements:
Purpose—Generally, the thesis should represent an interdisciplinary integration of the theme of the candidate’s previous contracts. The thesis should: 1) make a persuasive case for a proposition (one that earlier research rather than preconception has revealed to the writer); or 2) will test an hypothesis by means of empirical research. In the former case, the research will draw on earlier research. In testing an hypothesis, appropriate research methodology must be followed, including adherence to appropriate ethical standards.
Methodological Procedures—The candidate will propose the thesis just as he or she proposed earlier contracts, i.e., with a statement describing the ways in which data are to be collected and the major resources to be employed: library research, field research, apprenticeship, workshops, clinical observation or course work. The site or sites where the information is to be gathered must be identified and their suitability to the study discussed. The Thesis Committee will consist of at least three people. One, the thesis adviser, will take primary responsibility for guiding and overseeing the candidate’s work. It will be his or her responsibility to suggest sources and to discuss and evaluate the work as it progresses. Because the thesis will have an interdisciplinary character, two readers will be assigned to assist with perspectives from their discipline(s).
Annotated Bibliography—A list of articles, books, records and other documents expected to be used in the course of study is to be submitted with a brief commentary on their anticipated value. It is understood that the bibliography is tentative and subject to revision during the course of the research.
Relationship to the Degree Plan—To be included in the thesis proposal is a description of how the initial study research paper and the three learning contracts may have contributed to the thesis. Further, the ways in which the thesis may be regarded as the culmination of the degree plan must be discussed.
- Outline—An outline of the anticipated thesis is required showing the likely major divisions and subdivisions of the study.
Time Estimate—The student and thesis adviser will anticipate the length of time required for the completion of the thesis. The minimum time required for completion of the thesis is one New College semester; the maximum time does not usually exceed one academic year.
Implementation of the Master’s Thesis Proposal
As part of the master’s degree plan, the thesis proposal receives approval by the MAP Curriculum Committee during the initial study. When a student is prepared to begin the thesis, an initial meeting is arranged between the student and a potential faculty supervisor who is either chosen by the student or, if the student has no recommendation on a supervisor, by the MAP Curriculum Committee. During this initial meeting, the student confers with the faculty member and, if the two agree to work together, the student registers for the thesis through the Program Administrator’s Office. Work on the thesis may then begin. If the student and faculty member are unable to establish a tutorial relationship, then the student is guided toward other faculty supervision until a tutorial relationship is established.
Evaluation of the Master’s Thesis
When the thesis adviser and all assigned readers are satisfied that the work has been completed and is ready for formal evaluation, a Thesis Committee will be asked to evaluate the thesis and meet with the candidate for an oral defense. Revisions may be required as the four discussants review the work in a spirit of constructive criticism. These revisions are classed as:
*”Minor Revisions,” in which case relatively straightforward corrections, clarifications or amplifications may be required. In such cases, only the approval of the thesis adviser will be necessary for final acceptance of the thesis;
*”Major Revisions,” in which case the candidate will be required to do a substantial amount of rewriting or additional writing, e.g., a new chapter. Here, a second oral defense will be required so that the entire Thesis Committee may be satisfied that the work has been completed acceptably.
The Admissions criteria established for the New College Master of Arts Program and the procedures utilized in evaluating candidates for admission are consistent with the program’s individualized, contractual mode of learning, its interdisciplinary orientation and with the standards for graduate study at Hofstra University. Applicants should have:
A bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution with a grade-point average of 3.0 (B) or better;
Completed an undergraduate program of study in the liberal arts or prior experience demonstrating both breadth and depth of knowledge;
A demonstrated interest in, and capacity for, pursuing an individualized, contractual mode of learning;
An interest in, and capacity for, engaging in an interdisciplinary program of study;
The ability to conduct original independent research and to present the results in acceptable written style and form.
Instructions for Applicants
Note: These instructions are for your benefit and apply only to the New College Master of Arts Program. Please read and follow these instructions carefully.
- Application Deadlines
The fall semester is normally the regular point of entry into the program. Occasionally students will be permitted to enter for the spring semester. Applications should be received no later than one month prior to a desired point of entry.
