Master of Arts

Master of Arts in Social Sciences, Self-Designed


An Individualized Master of Arts Program

Earn your MA in Social Sciences in less than 24 months online.

Antioch University’s Master of Arts in Social Sciences, Self-Designed offers a high degree of flexibility in building a program of study that meets your personal and professional needs. Design a degree program to address a particular intellectual interest or study a multidisciplinary issue by combining existing courses from graduate areas of the university. This degree is offered by Antioch University Online

Education on your terms. Antioch University’s individualized master’s program offers you space to personalize your curriculum so that you graduate with the education you want and need.

  • Transfer up to 15 semester credits, which may include up to 9 credits for your professional experience
  • Small class sizes
  • Starts in January, March, May, July, August, and October
  • Courses meet for 7 or 15 weeks; meeting times are determined by students and faculty
  • Complete your degree in two years or less
  • Work closely with a faculty mentor of your choice with expertise in your specialization
  • Save time and money with an Antioch University pathway program

Interested in Creative Writing or Intercultural Studies? Check out Antioch University’s Masters of Arts in Humanities, Self-Designed

Program Requirements

Start with two Foundations courses to learn broadly about the self-design process and how to conduct research in your field of study. In the third foundation course, you will create an individualized degree plan that helps you achieve your personal and professional aspirations. During this time, you will select your mentor, who will review your degree plan and develop action steps for achieving your goals. You will begin the courses you designed at the latest by your third term.

Choose from a variety of specializations in Social Sciences

Education Studies and Human Development

The Education and Human Development specialization is specifically designed to address the changing social structures of contemporary society and their impact on the growth of individuals and families in various cultural contexts.  As traditional roles, lifestyles, and conceptions of identity have evolved, so too has public policy regarding the social concerns and issues experienced by infants, children, adolescents, adults, and elders. Educational institutions, public policies, and social service agencies struggle to keep up with transitional changes that impact the lived experiences of millions whose lives are mediated through educational community structures. Consequently, this specialization seeks to gain a deeper understanding of the processes that underlie the relationship between education and human development and the way these issues are created and addressed so that their attendant problems can be effectively remediated.

Conflict Resolution

This specialization emphasizes deeper investigations into the varieties of factors that contribute to the emergence of conflicts at the structural, interpersonal, and intercultural levels.  Those factors include social, political, and economic challenges brought about by cultural, linguistic, religious, international, ecological, and political stresses.  In addition to studying the deeper structures through which conflict emerges, this specialization also introduces methodologies for addressing conflicts as opportunities for social, cultural, and individual change and growth.

Management of Human and Natural Systems

This specialization has been designed with five comprehensive learning goals in mind.  These goals guide the structure, function, and implementation of the program, serve the students as guideposts of their learning, and may be used to clarify the kind of learning our students have engaged in. Students will be able to explain how systems work, identify sources of conflict or disruption within systems, and show how to intervene in a system.  Students will demonstrate the ability to approach problems from a holistic perspective and apply scientific, sociological, economic, and ethical considerations in evaluation and problem solving.  Students will also be able to show how energy flows through systems. Students will be able to apply multiple perspective thinking and draw conclusions using multiple disciplinary approaches. Multiple perspective thinking includes appreciation of diverse cultural, ideological, ideational, technical and biotic standpoints, as well as attempting to think through philosophical differences and how they arise.

Or, create your own specialization!

Program Requirements

To graduate from the program, you’ll complete the following:

  • 3 Foundations courses (9 credits)
  • 7-8 Specialization courses – Any combination of seminars and individualized courses (courses you design with instructors) (21-24 credits)
  • Capstone (3 credits) or Thesis (6 credits)
  • Master’s Portfolio (0 credits)

Master's Portfolio

The Masters portfolio is used as a reflection tool to not only gauge learning over the course of a student’s tenure at Antioch but also to serve as a useful collection that demonstrates what one has learned to outside agencies or graduate schools. Portfolios are required for graduation. There are three required components. Student must provide examples of work that demonstrate fulfillment of the following program outcomes:

  • Demonstrate critical thinking, writing, and communication skills by developing a specific point of view and defending it clearly with arguments and evidence. Adopt an interdisciplinary, foundational approach to one’s program by synthesizing understanding, perspectives, and research skills from one’s field of study and applying them to one’s area of focus within one’s field.
  • Design and Implement a research-oriented program of study that synthesizes information from one’s chosen field of study.
  • Apply appropriate mastery of the relevant content in the disciplinary approaches brought to bear on one’s individualized area of study.
  • Advance social, economic, or environmental justice through a culminating project that integrates theory and practice through written work, a work of art, or work in one’s community.


Application information:

  • Complete the Online Application (No Application fee!) Start by setting up a username and then select Online campus to get started!
  • Bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university or an institution recognized by regional accreditation. Official transcripts of all academic work.
    • Exceptions may be reviewed on a case-by-case basis using faculty’s professional judgment such as cases of international degree. Antioch Online will accept degrees earned under the terms of the Bologna Declaration.
  • (optional) Two current professional references; one from a professor who has evaluated your academic work preferred
  • Admissions Essay:
    • Please provide a statement in 500 words or less as to why you would like to do an Individualized program, what specialization you might be interested in pursuing, what you intend to accomplish in the program, and what qualifications you bring to accomplish that
  • No GMAT or GRE required
  • Additional requirement for international students:
    • Reading & Writing in English Proficiency Assessment (if applicable) or TOEFL score of 550 “paper-based”, 214 “computer-based”, and 79 “internet-based or higher.

Please submit all supporting materials to [email protected] or mail to: Antioch University Admissions Office 900 Dayton Street Yellow Springs, Ohio 45387 All application materials submitted become part of an applicant’s file and cannot be returned.


SemesterApplication DeadlinesStart Date
Summer AMay 1May 6
Summer BJune 25July 1
Fall AAugust 21August 26
Fall BOctober 18October 21
Spring AJanuary 3January 6
Spring BFebruary 28March 3
Summer A 2025May 1May 5
Summer B 2025June 25June 30
Fall A 2025August 21August 25
Fall B 2025October 18October 20

Technology Requirements

Students in this program participate in online learning activities organized within small- and large-group learning communities. Antioch University Online is a 100% online learning environment, and therefore, in addition to having the traditional learning skills, students are expected to have basic technological skills, compatible computer hardware, operating system, and internet connectivity upon entrance into the program. LEARN MORE


Graduate Degree Tuition

MA in Humanities or Social Sciences$784 per semester hour
View the Cost of Attendance Components

Financial Aid

Many AU students finance their education through some form of financial aid. You may not be sure which federal, state, public and private aid packages – such as loans, scholarships, and grants – are right for you. Our staff is here to help you, so you can focus on what’s most important: beginning your academic program at AU. LEARN MORE


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