The MAIS Program prepares students to answer big questions and solve complex problems by integrating insights and approaches from multiple disciplines. Students learn to explain the nature of interdisciplinary inquiry and integration. They examine the ways in which scholars inquire in several disciplines. They choose a specific research question, and they integrate the approaches and insights of scholars from two chosen disciplines to answer the research question. The final product is a professional capstone paper in which students answer their chosen question through research in the two disciplines and the integration of scholarship from the two disciplines. Students are guided through the capstone proposal and capstone writing process by two advisors, one from each chosen discipline, and by the capstone proposal development and capstone course instructor.

Degree Requirements

To complete the Master of Arts degree, students are required to complete a total of 30 graduate credit hours and to fulfill the specific course and writing requirements for the program. Required courses include a sequence of two courses worth three credit hours each that address the nature of interdisciplinary research and the nature of disciplinary inquiry. In addition to these two courses, students must complete no fewer than five courses in specific disciplines, with each course worth three credit hours. Students must then complete a capstone proposal development course worth three credit hours and a capstone course worth six credit hours. In the capstone proposal development course, students write the proposal for the capstone project under the guidance of two advisors and the course instructor. Students submit the capstone proposal for approval by the MOC. Students are admitted to the capstone course only after the capstone proposal has been approved by the MOC. In the capstone course, students research and write the final capstone under the guidance of two advisors and the course instructor. The final capstone is evaluated by the two advisors and by an outside reader. Once the capstone is approved, the student is required to present the capstone orally to the Hiram College community and the public.

A student may replace a disciplinary course with an independent study with the approval of the program directors. Students may do a maximum of two independent studies. Generally, students may transfer no more than three graduate credit hours into the program with the approval of transfer credits by the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs. Students who wish to transfer credits into the program must provide a syllabus for each course that the student wishes to transfer into the program for credit.

Required Courses
MAIS 52800SEM: (This course in development will replace MAIS 57100 and MAIS 57200)3
INTERDISCIPLINARY INQUIRY
INTERDISCIPLINARY RESEARCH
MAIS 57300METHODS+APPROACHES DISCIPLINES3
Additional Coursework
Select five Disciplinary Inquiry Courses (various disciplines)15
MAIS 55790PROPOSAL DEVELOPMENT3
MAIS 55800CAPSTONE3
MAIS 55820CAPSTONE II3
Total Hours30

Student Objectives

Required 2-course Introductory Sequence (6 credit hours)

MAIS 52800:  Interdisciplinary Inquiry, Theory, and Practice (3 credit hours)

This course (in development) will combine and replace the following two courses previously offered in the MAIS introductory course sequence:  MAIS 57100 and MAIS 57200.

MAIS 57100: Interdisciplinary Inquiry (3 credit hours)

Students in this course will explore the nature and process of interdisciplinary inquiry. Students will consider the value and uses of interdisciplinary inquiry in answering significant questions. Students will explore the approaches of scholars in different disciplines and will examine the ways in which scholarship from different disciplines can be integrated to answer significant questions and yield new knowledge.

Student Objectives:
  • Explain the meaning and significance of interdisciplinary inquiry.
  • Describe the process of interdisciplinary inquiry.
  • Evaluate examples of interdisciplinary scholarship.
  • Explain how scholars have integrated insights from two or more disciplines to answer a research question.
  • Develop a tentative capstone topic idea.
MAIS 57200: Interdisciplinary Research (3 credit hours)

Students in this course will plan and complete a research project that requires the analysis of scholarship in two disciplines and the integration of insights from these two disciplines to answer a significant question. Pre-requisite: MAIS 57100 Interdisciplinary inquiry.

Student Objectives:
  • Develop an appropriate interdisciplinary research question of significance.
  • Do a literature search in two disciplines on the research question.
  • Write a critical literature review of sources in the two disciplines on the research question.
  • Write a paper answering the research question that integrates supporting scholarly evidence from two disciplines.
  • Further refine the tentative capstone project idea.

MAIS 57300: Methods and Approaches of Disciplines (3 credit hours)

This course will expose students a particular discipline or related disciplines and explore the particular disciplinary perspective and insights that the disciplinary perspective tends to produce. Students will examine the various assumptions and theories of the discipline, phenomena the discipline generally engages, and methods for producing and evaluating discipline related insights.

Student Objectives:
  • Discern the assumptions of scholars in different disciplines.
  • Describe the methodologies used by scholars in different disciplines.
  • Compare and contrast the methodologies used by scholars in different disciplines.
  • Do a literature search in two disciplines on a question or topic of significance.
  • Prepare an annotated bibliography of sources in two disciplines on the question or topic chosen.
  • Prepare a critical literature review of sources in two disciplines on the question or topic chosen.

Additional Coursework (15 credit hours)

In addition to the required 2-course sequence, students must take five disciplinary inquiry courses in various disciplines.

MAIS 5xxxx: Disciplinary Inquiry Courses (various disciplines; 3 credit hours each)

These courses require students to describe, explain, and evaluate the assumptions, approaches, and research methods of scholars in various disciplines.

Student Objectives:
  • Explain the assumptions of scholars in the particular discipline under study.
  • Describe the methodologies of scholars in the disciplinary family under study, e.g. social sciences or humanities.
  • Explore a specific topic through the lens of a particular discipline.
  • Write a critical essay on an aspect of the course topic under study.

Capstone Coursework (9 credit hours)

Students who are ready to work on the capstone must take the capstone proposal development course followed by the capstone course.

MAIS 55790: Capstone Proposal Development (3 credit hours)

In their penultimate term, students who have at least a 3.0 cumulative grade point average will register for the proposal development course. In this course, the student will work with individual faculty advisors and with the course instructor to plan, research, and write the capstone proposal. The course instructor and fellow students will provide support, feedback and guidance to each student during the writing process. The capstone proposal must be submitted to and approved by the MAIS Oversight Council before the student will be allowed to register for the capstone course. The capstone proposal development course is taken on a Pass/No Credit basis. Students must have approval from the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs prior to enrolling in the capstone proposal development course. For further details, see the Capstone Guidelines.

Student Objectives:
  • Choose and refine the proposed capstone research question.
  • Choose the two disciplines whose insights the student will use to answer the proposed research question.
  • Prepare an annotated bibliography of relevant sources in the two chosen disciplines.
  • Prepare a critical preliminary literature review of relevant sources in the two chosen disciplines.
  • Write the capstone proposal to present to the MAIS Oversight Council.

MAIS 55800 and 55820: Capstone I and II (3 credit hours each)

Students whose capstone proposals have been approved by the MOC will register for the capstone course. In this course, the student will continue to work with individual faculty advisors and with the course instructor to research and write the capstone. The course instructor and fellow students will provide support, feedback and guidance to each student during the writing process. Students will also reflect on and assess their experiences with interdisciplinary inquiry and research. This course is taken pass/no credit. For further details, see the Capstone Guidelines.

Student Objectives:
  • Use research and interdisciplinary integration in writing the complete capstone paper.
  • Reflect on the cognitive and affective experience of doing interdisciplinary work.
  • Interpret individual experience in the MAIS Program holistically and as it relates to individual goals.
  • Prepare the oral presentation of the capstone to the community.