Graduate students can pursue either a thesis or exam track toward a master’s degree in American Studies. The thesis track is generally recommended, as it allows students to complete a substantial research and writing project and to develop closer relationships with their advisors, both of which tend to be helpful in professional job placements and applications for subsequent graduate education. In some instances, however, the exam option, in which students develop expertise in two fields of specialization, makes more sense. Each track requires a distinct academic plan and has its own coursework requirements.
Plan A students must complete twenty-seven credits (9 regular courses) of graduate coursework, including the core sequence (AMST 600, 601, 602), at least TWO other graduate courses in American Studies, and FOUR courses in either American Studies or a related field. In addition, Plan A students must take SIX credits of AMST 700 during the research and writing phase upon approval of the thesis proposal. At the end of the process, students must defend their theses before the committee. For more information on the thesis, see the MA Thesis (Plan A) section.
Plan B students must complete thirty-three credits (11 regular courses) of graduate coursework, including the core sequence (AMST 600-602), at least THREE other graduate courses in American Studies, and FIVE courses either in American Studies or a related field. In addition, Plan B students must take a written and oral exam in two fields of their choice. For more information of the exams, see the MA Exams (Plan B) section.
|Plan A||Plan B|
|Required courses||AMST 600-602 (9 credits)||AMST 600-602 (9 credits)|
|Electives||2 AMST (6 credits)
4 AMST or allied (12 credits)
|3 AMST (9 credits)
5 AMST or allied (15 credits)
|Capstone||Thesis (6 credits)||Field Exams|
|Year 1, Fall||AMST 600-601 (1 elective)||9|
|Year 1, Spring||AMST 602 (2 electives)||9|
|Plan A||Plan B|
|Year 2, Fall||3 electives||3 electives||9|
|Year 2, Spring||Thesis||2 courses
Students who have completed graduate work at another research university in American Studies or a related field can appeal to the Graduate Chair to import outside course credits and apply them toward their degree. In such cases, students will have to show evidence of rigor of the courses and their compatibility with American Studies by providing syllabi and work completed by the student. Except in rare circumstances, no more than NINE outside credits (three regular classes) can be counted toward a student’s MA degree. In no circumstances, may students waive any of the required core courses (AMST 600, AMST 601, AMST 602).
American Studies has two dual master’s degree programs, one with Ehwa Woman’s University in Korea and the other with Library and Information Science at UH Mānoa. Please consult the descriptions on those programs for more information.