American Studies, PhD

College of Arts & Sciences

Program Description:

 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.

Course Requirements

Taking into consideration the experience and purposes of each student, individualized programs are planned to emphasize three major areas of interest with supplementary work in other areas.

At least 48 credit hours of coursework are required for the doctorate. They are as follows:

Required introductory graduate sequence (500, 501, 600) – 9 credit hours

American Studies graduate seminars (500-level) – 18 credit hours

Graduate electives (in AMST or interdepartmental) – 15 credit hours

​Independent Study in preparation for comprehensive exam – 6 credit hours

Note: Students with an existing MA may transfer up to 18-credit hours of work at the discretion of the department.

Dissertation hours – minimum of 18 credit hours

Foreign Language

In addition to the course requirements for the doctorate, the American Studies Department language requirement may be fulfilled either through the various options approved by the Office of Graduate Studies or through satisfactory completion of an alternative methodology option to be determined by the student in consultation with the student’s committee on studies and the chairperson of the department.


The comprehensive examination is taken after completion of course work. It is a written examination, the primary purpose of which is to ascertain the candidate’s ability at synthesizing the subject matter and various methodologies covered during his or her time in the program. Detailed guidelines for the comprehensive examination are available through the department.


The dissertation concerns itself with at least three disciplines in a specific area of American life.

Admission Requirements:

 Applicants to the doctoral program should have a background 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.

Career Opportunities:

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. 

Contact Information:

Rebecca Schreiber : Graduate Advisor
(505) 277-0686