The Summative Evaluation is the capstone of the student’s academic work in the M.A. program at Holy Apostles College and Seminary. The student of philosophy or theology may meet the requirement of the Summative Evaluation by one of three methods: (1) Thesis; (2) Special Project; or (3) Comprehensive Examination. A summary description of these three options is provided here. For fuller descriptions of the Summative Evaluation options, see guidelines linked below this text.
1. The Thesis
The Thesis is an academic research paper of approximately 50 to 60 pages in length. This thesis is written under the direction of a faculty Research Advisor, and will also be reviewed by a faculty Reader. After the Research Advisor and the Reader have approved the final draft, the author will defend the thesis orally in a one-hour session.
A student enrolled in an M.A. program may pursue a Thesis after completing at least 15 credits of coursework and maintaining at least a 3.0 grade point average. The student also must demonstrate the requisite skills at research and writing in one of two ways: (1) by submitting a “qualitative research” master’s thesis or doctoral dissertation written for a different program; or (2) by taking STP 850: Research and Design for Thesis Students (a 3-credit course).
A student planning to write a thesis may earn up to 6 credits that count toward graduation requirements by taking the Research and Design course (3 credits) and a Directed Study course (3 credits) taught by the Research Advisor.
2. The Special Project
Special Project Guidelines
The Special Project is the production within one’s ministerial area or apostolate of an artifact of sufficient scope to demonstrate that the student has achieved the program learning outcomes. More practically-oriented than the Thesis, the Special Project is designed by the student for application in a particular pastoral setting. The Special Project is developed under the supervision of a faculty Special Project Advisor and must also be approved by a faculty Reviewer. After the Advisor and Reviewer approve the final draft, the student presents and defends the Special Project in a one-hour oral session.
A student enrolled in an M.A. program may pursue a Special Project after completing at least 15 credits of coursework while maintaining at least a 3.0 grade point average.
Students who pursue a Special Project may receive 3 credits toward completion of their degree requirements by taking a Directed Study course taught by the Special Project Advisor.
The Comprehensive Examination begins with a three-hour written examination during which the student critically assesses a non-authoritative text from within a student’s area of concentration. The student will not see the text before the examination. A faculty Praeses and a faculty Second Examiner will review the written examination. If the student passes the written portion, then the student will sit for a one-hour oral examination conducted by the Praeses and Second Examiner.
A student may take Comprehensive Exams only after completing all 36 credit hours within the degree program. Students who are planning on taking the exam must register with the Director of Online Student Affairs for a 0-credit Comprehensive Examination Preparation course. A student may schedule the Comprehensive Exam to take place after completing his or her final course. Students should take Comprehensive Exams within two semesters of completing coursework.
Students who opt to take the Comprehensive Examination do not earn any course credit during the examination process.