Program of Study for the American Studies Master’s Degree
The American Studies master of arts degree is a two-year interdisciplinary program. Students may select of one two options: Plan I (consisting of 24 semester hours and a thesis) or Plan II (consisting of 30 semester hours)
All students take four required courses: American Experience I and II and American Studies Colloquium I and II. The American Experience courses survey American cultural history and introduce students to some of the prevalent texts, scholars, and ideas in the field of American Studies. The American Studies Colloquium, a sustained study that takes place over the course of two semesters, gives students the opportunity to develop a publishable paper on a topic of their choosing. In the course of this project, students do independent research, undergo peer review, and revise various drafts to produce a polished final paper.
In addition to the required courses, students can select from a range of elective courses. Student need at least six hours in seminar-style courses. Although the American Studies Department offers an array of courses each semester, students may choose to take up to nine hours outside of the department.
At the end of the program, students take comprehensive exams, which test their knowledge of the material that they encountered in their particular program of study. Many students find that comprehensive exams provide an exceptional way to review the things that they have learned in the program, and these exams also provide students who want to pursue a PhD with valuable experience doing this kind of exercise.