This is an archive of the 2019-2020 University Catalog.
To access the most recent version, Please visit

This is an archive of the 2019-2020 University Catalog.
To access the most recent version, please visit


Program: M.A., Humanities

Program Description

The master degree in Humanities is designed for midcareer professionals and other lifelong learners who are interested in the nature and foundations of ideas, are curious about different worldviews and their origins, and seek to understand these through the lenses provided by the range of disciplinary fields in the humanities. We live in a society in which competing worldviews bombard us, and given the current state of the world, there is an urgent need for adults to reflect critically on their own worldviews, as well to recognize and understand the worldviews of others.

Thus, it is a central goal of the program to guide students through critical reading, discussions and reflection regarding both older and more contemporary treatments of ideas, values and worldviews to appreciate how these underlie current thinking—evident in practice and policy—across areas of our lives. Students in the cohorts will share their perspectives, their thinking and their developing insights through research, discussion and writing.

The program is interdisciplinary, as are the humanities. Its treatments address and include—explicitly or implicitly—all disciplines represented in the various departments and programs in the College of Humanities.

This program is administered through The Tseng College. It is entirely funded by student fees and is offered in the cohort format.

Program Requirements

A. Requirements for Admission

To be admitted to the Humanities Master of Arts, students must meet the following minimum requirements:

  1. Have a baccalaureate degree in any major from an accredited university or college.
  2. Have been in good standing at the last institution attended.
  3. Have at least a 2.5 grade point average in the last 60 semester/90 quarter units attempted, independent of when the baccalaureate degree was granted.
  4. Meet all requirements for CSUN graduate admission.
  5. Earn a passing grade on the Upper Division Writing Proficiency Exam (UDWPE). Students who completed the UDWPE requirement at CSUN or another CSU campus do not have to repeat it.
  6. International applicants must submit an IELTS score of at least 6.5 or a TOEFL score of 550 or above (paper-based), 79 or above (Internet) or 213 or above (computer). Students who did not attend a college or university in which English was the primary language of instruction must demonstrate English language competence on the TOEFL or IELTS.
  7. Submit a resume.
  8. Submit a one-page statement of purpose for entry into the Humanities Master of Arts Program.
  9. Submit a recent writing sample.
  10. Participate in an interview with the program coordinator of the Humanities Master of Arts Program and/or faculty admissions committee.

Students who want to enroll in the University must follow the instructions supplied by the Office of Admissions and Records in the Admissions section of this Catalog. Once applications are received, they will be evaluated by the Office of Admissions and Records, and students will be advised whether or not they have been accepted into the University.

Application to the Department

The applications of students will be reviewed by the program coordinator of the Master of Arts Degree in Humanities to determine if minimum qualifications are met for entry into the program. Students who meet University requirements will be interviewed for the Humanities Master of Arts. Students will be admitted as either conditionally classified or classified graduate students.

B. Conditionally Classified Status

Students who do not meet all requirements may, nevertheless, be accepted as conditionally classified students, subject to various University and college requirements for classified status. Students who are admitted conditionally must achieve full classified standing prior to completing more than 12 units of graduate coursework appearing in the formal program. (No more than 12 units of work taken prior to attaining fully classified status will be applied to the Master of Arts in Humanities program.)

C. Classified Status

To meet the minimum requirements for classified status, students must fulfill two of the following:

  1. Attain a 3.0 GPA or higher in all work undertaken since admission to the program.
  2. Hold a graduate degree from an accredited institution.
  3. Pass the UDWPE if the student has not passed it at CSUN or another CSU.

D. Requirements for the Degree

1. Required Courses (32 units)

HUMA 501 The Gateway to Humanities (3)
HUMA 510 The Sacred (3)
HUMA 520 The Self: Body and Mind (3)
HUMA 530 The Family and Life Cycle (3)
HUMA 600 Identity, Meaning and Culture (3)
HUMA 610 Space, Place and Geography: Mental Mapping (3)
HUMA 620 Science and Magic (3)
HUMA 630 Nation and Empire, Law and Government (3)
HUMA 640 Norms and Knowledge (3)
HUMA 650 Capstone: The Good Life (3)
HUMA 696A Directed Comprehensive Studies (1)
HUMA 696B Directed Comprehensive Studies (1)

2. Culminating Experience (1 unit)

HUMA 697 Comprehensive Exam (1)

Total Units Required for the M.A. Degree: 33


Master of Arts in Humanities
Academic Director: Sheena Malhotra
Jerome Richfield (JR) 340C
(818) 677-7217

Staff: Yvonne Carrillo
(818) 677-7646

Staff: Amy Lasser
(818) 677-7707

Student Learning Outcomes

  1. Understand the origins and transformations of worldviews (“big ideas”) as they move through different social, historical and cultural contexts.
  2. Discover how ideas and values from the past inform our present expectations, practices and policies, both explicitly and implicitly.
  3. Analyze and develop the skills to “step out of” one’s worldview and question assumptions about self, society and others.
  4. Refine skills in critical thinking, reading, speaking and writing across a variety of disciplines in the liberal arts.
  5. Refine the skills of close, context-sensitive reading that makes visible the form, structure and rhetorical function of texts and artifacts in a variety of genres and media.
  6. Develop the skills to apply the theory and methodology appropriate to the liberal arts.