Students are admitted into the department for entrance in the upcoming fall semester. To be eligible for most KU fellowships, awards, and assistantships, applications must be received by January 10. 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 January 10 will receive priority.
Completion of a bachelor’s degree is required of all applicants. Admission is based primarily on the applicant’s statement of academic objectives, record of prior studies at the undergraduate or graduate level, and references from persons familiar with the applicant’s work. Evidence of preparation for graduate study may include substantial work in American Studies or related fields, such as American history, literature, art, media, sociology, anthropology, political science, journalism, or interdisciplinary studies.
Required Application Materials
- A completed application form and non-refundable application fee submitted online to Graduate Studies. The application fee - $65 for domestic applicants, $85 for international applicants - is paid via secure server.
- One official transcript from each college and post-secondary institution you have attended (whether you earned a degree or not). Official (sealed) transcripts from your institution(s) should be sent directly to KU:
213 Strong Hall
1450 Jayhawk Blvd.
Lawrence, KS 66045-7535
- 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 decision of our admissions committee - please limit to 2 pages).
- A current résumé or curriculum vitae (C.V) summarizing your academic background and relevant work experience.
- Three letters of recommendation from people familiar with your academic abilities, potential, and preparation for graduate study (submitted via the recommendation section of the online application).
- A sample of your written academic work.
- If an applicant is not a native speaker of English, they must verify their English proficiency. Please see Graduate Admissions' English Proficiency Requirements webpage for additional information.
All application materials should be submitted online.
For details on submitting your application, please see Graduate Studies application website.
Frequently Asked Questions
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 will I pay for graduate school?
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. For information about the cost of attending KU, as well as what loans or work study options may be available, please see the Office of Financial Aid & Scholarships.
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.
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 Lauren Chaney to arrange a visit.
How do I learn more about KU or living in Lawrence, Kansas?
The KU website offers a wide variety of information on the area. American Studies faculty and students are always happy to answer specific questions as well.
Graduate Academic Advisor