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  Nov 19, 2017
 
 
    
2007-2008 Graduate Studies Bulletin [ARCHIVED BULLETIN]

Interdisciplinary Studies (New College), M.A.


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Design of the Master of Arts Program at New College

Individualized Curricula
Since 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 which a student must pursue, nor any list of courses from which a program of study might 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. Learning contracts are entered into by the student 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. The study is conducted by the student 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 utilizing 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:
Social Sciences
    Natural Science
    Humanities
Economics
    Biology
    Art History
History
    Chemistry
    Cultural Anthropology
Linguistics
    Mathematics
    Dramatic Literature
Political Science
    Physics
    Literature
Psychology
    Music History and Literature
Sociology
    Philosophy
Social Anthropology

Learning Components and Degree Requirements
To earn the Master of Arts Degree through New College, students must complete five learning components. These are:

MAP 200 - An Initial Study
The Initial Study consists of a series of weekly meetings that all students are required to attend for one semester. As part of the Initial Study, students complete reading assignments in interdisciplinary texts and write several short papers on topics related to them. In addition, each student writes a library research paper related to the theme of his or her program and compiles an annotated bibliography for each component of that program. In consultationwith faculty, each student also formulates a Master’s Degree Plan which makes explicit the objectives of the student’s total program and provides a plan for the remainder of the work to be completed for the Master of Arts degree. Finally, a proposal is presented for Contract I, the next stage of the program. Based on performance in the Initial Study, a decision is made by the Core Faculty regarding the student’s eligibility to continue in the program.

MAP 201-203 - Three Learning Contracts
Following satisfactory completion of the Initial Study, the student begins and carries out a series of three learning contracts. Approval of contract proposals by the faculty of the Master’s Program is required before students may register for learning contracts. Normally all contracts are supervised by Hofstra University faculty. Contracts consist primarily of library and/or field research but may include course attendance, apprenticeships or internships, laboratory work and studio participation. 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.

MAP 204 and 205 - A Master’s Thesis
The final degree requirement and fifth component of the program is the Master’s Thesis. This is a contractual project which reflects and integrates the preceding three contracts and the Initial Study. In accordance with the Master of Arts Program, the Master’s Thesis must reflect the interdisciplinary character of the topic. Work on the Thesis is begun after a Thesis Proposal, prepared by the student, has been approved by the MAP office. When the completed Thesis has been approved by a group of three faculty readers and successfully defended in colloquy with them, a recommendation is made to the Dean of New College that the degree of Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies be awarded.

Instructions for Applicants
Note: These instructions are for your benefit and apply only to the Master of Arts Program in Interdisciplinary Studies at New College. Please read and follow these instructions carefully. All forms must be filled out completely or the application will be returned to you. Please type your responses so that they are legible.
  1. Application Deadlines
    The fall semester is normally the regular point of entry into the Master of Arts Program at New College. 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.
  2. Application Forms
    In addition to the University’s Graduate Application, applicants are asked to prepare an essay in response to the questions on the Supplementary Application Form for the Master of Arts Program at New College. 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 Hofstra University Graduate Admissions Office, 126 Hofstra University, Hempstead, NY, 11549.
  3. References
    Please provide the names, addresses and telephone numbers of three references who can be contacted, if necessary, by the Master of Arts Program Core Faculty. At least one of these references should be familiar with the applicant’s academic performance, and one should be familiar with the applicant’s work, professional or volunteer service.
  4. Transcripts
    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. Official transcripts of all graduate work completed should also be submitted to the Master of Arts Program Office, New College. 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.
  5. Application Fee
    Applicants are required to pay a non-refundable fee of $40 with their application. Checks or money orders should be made payable to Hofstra University and must accompany the completed application form.
  6. Admissions Decisions
    All of the above materials will be reviewed by the Master of Arts Program Office. The faculty of the Master of Arts 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.

    Admission
    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 the standards for graduate study at Hofstra University.
    Applicants should have:

    1. A bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution with a Grade Point Average of 3.0 (B) or better;
    2. Completed an undergraduate program of studies in the Liberal Arts or prior experience demonstrating both breadth and depth of knowledge;
    3. A demonstrated interest in, and capacity for, pursuing an individualized, contractual mode of learning;
    4. An interest in, and capacity for, engaging in an interdisciplinary program of study;
    5. The ability to conduct original independent research and to present the results in acceptable written style and form.

