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MA Program

The 30-credit MA program provides advanced training in interdisciplinary study of American history, culture, and society. Students gain a broad understanding of American Studies as an academic field, including its historiography and theories and methods used in the field; a general knowledge of U.S. history across periods and themes; training in subfields of the students’ interest; and advanced research and writing skills. The interdisciplinary nature of the program allows freedom and flexibility to tailor the course of study to students’ own interests and goals while also grounding them in the field of American Studies.

The MA program is particularly suitable for students who have done their undergraduate work in American Studies or related fields such as anthropology, art history, English, ethnic studies, history, media studies, political science, sociology, or women’s studies. While a general understanding of U.S. history is desirable, the required coursework is designed to provide basic knowledge for all students, including those who come from different disciplinary backgrounds.

The advanced knowledge of American culture gained through the MA program is applicable to a range of fields and careers. Those who are interested in pursuing an academic career but do not yet have a graduate-level training in interdisciplinary methods will gain a solid introduction to the field before entering a PhD program in American Studies. Some students who earn an MA in American Studies go on to doctoral programs in related fields such as anthropology, history, and performance studies. An MA in American Studies also enhances careers in teaching at K-12 or community college levels. Graduates of our MA program also work in such diverse professional fields as journalism, libraries, museums, park service, and publishing.

The two graduate certificate programs housed in the department, Historic Preservation and Museum Studies, are designed so that students may concurrently pursue an MA in American Studies and a graduate certificate in one or both of these fields. The department also offers a dual MA degree with Library and Information Science.