The Department of American Studies is committed to the interdisciplinary study of American culture and society as a whole. Besides general courses in American life and thought, six areas of study are offered: Cultural Studies (including folklore and material culture); Southwest Studies; Environment, Science and Technology; Popular Culture; Gender Studies; Race, Class and Ethnicity. Students consult with department faculty to develop individual, inter-departmental programs of study in the humanities and social sciences that focus on these or other significant aspects of American society and thought.
Taking into consideration the experience and purposes of each student, individualized programs are planned to focus in two major areas of interest with supplementary work in other areas.
The M.A. is offered under Plan I (thesis), Plan II (non-thesis), and Plan III (coursework only) as described in The Graduate Program section of the Catalog. The master’s program in any case requires an interdisciplinary and interdepartmental grouping of courses for the study of American culture. Plan I (thesis) calls for at least 27 credit hours of coursework in addition to at least six (6) thesis credit hours. Under Plan II, the student must successfully complete a minimum of 33 credit hours of graduate work culminating in a comprehensive examination. Plan III (coursework only) calls for a minimum of 33 credit hours of graduate work with no final examination or project at the end.
All incoming graduate students must take the following in their first three semesters in the program:
AMST 500 - American Culture Study Seminar in the first fall semester
AMST 501 – Theories & Methods of American Studies in the first spring semester
AMST 502 – Research Methods Practicum in the second fall semester
Students must also take at least four other American Studies seminars during the completion of their M.A. coursework.
Applicants to the master’s program in American Studies should hold a bachelor’s degree in American Studies or a related field such as Art History, History, English, Philosophy, Economics, Education, Political Science, Sociology, Anthropology, Women Studies, or Ethnic Studies. In making their application, candidates are expected to submit a substantive letter of intent with a clear statement of their American Studies research interests and their goals in pursuing such investigations on a graduate level. Only candidates who show purpose and promise, and whose research needs can be appropriately met, are admitted by a committee of the department faculty.
The graduate program in American Studies is designed to familiarize students with a wide range of scholarship as a basis for their pursuit of specific programs of study. American Studies graduates have pursued careers in academia, public policy, secondary education and cultural institutions in the arts, social sciences and government.