Alaska Pacific University’s Master of Arts Program (MAP) is designed specifically for the working professional who is interested in pursuing advanced learning, but not interested in a traditional classroom approach.
The MAP is a 36-credit, individualized contract-learning degree program. Students typically complete the degree requirements in three phases as self-directed learners, working with their academic mentors to develop semester study plans that identify the learning goals, projects to be accomplished, methodology and outcomes. Candidates must therefore demonstrate their ability to work independently in their proposed field of study.
Alaska Pacific University seeks creative people who are motivated by the love of learning and the desire to discover.
Some students may be drawn to the program because of past experience in the field and the desire to expand on their learning. Some may wish to enhance some aspect of their professional or intellectual background. Others may be looking for a career change or to contribute to the body of knowledge in a particular area of interest. The MAP provides the opportunity and flexibility to work closely with at least one faculty mentor to design and implement a learning plan that will allow the student to explore and discover new ideas and information in an interdisciplinary environment that extends beyond the confines of the classroom and traditional opportunities in graduate schools.
Faculty-supervised, self-directed learning may be complemented by appropriate course work drawn from other relevant graduate learning endeavors, including graduate-level work at Alaska Pacific University and transfer credits from other graduate programs or learning venues.
The General University Requirements for admission to graduate studies may be found in the Admissions section of this catalog. In addition, there are several specific requirements for the MAP.
- Three letters of recommendation from academic or professional sources addressing your capability to complete advanced work though a self-directed Master of Arts Program. In addition, the letter must address your critical thinking, analytical and communication skills. Recommendation letters must include the writer’s address, telephone number, title, and relationship to you. Letters should be dated within the past twelve months.
- Standardized Test Scores. Please see MAP Director for assistance in determining which test (the Graduate Records Exam (GRE), Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT), Miller Analogies Test (MAT), or PRAXIS II would be best suited for your application. Scores must have been within the past five years.
- Personal Statement and Study Plan. As the central feature of the application, these essays are reviewed by the Program Director as a demonstration of your writing competence, your ability to fully articulate your goals, the appropriateness of a non-traditional program for attaining your goals, as well as a measurement of your critical thinking skills. The Committee will give considerable weight to the thoroughness and genuineness with which you complete your Personal Statement as well as to the specificity and relevance of your curriculum as defined by your Study Plan. The MAP is writing intensive; therefore, the samples should be your writing at its best.
- Samples of your work (if applicable). Applicants are required to submit examples of work completed with the portfolio. Depending on the field of study these may include research project narratives, manuscripts, creative writing samples, articles, short stories, photographs or transparencies of artwork, major papers, or other materials and documentation.
The MAP is a three-phase, 36-credit graduate program that includes Research, Practicum experience, and a Project Demonstrating Mastery. The program begins with an orientation course (MAP 60000 ) where all new students have the opportunity to meet and share experiences with peers and faculty. Study plans and curriculum are finalized during this time. The semester-long MAP 60000 is designed to help all students get up to running speed with their respective research.
Required colloquia are held four times per year. Two times during the fall semester and twice during the spring semester. Colloquia provide all MAP students with opportunities to network and to share their MAP learning (progress, problems, discoveries, and more) both formally and informally. Students are required to make formal presentations at the MAP Colloquiums of their MAP projects as a prerequisite to graduation. The colloquial gatherings ensure that students receive peer support and offer individuals the chance to demonstrate their progress.
Master of Arts Degree Requirements (36 credits)
The program consists of three phases of coursework, with courses structured in 3-credit increments for each study plan. A total of 36 credits is required as outlined below:
- MAP 60000 Graduate Seminar (3 credits)
- MAP 62000 Contract Learning: Research (9-15 credits)
- MAP 64000 Contract Learning: Practicum (9-15 credits)
- MAP 68100 Contract Learning: Project Demonstrating Mastery (9-15 credits)
(These courses may be taken multiple times as designated by unique, documented and approved individual study plans. Designations may include a different last digit of 0, 1 or 2 in the course number).
