Frequently Asked Questions
What qualifications do I need for the M.A.C.S. program and how do I apply?
Admission to the program is granted to selected applicants who demonstrate a clear understanding of what cultural sustainability means to them, good communication skills, and success in self-directed graduate study. Students who are citizens of or in residence in other countries must have the ability to function successfully in English. Applications are accepted twice a year, in April and October.
Do I need to take the GRE or other graduate-level entrance exam for admission to the program?
No. We do not require GRE scores, though if you would like to submit them with your application, you may. Our admissions are based on past academic history, your essay, and your overall goals.
Can I begin the program in the middle of the school year, without attending a residency?
No. New-Student Orientation and some of the core prerequisite classes are offered each semester so a student can begin a course of study either in late summer or January.
What is cultural sustainability?
Cultural sustainability is an interdisciplinary field focused on actively identifying, protecting, and enhancing cultural traditions through activism, fieldwork, academic scholarship, and grassroots communications. We advocate an action-oriented belief in cultural equity. Using the tools of cultural and applied anthropology, folklore, ethnomusicology, history, communications, cultural tourism, and other traditionally separate disciplines we encourage communities to consider, "What is it that matters most to your community?" and then act on their response. The cultures, traditions, and communities we try to sustain could be any we actively and passionately care about: a neighborhood, an occupation, an art form, a skill, a village, a city, an ethnic group, a religious or spiritual group, a tribe, or any other community with shared traditions and values.
How does cultural sustainability fit in with other kinds of sustainability issues-economic, environmental, and societal?
Cultural sustainability encompasses all of these pillars of sustainability, and works to raise awareness, to preserve, and to bring cultural equity through change if necessary-in many of the same ways. However, each of these areas, when considered alone, misses the important component of people and their relationship to each other and the world around them. We can only affect real global change for the environment, our economic well-being, and the good of society if we understand and build on the strong cultural foundations we already have. Neighborhoods resisting over-development and gentrification, villages facing environmental degradation, ethnic groups confronted with the loss of their traditions or language-none of these groups will be able to come together in common cause to protect what is valuable to them and the world without a new pillar of sustainability that is not so narrowly focused.
What will I be able to do with my degree?
Our degree program, while academically rigorous, is intended for those who wish to go into the world and make real, practical change. Anyone who is interested in careers in community organizing, cultural tourism, intangible cultural heritage management, grassroots activism, policymaking or advocacy, nonprofit administration or communications, writing or storytelling, public folklore, service work, teaching, social justice, or other issues affecting the world today can benefit from this degree. Those currently working in nonprofits, who seek to make a change upward or outward in their careers, will benefit from the tools we offer and from the certification of the master's degree. Those just out of college, looking for the next big step in their lives, will benefit from entering the job market with a master's degree in an area that is quickly becoming recognized as essential to the sustainability movement. Our graduates will be future directors of nonprofits, community and labor organizers, communicators and activists, teachers and change agents of all kinds.
Who are the faculty?
The Goucher faculty are distinguished leaders in the fields of Cultural Advocacy, Leadership, Ethnography, Folklore, Arts Administration, Economics, Oral History, and Museum studies. They come from all over the country and bring a depth of experience that is invaluable to students. All faculty members in the M.A.C.S. program are currently working in their chosen fields so they bring both practical experience and a network of professionals to our students. Graduate programs based on Goucher's undergraduate strengths and institutional mission include the same close interaction with faculty that is a cornerstone of a Goucher education. Goucher's strong belief in the importance of staying connected to the world outside campus through community action, intercultural awareness, and international exploration is in clear evidence throughout the curriculum of our Master of Arts in Cultural Sustainability program.
How large are the classes?
Both residency and online classes are small (6 - 20 people) and interactive. Students often work in small groups and there is consistent engagement with faculty.
Where is Goucher, and what is the campus like?
Goucher is an independent, selective, coeducational liberal arts college located on 287 beautiful acres just north of the city of Baltimore. Goucher enrolls more than 1,400 undergraduate and 1,200 graduate students. It was founded in 1885 and is accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools. Goucher offers a wide variety of undergraduate majors, and all undergraduates are required to participate in at least one international study program, testing and enhancing classroom learning through real, firsthand experience in the world.
Where can I stay during the residency?
Students are responsible for their own housing during residency. Lunch and dinner will be provided in the dining hall as part of the room and board fee. Students have full access to Goucher's campus, including an excellent food-service, library, and athletic facilities. The campus offers a variety of amenities including a gym, swimming pool, and hiking trail. The campus is also an easy walk to restaurants, shops, grocery stores, and movie theaters.
What kind of equipment will I need for the distance learning program?
If possible, students should plan to bring their laptops to campus during the residency. Students will also want to have a camera (cell phone is sufficient) for documenting activities on our site visits, etc.
How long will it take to get my degree?
Most students take three years to complete the required 42 credit hours to graduate. However, a student could take 6 credits during the residency session and 6 credits during the online session to complete all but their 6-credit Capstone in three semesters. Students are encouraged to complete their Capstone over two semesters. Students must take at least one course per semester, and have a maximum of five years in which to complete all requirements. Students who are working full time will often take a lighter load.
How much does the program cost? Is there any financial aid?
Goucher M.A.C.S. students are eligible to apply for federal student loans, outside grants and scholarships.