History and Mission


The Graduate Humanities Program — a division of the College of Liberal Arts — is housed in and works closely with the College of Education and Professional Development (formerly the Graduate School of Education and Professional Development).

The Graduate Humanities Program was first established in 1979 with a major 200K grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

It was then a program at the West Virginia College of Graduate Studies (COGS), a graduate center based in Institute, West Virginia. In 1992, COGS moved to South Charleston. In 1997, the center merged with Marshall University and was renamed the Marshall University Graduate College (MUGC).

At the time of the merger, the Humanities Program was a division of the School of Education at COGS, which, after the merger, was renamed to the Graduate School of Education and Professional Development (GSEPD); the Graduate Humanities Program then became a division of Marshall University’s College of Liberal Arts. Thus per history and tradition, the Program works closely with both colleges.

Constellations, a faculty-student book project celebrating our 30th anniversary.

Today, the Graduate Humanities Program is a multidisciplinary program bringing together students and faculty from a variety of backgrounds to collaboratively explore the interdisciplinary intersections of the arts, historical, cultural, and literary studies within an open, exploratory, and experimental graduate-level educational environment. The Program provides students with varied undergraduate backgrounds in humanities the opportunity to continue their studies at the graduate level with an integrated and interdisciplinary perspective on human inquiry. As a Full Member of the Association of Graduate Liberal Studies Programs (based at Duke University), the Program is charged with serving students at the highest level in graduate liberal studies. The program thus strives to enhance students’ abilities to deal critically and flexibly with intellectual, social, political, historical, literary, or artistic issues through a broad humanistic perspective. In this capacity, the Program is designed to serve three groups of students: (a) students working toward an M.A. in the Humanities; (b) students seeking professional development (such as in Appalachian Studies, per the Program’s certificate program), and (c) lifelong learners. Students in all three groups are engaged in critical thinking, directed inquiry, and independent study.