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PhD Program

The PhD program offers professional training in interdisciplinary study of American history, culture, and society. In addition to a broad understanding of American Studies as an academic field, students gain expertise in their chosen fields of specialization that prepares them for careers in academia, public humanities, and other related professions. 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.

Most PhD students enter the program with an MA in American Studies or a related field such as anthropology, English, ethnic studies, history, media studies, or performance studies. Applicants with exceptional promise may be admitted straight into the PhD program without an MA.

The PhD program is in three main stages: coursework, Qualifying Exams, and dissertation. Through this training, students gain broad as well as specialized knowledge that enables them to teach a wide range of courses related to American society and culture; ability to design and execute original research projects; and writing skills to produce book-length work of publishable quality.

The two graduate certificate programs housed in the department, Historic Preservation and Museum Studies, are designed so that students may concurrently pursue a PhD in American Studies and a graduate certificate in one or both of these fields.