American Studies is an interdisciplinary program offering graduate work on society and culture in the Uniteed States--past, present, and in global context. It accomodates a variety of individual academic objectives. All students are asked to define a concentration--a period or problem--and to draw on appropriate university resources relating to that area. Students must demonstrate coherence in ther graduate work and be able to show relationsips between their concentrations and the wider sociocultural system. To accomplish this, students must develop knowledge (including historical perspective) in the humanities and social sciences. For the Doctoral Program Profile visit .


When is the application deadline and will applications be considered after that time?
Ordinarily students are admitted into the department for entrance in the upcoming fall semester. (Except in unusual circumstances, students applying after May 1 will be considered for admission for fall of the following academic year.) To be eligible for most KU fellowships, awards, and assistantships applications must be received by December 1. Students who wish to be considered for specific awards, fellowships, or assistantships should indicate their interest in a short cover letter accompanying the application. The final deadline for fall admission is May 1. However, applications received by December 1 will receive priority.

What do I need to submit?
Complete Graduate School application information is available on the Graduate Applications Processing Center website.

  1. A completed application form and non-refundable application fee submitted to the Graduate School online.
  2. One official transcript from each college and post-secondary institution you have attended (whether or not you earned a degree).
  3. A statement of academic objectives describing your intellectual development, previous academic training, and areas of academic interest. (The quality of this statement is an especially important factor in the decisions of our admissions committee. Please limit the statement to two pages.)
  4. A current résumé or curriculum vitae.
  5. Three Letters of Recommendation.
  6. Official Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores.
  7. A sample of your written academic work.
  8. International students also need to submit:
    1. TOEFL scores (international students only)
    2. Proof of financial support (international students only. See the "Financial Resources" section on the application. Applications will not be processed without financial documentation.)

All application materials should be uploaded to application online.

Do I have to take the GRE and is there a minimum GRE score required?
Applicants must submit official GRE scores. While GRE scores are not determinative of admissions status, they provide the admissions committee with a more complete picture of the applicant.

Is there a minimum GPA for admission to graduate study?
Students must have at least a 3.0 grade point average in their previous academic work to be admitted to regular graduate student status. In exceptional cases, students with less than a 3.0 grade point average are admitted to graduate study on either a provisional or probationary basis.

How competitive is admission to the Department of American Studies?
Admission into the deparment is highly competitive. The department can accommodate a maximum of approximately twelve new graduate students each year.

How will I pay for graduate school?
Graduate education is a wise investment but it can be costly. The cost of attending KU is available from the Office of Student Financial Aid. Graduate students in American Studies support their graduate careers in a number of ways, ranging from teaching assistantships and student hourly positions to external fellowships and student loans. The Graduate School website provides information about some of these opportunities at KU. Information regarding need-based financial aid, including student loans and work study, is available through the KU Office of Student Financial Aid.

How long will it take me to earn my MA or PhD?
The length of time required to earn the MA or PhD in American Studies depends on a number of factors – for example, whether you choose an exam or thesis track for the MA, what forms of funding you receive, your extracurricular commitments, and your personal goals. It is important to work closely with your advisor to design a program of study that takes into account these myriad factors. Please see the Graduate Handbook for department requirements.

The Graduate School has compiled Time to Degree for Select KU Doctoral Programs, including American Studies.

Can I visit campus?
Because we believe that our faculty and graduate students are the most critical resources in defining the quality of our graduate program, potential applicants are encouraged to correspond with the Graduate Director and, especially, to visit the campus to discuss their interests and the program with faculty and students. Please contact the department to arrange a visit.

How do I learn more about KU or living in Lawrence, Kansas?
Please visit Why KU? for links to the KU and Lawrence community for a good beginning. American Studies faculty and students are always happy to answer questions as well.

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Congratulations to our colleague Jacob Dorman for racking up the book prizes for his book Chosen People: • The American Historical Association’s 2015 Wesley-Logan Prize for best book in African diaspora history • Raboteau Prize for the best book in Africana Religions.

Congratulations to our colleague Jacob Dorman for racking up the book prizes for his book Chosen People: • The...

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