Admissions FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

When should I submit my application?

We have a rolling admissions process, but we strongly encourage students to apply early, in order to bolster students’ chances of getting attractive funding opportunities. Those who submit their application by February 15 will get full consideration for fellowships and assistantships.

Do I need to submit an academic statement of purpose or a personal statement?

We require that you submit an academic statement of purpose. An academic statement of purpose is a statement about your academic and research background, your career goals, and how you believe the Department of American Studies at The University of Alabama will help you achieve your goals. Be sure to tell us what you want to work on and who you want to work with in our department. We do NOT want a personal statement, which typically discusses the candidate’s background and life experiences.

How long should my writing sample be?

Your writing sample should not be more than 15 pages long. Your writing sample does not need to be on the subject of your proposed study, but it should demonstrate your ability to research and write in areas related to American studies.

Who should write my letters of reference? How many should I submit?

You should submit three letters of recommendation. They should all be from people who can speak directly to your potential to succeed as a graduate student. We prefer that your letters be from professors who can evaluate your writing, research, and analytical skills.

Do I have to have a certain undergraduate major to get into your program?

We pride ourselves on our diversity and interdisciplinary approach. In many ways, a unique undergraduate major can be an asset in our program, because it provides students with a distinctive perspective. In light of this, we welcome applicants from a variety of fields. We want to know how your unique background can contribute something valuable to our program.

How do I know if American studies is the right fit for me? 

American studies is a unique and exciting field, and the American Studies Association can give you a sense for the kind of scholarship that takes place in the discipline. You should also feel free to contact faculty or current students of our department for more information about how you might fit into our program.

How do I start my application?

Start your online application by going to the UA Graduate School’s Online Application Center.