What is meant by “Interdisciplinary?”

We are committed to a model of interdisciplinarity that encourages dialogue across traditional academic boundaries. We accept the interconnectivity of knowledge without rejecting the academic divisions that aid in our understanding. The program offers grounding within a discipline and provides students with significant exposure to the concepts and principles from other disciplines. The MAIH offers core seminars (ENGL 600, HIST 600 and PHIL 600) in order to equip students with methods and insights from each discipline, and students are encouraged to develop their studies in ways that allow cross-over among disciplines. While our core humanities are English, History, and Philosophy, students interested in other areas of knowledge, such as religious studies, politics, international studies, gender studies or indigenous studies, to name a few, are encouraged to expand their formal and informal connection to other disciplines.

Rationale for this approach:

- All faculty members have expertise in traditional disciplines and keen interest in learning from other disciplines; some also have published in interdisciplinary fields of study. Although the "renaissance" scholar who can teach across the disciplines is a high ideal, this program allows professors to teach from the standpoint of their own disciplines and to draw out implications for other fields of study. The disciplinary homes of courses will be used as their designation (HIST/ENGL/PHIL).

- One of our intentions is to prepare students for continuing on to Ph.D. programs within their discipline, without limiting those students who wish to go on to Ph.D. programs in Interdisciplinary Studies.


What sorts of people are currently enrolled in the MAIH program?

We have been privileged to welcome a very diverse group of candidates to our program. Their ages range from the early 20's to midlife and beyond. Some have recently completed an undergraduate program while others have been in the work force for many years. A number are planning on applying for Ph.D. studies upon completion of the MAIH, some are current or former teachers and others are professionals in areas such as journalism, law, administration, policing, business, ministry, information technology, laboratory science, and social work.


May I enroll on a part-time basis?

Yes. The program is set up to accommodate both full time students and people who wish to complete the degree while working. To accommodate teachers and working professionals, a large number of the courses are offered in late afternoons and evenings during the regular academic semesters and, if demand requires, at least one core seminar is offered every July. Directed studies, which are one-to-one courses in a student’s area of interest supervised by a professor, offer learning opportunities for students who are at a distance or who need flexible coursework schedules. 


Must I finish the program within a set number of years?

No, we have not placed a strict time limit because of the varying needs and circumstances of our students. However, we do have a policy with respect to leaves of absence as follows:

Each semester a student who is not taking a course(s) must request in writing for a leave of absence to the director. This letter should include the date when the student expects to resume taking courses. Leaves of absence up to one year may be granted. A student may be granted a leave of absence twice; however, after that time a meeting with the director and stream coordinator would be required to discuss plans for continuation in the program.

This policy is not intended to remove flexibility for students but is designed to ensure that good communication occurs and that academic advising is sought.


Is it possible to complete the program in one year of study?

Well-prepared students who are highly motivated and can handle the heavy work load throughout the year, including the summer, and who carefully plan out a course of study in consultation with a supervisor/advisor, can complete the MA in a 12-month period.  Usually, course work would be completed during the Fall and Spring semesters and the major paper or applied project finished during the Summer. 


Is it possible to take courses in the summer?

Yes. We offer a several condensed summer courses starting in April and running through to August.   If there is sufficient enrolment demand we will offer one of the Core courses (ENGL 600/HIST 600/PHIL 600) on a rotating basis during the July summer session.  In addition, a number of faculty members are prepared to offer courses in the summer on a directed studies/distance basis.  Many students finish their major paper/thesis or applied project during the summer months. 


Can I take this program without coming on campus (by distant learning courses?)

We are committed to face-to-face and one-on-one learning opportunities so we prefer that students take many of their courses in residence.  However, a student may be able to study from a distance by joining an on-campus community of learning via Skype or Bluejeans. Furthermore, some summer sessions may be available to students who are unable to come on campus during the regular academic year.  Required Core courses (ENGL 600/HIST 600/PHIL 600) may be offered in the summer so that students at a distance from TWU can complete the degree with only minimal time spent on campus.  Directed studies can also be arranged to accommodate a student’s particular needs.


