Curriculum

Main page content

General Degree Option

The General Degree Option is a sustained investigation of factors that critically shape actions, procedures and outcomes. These factors provide foundations for knowledge and action in the public sphere. This degree option is well-suited for entry into or advancement in community relations, public agency management, community organizing, facilitation, consumer advocacy, policy and/or decision-making, political action and governmental relations.

Student Learning Objectives

Upon completion of the Master's degree in Interdisciplinary Studies, students pursuing the General Option will be able to:

  • Recognize how evidence can be justified, generated, evaluated and used with varying degrees of validity within diverse frames of applicability;
  • Explain the ways in which values are implicitly or explicitly present in every arena socially deemed to be problematic;
  • Get experience facilitating communication, negotiations or trade-offs among and across diverse value frames;
  • Demonstrate how alternative paradigms or models condition our knowledge of the world and how our choice of potential responses connects to how we perceive things to be organized;
  • Evaluate the impact of culture and history on the way certain phenomena come to be defined in the public arena as problems, and how they are variously imagined to be caused or solved in relation to diverse professional and disciplinary claims of ownership over them.

Core Requirements

Methods Requirements

Thesis/Degree Project Requirements

Electives

  • Courses supporting student research projects or theses (10 credits)

 

Community and Social Change Option

The Community and Social Change Degree Option focuses on the integration of theory and practice to achieve economic, racial, gender and social justice through the transformation of local communities. This degree option offers students the knowledge and the development of strategies and skills to improve the lives of those who, historically, are most vulnerable and have been marginalized. This track is especially relevant for students looking to acquire practical skills that will help them become community leaders, policy analysts and/or social justice practitioners.

Student Learning Objectives

Upon completion of the Master's degree in Interdisciplinary Studies, students pursuing the Community and Social Change Option will be able to:

  • Assess socially meaningful identities in a variety of cultural and critical contexts, and to communicate across social boundaries in a multicultural world;
  • Analyze and/or critique theories of race/ethnicity, social class, gender/sexuality and how they have been put into practice to improve the lives of the most vulnerable in the past and the present locally, nationally and/or globally;
  • Demonstrate comparative research and critical thinking skills for understanding the range of lived experiences in local and global communities and to understand how power operates in society;
  • Evaluate various analytical and/or rhetorical frameworks related to various areas of study within community studies, and relevant to the world of work, civic engagement and community development.

Core Requirements

Methods Requirements

Thesis/Degree Project Requirements

Electives

  • Courses supporting student research projects, theses or practicums (10 credits from the Community and Social Change Electives List)

 

Nonprofit Studies Degree Option

The Nonprofit Studies Degree Option integrates theory and research regarding organizational development; analyzes the social, cultural, economic and creative foundations of cultural management and policy; introduces the history, philosophy, organization, administration and practice of nonprofit organizations; and provides an overview of the best practices, systems and management principles underlying successful fundraising programs. This option requires students to develop a project during the internship. Students produce a demonstrable example of expertise and interest, such as a personnel manual, strategic plan or annual fund development plan.

Student Learning Objectives

Upon completion of the Master's degree in Interdisciplinary Studies, students pursuing the Nonprofit Studies Degree Option will be able to:

  • Demonstrate leadership skills and knowledge in topics such as management of human resources (both paid and volunteer), fundraising, program evaluation, fiscal management and governance in nonprofit organizations;
  • Design projects, programs and/or policies that address community issues;
  • Negotiate the inevitable political and economic realities of providing social benefit to communities;
  • Create outcome-based logic models that are required for foundation funding, with a special emphasis on the local/regional level.

Core Requirements

Methods Requirements

Two of the following (10 credits total):

Practicum

Electives

10 credits of nonprofit electives to be determined in conjunction with your Nonprofit Studies committee.

Courses may be supportive of student research projects or theses.

 

Culminating Experience

Students earning an MAIS degree have a variety of options to demonstrate learning through the culminating experiences. Students earning the General Degree or the Community and Social Change Option can do either a thesis or a project. Those working towards the Nonprofit Option are required to do a practicum but may also write a thesis. All options provide students an opportunity to demonstrate their ability to apply interdisciplinary tools to a public problem and make a positive contribution in the world within their chosen areas of interest

Master’s Thesis

A thesis is a written scholarly inquiry on a topic of interest. A project provides students an opportunity to apply their learning and practice public action. 

As students get close to embarking on the thesis, project, or practicum, an advisory committee is developed through a collaborative process that includes the student, research supervisor(s), and the Director. The MAIS Director works with students to identify suitable committees to supervise the culminating experience. The committee often includes the research supervisor that the student has already worked with, but it is not required or expected. The committee Chair is officially assigned through registration codes when a student signs up for thesis credits. In addition, students take the MAIS Capstone course in their final year, which is taught in part as an advanced writing workshop that is guided by a faculty member dedicated to the program.

Students choosing the thesis option must write a proposal that explains the background on the public problem, argues for the significance of the research, defines the research questions and theoretical grounding, and outlines the methodological approach that will be employed to examine the problem. The proposal must be approved by the Thesis Committee and the Graduate Program Director before the student can register for thesis credits or enroll in the Capstone course.

To access previous MAIS theses and projects, please visit the UWT Digital Commons space.

Master’s Project

Projects can take many creative and practical forms, demonstrating public action, often through community engaged scholarship.

Examples of previous types of projects include:

  • Documentaries, Digital Stories, Oral Histories
  • Art Installations, Photography Exhibit, Museum Exhibitions
  • Literary Novel, Poetry Collection, Graphic Novel
  • Public Performance, Play
  • Community Event, Professional Conference
  • Educational Materials, Curriculum, Online Community Resources
  • Nonprofit Business Plan, Fundraiser

Students choosing the project option must write a proposal that explains the background on the public problem, argues for the significance of the project, defines the research questions and theoretical grounding, and outlines the deliverables of the problem. The proposal must be approved by the Project Committee and the Graduate Program Director before the student can register for project credits or enroll in the Capstone course. Students developing a project must prepare a written rationale to accompany the final project.

To access previous MAIS theses and projects, please visit the UWT Digital Commons space.

Practicum

Students taking the practicum are required to write a Scholarly/Practitioner Paper, which is due at the end of the internship. This is a scholarly paper based on a topic the student and instructor agree upon early in the internship.

Practitioner papers tend to follow these trajectories:

  • The student interns at a foundation and researches/writes about the role of this particular foundation and foundations in general.
  • The student who interns at an arts organization may choose to examine the impact of arts organizations on building civil society.