The Master of Arts Program
MA students complete 33 credits: four foundation courses; four electives; and three final required research and engagement courses, including a capstone synthesis.
Four electives within a specialty area, chosen from offerings in CCT or, with permission of the CCT graduate program director, from other academic programs and departments (12 credits).
By petition to the CCT graduate program director, up to two upper-level undergraduate courses may be counted toward this requirement.
The elective courses allow students to define specific areas in which they explore their CCT-related interests—for example, “creative thinking at work,” “science in a changing world,” “gifted and talented education,” “critical and creative thinking in literature/arts/music,” “dialogue and collaboration in organizational change.” Areas of specialization may be constructed through cooperation with other UMass Boston graduate programs, such as instructional design, special education, public policy, and conflict resolution.
At the end of the semester in which students take their fifth course toward the CCT MA they must submit:
- a self-customized toolbox and set of reminders that students intend to use in their on-going learning and practice embedded in
- a narrative, which is updated each semester after reflecting on themes and connections across courses (cctrpp.wikispaces.umb.edu).
The CCT faculty reviews these submissions and meets with the students to make non-binding recommendations (which may include taking a break from courses in order to finish incompletes, improving writing skills, and acquiring more Research and Study Competencies). Although the recommendations from the check-in are non-binding, an advising hold is put on registration until this mid-program check-in is scheduled and completed.
Research and Engagement Courses
Three courses in research and engagement are required.
Students enroll in CRCRTH 694 Synthesis of Theory and Practice Seminar to undertake a supervised synthesis project and exit self-assessment, through which they review and reflect on the integration into their professional lives of critical and creative thinking skills and strategies and demonstrate competencies appropriate and relevant to their disciplines. The synthesis project has two parts: a written essay and an oral presentation. The synthesis project essay follows the Office of Graduate Studies Guidelines for the Preparation of Theses and Dissertations and is expected to incorporate an appropriate theoretical framework and references to relevant scholarly work in its field. The 30- to 60-minute oral presentation is given before members of the CCT faculty. Both the essay and the oral presentation are evaluated by at least two members of the CCT faculty.
The essay (20–40 pages) may integrate exhibits from the student’s work during the program, which may take a variety of forms, such as original curriculum materials, a professional development workshop series, a video case study, a practitioner’s portfolio, or a prospectus for future research and engagement. The form and length of the essay depend on the particular nature of the project. For example, an extended essay that reviews and critiques relevant literatures would be expected with the prospectus, but a shorter essay may accompany a video case study.
Before CRCRTH 694 can be undertaken, students must have no more than one incomplete left, not be on academic probation, have completed CRCRTH 692 , submit a 500–1000-word proposal, and have it approved by the capstone advisor and program director.
Concentration in Liberal & Interdisciplinary Studies (LAIS)
The concentration in Liberal and Interdisciplinary Studies (LAIS) has the same structure as the regular CCT track except for the substitution of foundation courses that make interdisciplinary connections from each of the following four areas:
Science in a Changing World Track
This track serves CCT master’s and graduate certificate students who want to focus on science in the context of social change and/or in the context of a people’s intellectual development. The SICW track is identical to the regular CCT program except that it permits an alternative set of foundation courses. MA students take all four foundation courses; SICW certificate students choose two of the four. (Note: Some of these courses are crosslisted in other programs as indicated in the course descriptions. The crosslisted sections are also permitted.)
Please see the general statement of admission requirements for all graduate programs in the “Admissions ” section of this publication. In addition to submitting all application materials as described in th general requirements, please note the following.
The Critical and Creative Thinking Program will recommend for admission those applicants who present evidence of their ability to do graduate work with distinction. Such evidence will normally include:
- A distinguished undergraduate transcript with a grade point average of at least 3.0.
- At least three positive and informed letters of recommendation submitted by persons with whom the applicant has worked closely and who have direct knowledge of their abilities. Recommenders should be able to comment in detail about an applicant’s academic strengths, work, and/or life experience. For graduate certificate applicants, at least two such letters.
Optionally, applicants may submit results of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or the Miller Analogies Test (MAT) and/or evidence of teaching or other examples of workplace competence, such as curriculum projects and lessons or business plans, to strengthen their application.
Students who are earning the certificate online, pay different fees than matriculated students. See
for complete information.