In the race to achieve goals, advance careers and improve personal lives, many professionals never get the chance to contemplate some fundamental questions. For example:
- What are the basic assumptions I have when making decisions or considering complex issues?
- How do I develop better, more creative problem-solving skills?
- What kind of influence do my upbringing and social circle have on my beliefs and critical thinking skills?
Those may seem like very simple questions, But the answers can offer profound insights for professionals seeking to improve their skills in creativity, critical thinking, decision-making, and policy setting.
They also create working professionals who perform better at their current jobs. Understanding this, the University of Massachusetts offers both a Master of Arts in Critical and Creativity Thinking and a Certificate in Critical and Creative Thinking. Both are offered by the school online.
Who Should Get an MA in Creative and Critical Thinking?
A master’s degree in creative and critical thinking (CCT) benefits professionals in all industries. Students learn how to develop clarity and confidence in how they approach making decisions, leading to profound changes in how they approach their work. The program typically attracts students looking for both professional and personal development, having the chance to learn CCT skills with a diverse set of students from around the globe. Many students are working education professionals, such as teachers, curriculum specialists, and administrators. Policy makers from government, nonprofit and corporate organizations also benefit from the skills taught in a CCT program.
In addition, the CCT program at the University of Massachusetts attracts artists, musicians, writers, journalists and community activists.
While individual CCT courses are open to graduate students in other programs, majoring in CCT gives students the chance for sustained focus on developing critical thinking strategies and skills. It also allows them to form long-term relationships with CCT faculty and their fellow students in the program, all of whom are dedicated to experimenting with CCT strategies and supporting one another in taking risks in applying those strategies.
Applying a CCT Master’s Degree
The purpose of a CCT might be somewhat ambiguous to students who have not considered CCT before. Unlike, for example, a Master of Education Degree in Curriculum and Instruction, earning a graduate degree in CCT does not prepare students for a specific professional niche. However, CCT skills can make those working in curriculum and instruction that much better at their job.
A graduate degree in CCT is typically earned by those already working in a profession who want to build a set of skills, tools, techniques, and practices they can apply to their specific professions. Benefits include improved job skills and increased opportunities to move into policy-making roles.
What Do You Learn in CCT Courses?
CCT programs focus on the nature of critical thought. In some cases, classes focus on the application of critical thought to specific issues, such as multicultural education, organizational change, population health or making personal and professional changes. The specifics of a CCT program can vary from school to school. At the University of Massachusetts, the foundational courses in critical thinking look at the techniques of critical thought as a way to establish a reliable basis for claims, beliefs, and attitudes.
Courses consider multiple perspectives, putting established facts, theories and practices “in tension” with alternatives to explore how things might be other than they are. The courses also look at issues in a social context and how they affect:
- Observation and interpretation
- Reasoning and inference
- Valuing and judging
- Production of knowledge
Courses focus on how to apply the knowledge gained in CCT courses to real-world situations. Students also take elective courses, choosing from a wide range of options including:
- Foundations of Philosophical Thought
- Holistic & Transformative Teaching
- Creative Thinking, Collaboration, and Organizational Change
- Biomedical Ethics
- Issues and Controversies in Antiracist and Multicultural Education
- Criticism and Creativity in Literature and the Arts
- Environment, Science, and Society: Critical Thinking
- Advanced Cognitive Psychology
- Thinking, Learning, and Computers
- Reflective Practice
- Processes of Research and Engagement
- Action Research for Educational, Professional & Personal Change
- Epidemiological Thinking and Population Health
- Special Topics in Women's Studies/Graduate Consortium in Women's Studies
Earning a CCT degree is an option worthy of consideration by those who want to improve their critical thinking and decision-making skills for both personal and professional gain. Explore your options at UMass Online.