Credits transferred into MAP follow university guidelines, directly apply to the student’s concentration of study, MAP course designation, and must be prearranged and approved by the MAP Director.
Phase I Research
Under the supervision of the faculty mentor, the student’s obligation in this phase is to discover and understand the best and most important things that are or have been thought, said, and executed in their subject area. Students take one required seminar (MAP 600, 3 credits) to prepare them for the journey ahead. Students may also take, with their advisor’s approval, courses from the existing APU graduate curriculum that are relevant to the course of study. Students earn credits (3-9) by the successful accomplishment of supervised independent learning contracts.
Phase II Practicum
Under the supervision of the faculty mentor, students in the Practicum phase put into practice what they have discovered and articulated during the Research phase. With the mentor’s approval, students may take courses from the existing graduate curriculum that are relevant to the study plan. Credits are earned by completion of mentor-directed study plans.
Phase III Project Demonstrating Mastery
Under the supervision of the faculty mentor, students execute a project demonstrating mastery in which they make their own significant contribution to the field of study. The Project Demonstrating Mastery represents the culmination of all the work accomplished by the student and demonstrates the student’s mastery of the area of study. Students submit a prospectus detailing the purpose, scope, theoretical underpinnings, and preliminary methods to be used in completing the project.
The final Project Demonstrating Mastery may be an academic document, a creative product, a documentary, or a piece of research, but it must represent significant synthesis of the knowledge the student has gained from the MAP study. The specific format is outline by the MAP Director.The academic mentor(s) and the Program Director must approve the project proposal and sign off on its successful completion.
Academic Study Plan
The semester study plan is used by the student and the mentor(s) as a guide for that portion of the student’s MAP Program. It is a dynamic document, subject to modification as circumstance dictates. The study plan must be approved by the student, the mentor(s), and the Program Director. The semester study plan is a more fully developed outline than that required by the application process and includes quantifiable learning outcomes. This form can be found on the APU Website under student forms.
While the program is designed to be a three-phase academic effort, there may be variations on this model. Variations occur due to specific circumstances that affect the overall goals and objectives of the study plan. For example, a student may choose to pursue 12 credits one semester (this is considered full-time study), and attempt 6 the next because her or his work schedule-or other commitments-preclude the pursuit of more. Students may wish to focus proportionately more credits on their research than their practicum, or vice versa. Some students may also need to acquire more than the 36 credits required by APU, in the case of a certification requirement. It might also be appropriate for the student to participate in outside seminars or trainings; some of these may be included in the 12 transferable credits while others may be additional activities.
The variations to the basic program are negotiated between the student, the mentor and the MAP Director while developing the study plan.
Typically the primary academic mentor will be a full-time faculty member at Alaska Pacific University. Mentors need not be subject-matter experts in all of the areas in which the student seeks to increase his or her knowledge, but they will be expert in the academic process of organizing the learning program for the student. Students are encouraged to work with more than one mentor during their MAP programs and must have a minimum of two committee members on their thesis committees. (The additional member need not be a full-time APU faculty, but his or her qualifications for this service must be approved by the APU mentor and the MAP Director.)
The MAP is not a traditional letter-graded academic program, but rather it is evaluated as Credit/No Credit. “Credit” is understood to represent a grade of B or better, for those whose employers or future learning institutions require it. Students receive a narrative evaluation of their progress at the end of each semester for each study plan, and these evaluations, in turn, become part of the student’s official transcript.
Narrative evaluations provide for mentors (and committee members) to document and comment upon the student’s degree of success or failure in accomplishing goals and outcomes as established in individual study plans. In cases where a student does not meet the academic standards of the university or the study plan objectives, ‘No Credit’ will be recorded on the transcript, and no academic credits are awarded.
Students are expected to perform at the graduate level and to demonstrate written and oral communication, critical thinking and analytical skills, as well as content knowledge and the ability to apply theoretical concepts consistent with a graduate program.