    Applicants must submit the following materials:
    1. A completed application form;
    2. An official copy of the applicant’s undergraduate transcript(s) and transcripts of all post-secondary educational institutions the applicant has attended;
    3. Names and addresses of three references, one of whom should be familiar with the applicant’s work or professional or volunteer service;
    4. A tentative proposal for a program of study which can be discussed in advance with a member of the faculty;
    5. Other supporting materials, such as a biographical sketch or professional resume, which aid the faculty in evaluating the student’s qualifications.

    Admission Procedure
    Initially, application materials will be reviewed by the Program Administrator. Students whose credentials receive a favorable review may be invited for an interview. The results of the preliminary review of the application as well as the interview will be forwarded to the faculty who will make the final admissions decision.

    If the faculty’s review of an applicant’s credentials is favorable, the student will be admitted to the next available Initial Study.

    Advanced Standing
    In some cases, applicants who have completed graduate level work either at Hofstra University or at another accredited institution may apply some of this work towards their Master of Arts degree at New College. In its review of the Master’s Degree Plan, the Core Faculty may recommend to the Dean of New College a modified set of learning contracts which will take into account previous successful graduate work.

    Requests for Advanced Standing are made in the Master’s Degree Plan and must be accompanied by an official transcript of previous graduate work as well as a statement of its relevance to the Degree Plan. Students must demonstrate the relevance of their work during the Initial Study. The award of Advanced Standing is limited to one learning contract.

    Eligibility for Advanced Standing
    Those seeking advanced standing must satisfy the following criteria:

    1. Students who have completed graduate level work either at Hofstra University or another accredited institution may seek to apply a maximum of 12 semester hours of this work towards one learning contract only among the components leading to the Master of Arts degree at New College;
    2. Grades of B or better must have been awarded for the courses that are to be applied to the Master of Arts Degree at New College;
    3. All advanced standing credits applied toward the New College Master’s Degree normally must have been earned within a period of five years preceding the granting of the Master of Arts degree by New College;
    4. The credits must not have been applied to any other degree;
    5. Credits and courses must be related to the student’s MAP emphasis as demonstrated in the approved MAP Degree Plan.

    Other Learning and Life Experience
    Other learning and “life experience” are of interest and relevance in determining admission to the Master of Arts Program at New College. Experiential learning may be employed in designing a student’s individualized curriculum and in estimating the amount of time needed to satisfy the various learning components. However, “life experience,” experiential learning and non-accredited study cannot be applied directly to satisfy degree requirements.

    Registration and Student Status
    Registration
    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 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.

    Extensions
    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 (see New College Adviser.)

    The Master of Arts Program reserves the right to charge an emendation fee, usually $200, for such extensions.

    Withdrawal
    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 Core Faculty 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
    Evaluation
    Each of the five learning components in the program is graded on a Pass/Fail basis. In addition, upon completion of each component, the Supervisor(s) prepare(s) a statement discussing the quality of the student’s work.

    A grade of Incomplete (INC) may be awarded if additional time is needed to complete a learning component. This grade, if not resolved, may be converted to NCr (No Credit) at the end of the following eight-week session. Components may be extended by formal written request to the Program Administrator’s office during the period of INC.

    Students may elect an NCr (No Credit) grade if they no longer wish to continue a learning component. The election of the NCr grade may jeopardize continuance in the New College Master of Arts Program.

    The temporary designation of Pr (Progress) on a student’s record indicates that the approved duration of the contract was longer than one session.

    Academic Standards and Dismissal
    Students in the Master of Arts Program at New College are expected to demonstrate intellectual rigor, scholarly integrity, personal responsibility and professional commitment throughout all their work leading to the Master of Arts degree.

    Students not demonstrating both promise and acceptable progress in the Program may be dismissed (or placed on leave of absence for a specific term) by recommendation of the Core Faculty to the Dean of New College. Students dismissed from the Program (or placed on leave of absence) by the Core Faculty and Dean of New College will be informed by letter. The letter will specify both the reasons for dismissal (or placement on leave of absence) and the appeal procedure.

    1. The first appeal is directed to the faculty through a letter in which the student addresses the reasons for dismissal (or placement on leave of absence).
    2. If the appeal is denied by the faculty, a second appeal may be submitted, again by letter, directed to the Dean of New College.
    3. If the second appeal is denied, the student may make a third appeal, to the Provost’s office of Hofstra University in accordance with University procedures.

    Transcripts and Records
    Transcripts
    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 Academic Records Office: Memorial Hall, Hofstra University, Hempstead, New York 11549.

    Degree Requirements (in Detail)
    The Initial Study— MAP 200
    The Initial Study is the first of five components in the Master of Arts Program in Interdisciplinary Studies at New College. It is a structured seminar, usually consisting of twelve class meetings during a sixteen-week semester.

