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Master of Arts: Philosophy of History or Political Theory
William Dean, Ph.D., Coordinator
Designed through the Department of History and Political Science, this program is intended to meet the educational goals of a broad range of baccalaureate students. This includes middle or high school history or social science teachers and other graduates pursuing a career in politics, business, or higher education. For teachers, this degree offers a superior content degree because it offers foundational help throughout the secondary social science curriculum. For professionals in other careers, this unique degree gives deep insights into why civilizations developed as they have, by focusing on the institutions and ideas that were carriers of ultimate meaning. While not designed for pre-doctoral students in particular, it would certainly enhance the possibilities of acceptance into doctoral programs because it exceeds admissions expectations common in doctoral programs in North America.
The program features two research tracks: Philosophy of History and Political Theory. Students take the same courses, but the structure and content of the research projects connected with each course, as well as the thesis or thesis project, focus on one of the two tracks. Courses are taught by both history and political science faculty at Olivet Nazarene University. Course topics are arranged in a loosely chronological order and address topics from the ancient Greeks and Romans to the current role of the United States in world affairs. One faculty member serves only as Research Director and serves as both adviser and critic in guiding students throughout the program in choosing and formulating their research topics. The goal is that students will be building background and content for their theses or thesis projects from their first course, so that when coursework is completed, they will have substantial amounts of thesis research already in hand.
The structure of the program assumes that students are working full time, with additional family and church responsibilities. To achieve the goal of a rigorous academic experience, courses are focused on the development of intellectual skills in analysis, argumentations, clear and cogent written and oral expression. Required reading averages about 2000 pages per course and exposes the students to a wide range of perspectives, primary sources, and secondary literature. The guidance and focus provided by the format of the program ensure both real-world feasibility and academic integrity.
The program attempts to draw the best from both the online and classroom educational dynamics. Most of the day-to-day coursework is online. However, five times during the program students come to campus for two-day conferences: first for orientation at the beginning, then at the mid-point of each semester thereafter. These campus conferences provide face-to-face interaction, opportunities for student presentations, guest lectures, and extended discussions with research advisers. Housing and transportation are not included in the program fee, but there are no additional charges for the conferences.
HIST/PSCI 600 – Historiographical Foundations
601 – Ancient Greek and Roman Thought
602 – The Medieval European Experience
603 – The European Enlightenment
604 – Postmodernism
605 – Seminar in Current Christian Thought
606 – The American Experience
607 – America in the World
608 – Seminar