Apr 20, 2024  
2012-2013 CU Denver Catalog 
2012-2013 CU Denver Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Humanities MH

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►  Graduate School Rules  apply to this program


Requirements for Admission

In addition to the general requirements of the Graduate School governing acceptance to a master’s degree program, applicants must submit the following:

  • evidence of a bachelor’s degree
  • two official copies of all transcripts, with an overall GPA of at least 3.0 out of 4.0
  • a writing sample
  • three letters of recommendation (at least two from academic sources)
  • appropriate undergraduate training or professional background, or indicators that supply evidence of ability to pursue the MH degree
  • a typed statement specifying the goal of advanced study in the humanities expressed in clear, correct and effective English
  • standardized test scores are not required, but will be considered if submitted

After meeting all other requirements for admission, applicants may be required to have an interview to discuss their interest in the program and their plans for study. For out-of-state applicants, an appropriate substitute for the interview may be determined by the director.

Provisional admission:

Applicants may be admitted as provisional-status graduate students if their complete record indicates a high probability of success.

Nondegree students:

Potential applicants may take graduate-level courses as nondegree students (unclassified student with a bachelor’s degree) if they:

  1. Wish to strengthen their record in order to demonstrate that they can successfully complete courses in the program
  2. Wish to start courses in the program prior to completing their application.

Up to 12 semester hours of graduate-level work taken as a nondegree student may be accepted by the program once a student has been admitted to the program (the 12-hour limit also includes graduate work from another university). For further information on nondegree graduate student status, see the Information for Graduate Students  section of this catalog.

International Students:

International students must also meet CU Denver requirements for international admission. See the Information for International Students  section of this catalog or call 303-315-2230 for further information.


Degree Requirements

The Master of Humanities (MH) program offers graduate-level interdisciplinary studies through a 36-credit-hour degree plan. Students may pursue a general MH degree or focus their studies and course work on one of two tracks: philosophy and theory OR visual studies. Each option is detailed below.

All courses credited toward the MH degree must be taken at CU Denver over a period not exceeding five years (a maximum of 12 graduate semester hours may be transferred from other institutions subject to the MH director’s approval). At least a B average (3.0) must be maintained in all graduate-level course work for the degree. A grade of C+ or below will not be counted toward the degree. Each student’s program is supervised by a faculty advisor. All independent study, project and thesis contracts must be approved in advance by one of the program directors. A total of two independent study courses and two 4000-level undergraduate courses may count toward the degree. Only one graduate-level online course (up to 3 hours) may be taken toward the degree. The rest must be 5000-level or above courses offered through various departments. All students must pass an oral comprehensive exam in order to graduate.

General Master of Humanities Degree

Students pursuing the general MH degree have the opportunity to fashion a course of study based on their individual interests and goals. Students complete three required core courses and, in consultation with a faculty advisor, choose two or three academic disciplines as areas of concentration. Students who select a thesis (6 semester hours) will submit a thesis proposal after completing 30 hours of course work. In the case of a project (3 semester hours), students will submit a project proposal after 33 hours. All students culminate with the completion of a final project or thesis and an oral exam defense of the final work.


Three interdisciplinary seminars form the core course work for the MH degree:

  • (Must be taken during the first year of entrance into the program. Offered fall only.)

    Mid-Program Seminar, an interdisciplinary seminar which is approved for the student’s program by the program director (note that the Mid-Program Seminar must have a HUMN prefix).


  •      (A final seminar that provides background reading, theory and research approaches for students to develop a thesis or project; student must have completed at least 24 hours of course work and must register for the course via a schedule adjustment form with instructor approval. Offered spring only.)

    Total: 9 Hours


Additionally, students must complete a total of 21-24 semester hours comprising a coherent selection of courses from a variety of disciplines. All courses for the self-structured portion of the program must be selected with the approval of the MH program director.

A total of two independent study courses and two 4000-level undergraduate courses taken when enrolled in the program may count toward the degree. All independent study contracts must be approved by the program director. The remaining course work must be 5000-level or above courses offered through various departments.

Students completing a project take 24 hours of electives, while thesis students complete 21 hours of electives.

          Total: 21-24 Hours

Thesis or Project

A thesis (6 semester hours) or a final project (3 semester hours), which must include a substantial scholarly paper and may include a creative exercise involving at least two disciplines. In order to proceed with a thesis or project, all students must submit to the program a proposal to be approved by three faculty members of the committee and the program director.

Oral Exam

An oral exam before a committee of three faculty members in order to graduate.

General MH Degree Total: 36 Hours



Students may also focus in one of the new formal tracks in the Master of Humanities program: philosophy and theory or visual studies. In addition to the three MH core required courses, students must fulfill the minimum track requirements and must complete a total of 36 credit hours in order to complete the degree. These are detailed in the track descriptions that follow:

Philosophy and Theory Track

The philosophy and theory track in the Master of Humanities degree program offers students an interdisciplinary approach to studying philosophy, critical theory and related theories of criticism and analysis in various humanities disciplines. Students who pursue this concentration may focus their course work variously in philosophy, social theory, literary theory and criticism, cultural criticism, intellectual history and political theory. In this track, students develop analytic skills that allow them to integrate knowledge and modes of thinking that reflect the demands of critical inquiry.  

By combining philosophical theory and critical thinking in one interdisciplinary track, students will be prepared to pursue advanced academic or professional degrees, secondary and higher education teaching, careers in art and literature, criticism, law, media and other careers with demand for critical thinking.

Beyond the required core MH courses (9 hours), a minimum of 21 credit hours in philosophy/theory-related work must be completed. This must include one required methodology course to be determined with the Master of Humanities advisor; 12-15 credit hours of philosophy/theory-related courses; and 3-6 hours of project or thesis work on a philosophy/theory-related topic.


          Required Core MH Courses

Visual Studies Track

The visual studies track in the Master of Humanities program offers students focused studies in disciplines that apply critical analysis to our visual world, such as art history, museum studies, film studies, new media studies and cultural studies. In a world whose work forces and creative citizenry are focused on the growth and use of visual technologies, visual literacy with sophisticated analytic skills is critical. Successful engagement with an image-driven and technological society necessitates an understanding of the use and encoding of imagery. The visual studies track provides students with the critical tools for engaging with advanced history, concepts and philosophies especially centered on visual culture, art history, visual communication studies, film studies and new media studies.

Areas of application for such studies include museum and cultural institutions, curatorial and research positions, arts administration, non-profit community-based organizations, advertising, promotion and marketing. The program is likewise relevant for students interested in pursuing doctoral work in related fields. Upon graduation, students will be prepared to enter the job market immediately, or they may use this track as a steppingstone toward a Ph.D. or another advanced degree.

Beyond the required core MH courses (9 hours), a minimum of 21 credit hours in visual studies-related work must be completed. This includes one 3-credit methodology course in visual studies, and 12-15 credit hours of visual studies-related courses; and 3-6 hours of project or thesis work on a visual studies-related topic.


Required Core MH Courses

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