Does the MAIH prepare a student for Ph.D. studies in English, history or philosophy?

Yes. The specialized track prepares excellent students who have strong undergraduate preparation for entry into Ph.D. programs in Canada and elsewhere. A number of our grads have been admitted into Ph.D. programs at major Canadian, American and British universities, many with full funding. A significant number have received Canada Graduate Scholarships, the largest SSHRC grants available for doctoral students.  MAIH graduates who go on to Ph.D. programs tell us they feel well prepared to thrive at the next level and many excel and take leadership roles at their respective schools. 

The program requires sufficient course work and research in the specific disciplines to be the equivalent of a solid MA in that discipline. Students wishing to do doctoral studies are urged to come into the MAIH program with a major or an honours degree in the discipline in which they intend to do doctoral work. Students wishing to be admitted to the specialized track who are otherwise qualified but lack sufficient focus in that discipline will likely be required to take extra graduate courses in that discipline as “qualifying” studies. In all cases, students are encouraged to work closely with their advisor to maximize their opportunities for Ph.D. studies.


Is the program and degree fully approved?

Yes. The British Columbia Ministry of Advanced Education gave official approval of it in April of 2005, according to the procedure prescribed by the Degree Quality Assessment Board. We are gratified that the comments received from educators in response to the Ministry's posting of the program were positive.  In 2018, we completed an extensive review of the program as required by the BC Ministry of Advanced Education.  External, independent experts who reviewed the program commented that ““The MAIH is having a significant impact on the landscape of Canadian higher education. It is remarkable for its rigour, flexibility, and innovativeness … We are convinced this academically sound and dynamically innovative program has much to offer the Christian community, Canadian culture as a whole, and the broader international [community]” (External Program Reviewers, ’18).  


Is the program recognized for teacher salary upgrades?

Yes. As a fully accredited program, it is recognized for this purpose. The British Columbia Teachers Qualification Service has recognized the MAIH for the highest category on the salary scale. Educators are advised to ask their relevant authorities whether completion of the MAIH would move them up one or two categories on the scale. (In some jurisdictions, completion of part of the program would move the teacher up one category and completion of the MAIH degree would move them up an additional category).  Professional development can also include taking one of our Certificates, which recognize competency in specific themes that are informed by the Humanities. Certificates include one of the Core courses (English, History or Philosophy) and several additional courses that together form an expertise cluster.  Although you do not need to be enrolled in the MAIH program to take stand-alone certifications, a completed certificate or certificates can be used to build towards a full MA degree.


What are the advantages of an interdisciplinary program?

The three disciplines work together provide the student with a variety of perspective and approaches to some of the most important issues of our time. For example, an English student's understanding of literature in a particular era is significantly increased by studying the history of that period and the leading philosophical trends at the time. Or, a history student's ability to understand and critique various theoretical approaches to history is greatly strengthened by studying theories of interpretation (English) and philosophical approaches to knowledge.  Such a diverse approach to knowledge enhances self-awareness and encourages


If I don't have a major in one of the disciplines how can I prepare for entry?

Many of our students come from a variety of disciplines outside of English, History and Philosophy.  Most recently, candidates with BEds and BScs have transitioned to the Humanities through their studies in the MAIH, all the while maintaining a research interest in their original field of interest.  Contact the director who will evaluate your academic record and courses. Depending on your academic background, you may be able to enter the program directly or take some qualifying graduate courses to adequately prepare for the MAIH.


Is my international bachelor's degree recognized for entry into this program?

Contact the Graduate Studies Office at TWU and they will begin a thorough and fail evaluation of your academic background.  The nature of the MAIH program requires a good level of understanding of the English language and it is an asset to have some exposure to Western thought and culture.