    The Initial Study fulfills several functions not specifically addressed by subsequent components of the Master of Arts Program. First, it provides a community for scholars-in-the-making necessary because the rest of the Program is individualized. Attendance at all of the Initial Study meetings is required. Second, it provides an opportunity for students to discover any weaknesses in their academic skills before undertaking the learning contracts. Until the Initial Study has been completed, neither the instructor nor the student can be certain that the candidate is ready to proceed in the Master of Arts Program.

    During the Initial Study, students are expected to satisfactorily complete several short papers and four major products:
      • A research paper and abstract
      • A Master’s Degree Plan (a tentative outline of three contracts and the Master’s Thesis)
      • A learning contract proposal (a detailed description of the first Learning Contract)
      • An annotated bibliography for the entire program as outlined in the Degree Plan.

      These four items are described below.
      1. Initial Study Research Paper
        A major requirement of the Initial Study is the library research paper which demonstrates the student’s ability to conduct library research, to organize it, to express it effectively and to document it correctly. It may also reveal those academic skills which need improvement. The student chooses the topic of the research paper, subject to the approval of the Initial Study Supervisor. 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 interesting. Along with the research paper, the student submits an abstract, a concise description of the paper (200-300 words).
      2. The Master’s Degree Plan
        The Master’s Degree Plan is a comprehensive description of the student’s individual program at New College. It consists of a statement of the overall topic, a brief description of each of the three learning contracts and the Master’s Thesis, 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 Degree Plan is reviewed by the Core Faculty 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 Core Faculty’s approval of the Degree Plan or of required revisions.

        As students progress in the Program, they may discover lines of study more appropriate than proposed in the approved Degree Plan. These students may submit a revised Plan for review by the Core Faculty. If a revised Plan is not approved, the student may continue with the original Plan or substitute a modification of the revised Plan for evaluation. Since it often happens that students modify their plans for the second and third Contracts as they progress through the Program, the summary statements of these contracts included in the Plan are expected to be brief.
      3. The First Learning Contract Proposal
        The first learning contract proposal includes: its subject, the mode of study anticipated, its relevance to the library research paper of the Initial Study and to the subsequent learning contracts and the Thesis, descriptions of the proposed schedule and of the type of supervision required. The student may also suggest a particular Supervisor. Final decisions concerning supervision and other aspects of the contract are made by the Core Faculty.
      4. The Annotated Bibliography
        The annotated bibliography is a list of the sources of information (books, articles, government documents, etc.) on which students expect to rely as they advance in the Program. Students should provide, for items listed in the bibliography, brief comments indicating scope, relevance and anticipated value to the study.

      The Learning Contracts: MAP 201, 202, 203
      The learning contract is the chief mode of study in pursuit of the Master’s Degree. Each contract must have a specific focus or topic, and the three contracts must be clearly related to each other and to the theme of the student’s plan of study and Thesis. The contractual study may take or combine several forms: library research, laboratory research, field research, apprenticeship, internship, course attendance, or studio work. Whatever the manner of study, some form of written report, chiefly analytical and substantive, must be submitted for evaluation. Before undertaking the work involved in a contract, the student must submit to the faculty a contract proposal (the first contract proposal being prepared under the guidance of the Initial Study Supervisor).

      The Contract Proposal
      The Contract Proposal contains the following elements:
      1. Purpose – A description of the topic with a clear indication of the goals of the study, its scope and its interdisciplinary character.
      2. 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.
      3. Preparation – A review of the student’s preparation for undertaking the study (e.g., through prior study or work experience).
      4. Outline – An outline of the anticipated major divisions and subdivisions of the study.
      5. Function – A statement of the manner in which the learning contract contributes to the fulfillment of the Master’s Degree Plan.
      6. Time Estimate – The anticipated length of time needed to complete the learning contract. Units of time should be in keeping with the New College calendar composed of eight-week sessions. Students who require additional time may apply in writing for an extension.
      7. Annotated Bibliography – A list of articles, books, records and other documents which 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. For the first contract, the majority, if not all, of the student’s sources will be from the original Master’s Plan annotated bibliography. As research continues, additional sources will be added.
      8. Supervision – Supervisors are normally drawn from the Hofstra University faculty. Upon approval of a contract proposal, if the sudent has not suggested an appropriate Supervisor, one will be assigned by the MAP office. The student then confers with this Supervisor and, if the two agree, the contract is implemented.

