The MA in American Studies program offers students a solid grounding in professional study of the history and culture of the Americas. As our students comprise a varied audience—from documentary producers to social workers to pre-doctoral students—we offer a broad-based curriculum that includes many opportunities to pursue specific research interests.
The strength of our master's program is its transnational, intersectional and interdisciplinary approach to the study of the peoples and cultures of the Americas, within their larger geopolitical contexts, stressing the interconnection of race, settler colonialism and patriarchy. We complement traditional strengths in African and African American Studies, American Indian studies, critical race theory, feminism, class analysis and community engagement with scholarly work on history, politics, visual cultures, literary and oral cultures, environmental and agricultural practices, religions, gender, sexuality, kinship systems, geography and economics.
The MA in American Studies degree is based on graduate coursework and the completion of a thesis or project. Most of our MA students complete their degree within two years.
A total of 32 credits are required for the MA degree in American Studies, out of which at least 21 credits should be taken in the Department of Africana and American Studies.
A major component of graduate education consists of writing a master’s project or thesis in which you demonstrate your capacity for defining and executing a significant and novel piece of research. In selecting your topic for these major projects, consider the range of faculty expertise and interest that is available to you in the department and affiliated faculty. You should discuss your choice of topic with your advisor. The master’s thesis or research project is written under the direction of two faculty members: one serves as the committee chair (major advisor) or first reader, the other serves as a committee member or second reader. Faculty members from outside of the department may participate in the guidance of theses and projects.
When completed, master’s theses must be defended orally by the student at a public meeting. Furthermore, theses must be submitted electronically to the Graduate School and meet other university requirements. Research projects are usually less substantial in content and scope than theses (but comparable in quality to them) and do not have to be defended orally or to satisfy as many requirements set by the Graduate School.