Doctor of Philosophy in American Studies

The Ph.D. is the terminal degree in American Studies. In the Ph.D. program, we seek to educate, mentor, and place scholars who will make innovative contributions to American Studies and related fields, both inside and outside of the academy. We do this by providing advanced training and practice in interdisciplinary research as well as by fostering an intellectual community of students and faculty within the department and across the wider University. We emphasize the development of independent programs of study while directing and enabling students’ professionalization as researchers and teachers.

  1. Coursework Requirements

    • 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.
    • Graduate Seminars (9 hours)

      Three seminars numbered 700 level or higher
    • Research Skills Course (3 hours)

      One elective methods course selected by the student and faculty advisor to provide methodological support for the student's program of research

  2. Comprehensive Examination: The student's preparation in three concentration fields culminates in an oral comprehensive examination. The student must first sit for a written examination to qualify for the oral. Once students have completed all required courses, they enroll in AMS 996: Examination Preparation while preparing for the comprehensive exam.

  3. Dissertation and Defense: The dissertation must be an original work of research that advances the interdisciplinary field of American Studies. Upon rising to candidacy with a successful comprehensive examination, students enroll in AMS 999: Dissertation hours until they complete the dissertation and oral defense.

Program Costs

The Ph.D. program is designed to be completed in five years or ten semesters. Select "Graduate Students" in the first dropdown menu of Financial Aid & Scholarships' cost calculator to estimate your tuition and fee costs.

Fellowships & Scholarships

The American Studies Department competes with other units across campus for the opportunity to offer graduate fellowships, such as the University Graduate Fellowship, the Dean's Doctoral Fellowship, and the Chancellor's Doctoral Fellowship. Students are nominated by their home department, and fellowships are often awarded upon admission for the first year.

Students are also 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. 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 Ph.D. program.