      Evaluation of the Contract Proposal
      After reviewing the contract proposal, the faculty notifies the student in writing that the learning contract has been approved, not approved, or approved conditionally, pending revisions. When notified of approval, the student registers for the contract through the Program Administrator’s Office. Students should allow approximately one month prior to the desired registration period for review of the Proposal.

      Evaluation of the Learning Contract
      A learning contract is considered satisfactorily completed when student, Supervisor and MAP office 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 preparation of two documents: the Supervisor’s evaluation of the student’s performance and the student’s contract abstract. This abstract, not to be longer than one typewritten page, should include the following:

      The subject of the project: theme, hypothesis or problem;
      The goal of the project;
      The results of the learning contract research;
      The relationship of the project to the next contract.

      An additional copy of the learning contract paper, the abstract for that paper and the Supervisor’s evaluation are submitted
      to, and kept on file in, the Master of Arts Program Administrator’s Office.

      The Master’s Thesis Proposal and Thesis: MAP 204, 205

      Standards
      Any student who has successfully completed the three Learning Contracts has acquired the tools and skills necessary for success in the Thesis. All work is to be fully documented in a manner consistent with the standards of The New College Writing Program Manual.

      It is a source of pride to our Faculty and Alumni that more than a few of our students’ Theses have been published. While publication is not required, it is a desirable outcome of the extensive and intensive efforts required for the Thesis.

      For specific information, see the Program Administrator.

      The Thesis Proposal
      The Thesis Proposal contains the following elements:
      1. Purpose - Generally, the Thesis should represent an interdisciplinary integration of the theme of the candidate’s previous contracts. It is much to be desired that the Thesis will: 1) make a persuasive case for a proposition (one which 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 library materials using well-rehearsed skills. In testing an hypothesis, appropriate research methodology must be followed including adherence to appropriate ethical standards.
      2. 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 proposal can be prepared with the help of the supervisor of the third contract. The proposal is reviewed by the Program office which will help the candidate to identify members of the Thesis Committee. If the student proposes a Thesis Supervisor who is not a member of the Hofstra faculty, his or her professional resume must be submitted for approval. The Thesis Committee will consist of at least three people. One, the Thesis Adviser, will take primary responsibility for guiding and over-seeing the candidate’s work. It will be his or her responsibility to suggest sources, to discuss and evaluate the work as it progresses, to encourage the timid and/or to restrain the excessively ambitious. Since its integrative nature virtually guarantees that the Thesis will have an inter- or multidisciplinary character, two readers will be assigned to assist with perspectives from their discipline(s).
      3. 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.
      4. 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 contributed to the Thesis. Further, the ways in which the Thesis may be regarded as the culmination of the Degree Plan must be discussed. This should be demonstrated by means of abstracts of the prior components of the program.
      5. Outline - An outline of the anticipated Thesis is required showing the likely major divisions and subdivisions of the study.
      6. Time Estimate - Anticipate the length of time required for the completion of the Thesis. The minimum time required for completion of the Thesis is two New College sessions (one semester); the maximum time does not usually exceed four New College sessions (an academic year).
      7. Evaluation - When the Thesis Supervisor and any assigned reader 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. While the term suggests that some sort of attack is to be launched against the work or even its author, the reality is that a discussion will take place.
      8. It is often helpful for the student to remember that at least one faculty member has approved the work in principle. While other committee members may have questions and even objections, it is most unlikely that the oral defense will be the occasion at which the Thesis is rejected. If the student followed the guidance of the Thesis adviser closely and properly, rejection by the Committee should be quite rare. It sometimes happens that the Thesis is accepted as submitted, the Committee being unable to suggest any way in which the work requires improvement. This does not happen very often. More likely, certain revisions will be required as the four discussants review the work in a spirit of constructive criticism. These revisions are classed as:
      9. *”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 done acceptably.
      10. Publication - When the Thesis has been approved by the Thesis Committee and by the Core Faculty, it is bound according to requirements established by the University’s Axinn Library. Degree candidates must deliver an original and at least three copies to be bound on 20-pound bond paper, free of corrections of any kind and with margins of 1.5 inches to the left and one inch margins at top, bottom and right. The title page, whose form can be found in the MAP addendum, is to be signed where indicated by the three Thesis Committee members. The original and one copy remain in the Library’s collection. One copy will be kept in the collection of the Master of Arts Program Administrator’s Office. A third copy will be given to the student. While it is not required, some students choose to give an additional copy to the Thesis Adviser, as well. The Master’s Degree will not be awarded until these requirements are met. Failure to complete all Thesis mechanics will result in delays in degree conferral.

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