Master of Arts in American Studies

The Master of Arts in American Studies is a free-standing degree. Students admitted to the M.A. program may hold bachelor’s degrees in any field and will be considered for admission based on the merit of their application. Students nearing completion of the M.A. program may apply to the Ph.D. program through an in-department application process. 

  1. Core Courses - AMS 801, 802, 803, 804 (12 hours): The AMS graduate core is a three-semester sequence: first-year students should take 801 and 802 during the fall semester and 803 in the spring semester of their first year of graduate work. Students should take 804 in the fall semester of their second year.

  2. Elective Courses (12 hours)


    • Elective Methods (3 hours): One course selected by the student and faculty advisor that provides methodological support for the student's research. The methods elective should be taken in the first year in order to enable research in the following summer.
    • Elective Topics (9 hours): Three courses constitute a coherent concentration, including historical depth in a defined area that prepares the student for either the master's thesis or publishable article. Courses should be selected in consultation with the faculty advisor and must be numbered 500 or above. If a student intends to apply to continue to the Ph.D., courses numbered 700 or above are preferred.

  3. Thesis Hours - AMS 899 (6 hours or to completion): After completing all required courses, the student enrolls in AMS 899 and continues enrolling in thesis hours until their article or thesis is accepted by their committee. Advisors are free to set deadlines for progress on this work over and above those established by the Department and Graduate Studies. Students should discuss expectations and criteria for these grades with their advisors at the time of enrollment.

  4. ​Research Project and Defense: Students complete a project of original research, resulting in a thesis or scholarly article. A committee of three faculty members evaluates the project, and the student gives an oral defense.

Program Costs

Most students complete the M.A. program in two years or four semesters. Select "Graduate Students" in the first dropdown menu of Financial Aid & Scholarships' cost calculator to estimate your tuition and fee costs.

Fellowships & Scholarships

Students are encouraged to actively apply for funding from external sources as a routine professional activity. The Hall Center for the Humanities and the Office of Graduate Studies maintain lists of internal and external funding opportunities.

AMS Assistantships

Most departmental funding comes in the form of Graduate Teaching Assistantships (GTAs). These are awarded with an emphasis on supporting doctoral students, but qualified M.A. applicants may be considered for positions during the admission process based on the strength of their application. A teaching assistantship provides tuition coverage and a stipend for the appointment term. Applicants are considered for GTA positions based on their application materials; an additional application is not required. All teaching appointments are contingent upon budget and enrollment levels.

When individual faculty members have sufficient research funds, they may also appoint students as Graduate Research Assistants (GRAs). In addition, graduate students fill managing and editorial positions at the journals produced by AMS faculty. Tuition support varies with all non-teaching assistantships, and appointments are at the discretion of the supervising faculty members.

Get Started

Ready to apply? Start the application process or request additional information about the M.A. program.