- Application Forms
Applicants must complete Hofstra University’s Graduate Application form. In addition to the University’s Graduate Application, applicants are asked to respond to the questions on the Supplementary Application Form for the New College Master of Arts Program. The applicant’s answers to these questions are designed to provide the faculty with a sense of the applicant’s desire and capacity to work independently and the goals the applicant has in pursuing graduate study. All completed forms should be returned to the Office of Graduate Admission, 126 Hofstra University, Hempstead, NY, 11549.
Applicants must provide the names, addresses and telephone numbers of three references who can be contacted, if necessary, by the MAP Curriculum Committee. At least one of these references should be familiar with the applicant’s academic performance, and one should be familiar with the applicant’s professional work and/or volunteer service, if relevant.
Official undergraduate and graduate transcripts showing possession of a baccalaureate degree and any graduate work attempted must be sent directly to the Office of Graduate Admissions, 126 Hofstra University, Hempstead, NY, 11549. The applicant’s copy of the transcript is not valid for admissions purposes. The faculty does not usually grant advanced standing unless the student has accumulated a minimum of 12 s.h. in the subject area related to the program emphasis. Advanced standing is never granted in excess of one learning contract. Students who are eligible to apply for advanced standing should indicate this interest at the time of application.
- Application Fee
Applicants are required to pay a nonrefundable fee of $60 with their application. Checks or money orders should be made payable to Hofstra University and must accompany the completed application form.
- Admissions Decisions
All of the above materials will be reviewed by the New College Master of Arts Program Office. The faculty of the program is responsible for the final admissions decision. Applicants will be notified by mail of the committee’s decision as soon as the review process is completed.
Initially, application materials will be sent by the Office of Graduate Admissions to the MAP Office for review by the program coordinator. Students whose credentials receive a favorable review will be contacted by the program coordinator for a pre-admission information session. The results of the preliminary review of the application as well as the information session will be forwarded to the MAP Curriculum Committee, which will make the final admission decision.
Upon favorable faculty review of application materials and the interview, applicants will be sent a letter of acceptance to the New College Master of Arts Program which is valid for one year and which includes permission to register for an initial study.
Registration and Student Status
Registration for an initial study must be completed through the Program Administrator’s Office no later than two weeks prior to the starting date of that initial study. Initial study tuition and fees must be paid at the time of registration. Applicants are considered enrolled in the program when registration for the initial study is complete and all appropriate tuition and fees have been paid. Registration, billing, and receipt of tuition and fees are administered cooperatively by the Program Administrator’s Office and appropriate University offices.
Students unable to meet the original contract or thesis deadline may submit to the Program Administrator’s Office a written request for an extension. Students should specify the reason why the extension is required and propose a new date for the completion of the project. Contract and thesis extension periods must be consistent with the New College academic calendar. The Master of Arts Program reserves the right to charge an emendation fee ($200) for such extensions.
Students not registered for a MAP learning component or not working within an approved extension of a MAP learning component are considered withdrawn from the program. Withdrawn students must apply for readmission by written request to the MAP Curriculum Committee if they wish to register for subsequent learning components.
Leave of Absence
Students may apply formally for a leave of absence through the Program Administrator’s Office. In submitting an application for a leave, students must indicate the period of inactivity which must be coincidental with the New College academic calendar. Leaves normally are not in excess of one academic year; students on a leave of absence do not have to apply for readmission.
Evaluation and Standards
Students enrolled in MAP are evaluated according to the standards of Hofstra’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
- Completion of all program requirements.
- Students must maintain a minimum grade point average of 3.0 each semester.
Transcripts and Records
The official records of students in the New College Master of Arts Program are maintained by the University’s Office of Academic Records. Files of student activity and copies of all student work are kept in the Program Administrator’s Office.
The official transcript lists the titles of each of the five learning components, the semester of registration for each component and the awarded grade. To assure the accurate transcription of MAP work, students must provide proper registration information when it is requested by the Program Administrator’s Office. Students may see up-to-date reports of their MAP component grades online. Requests for official transcripts must be made in writing to the Office of Academic Records: Memorial Hall, Hofstra University, Hempstead, New York 11549.