American Studies, MA


What is America? What is the American experience? How do the answers to these questions vary depending on who is being asked? You will think deeply and critically about these questions and about the role of the U.S. in matters near and far.


Program Description

Degree Awarded: MA American Studies

ASU's MA program in American studies trains students in interdisciplinary approaches aimed at understanding the American experience in local and global contexts.

The array of disciplines spans the arts, humanities and social sciences, and faculty expertise covers a broad range of ethnographic, historical, literary and media studies as well as interdisciplinary and community-based approaches. Given its geographical location in the American Southwest, ASU's American studies program values an exploration of diasporic and transnational influences in U.S. cultures and social and political history.

The American studies faculty have strengths and expertise in the areas of critical ethnic studies, Indigenous studies, gender studies, Black studies, immigration studies, justice studies, disability studies, queer studies, Latino studies, transborder studies, Asian American studies, cultural studies, environmental humanities and sports studies, allowing students to focus their education around these areas.

Students gain expertise from working in a community of scholars dedicated to addressing critical questions of what America means, what American studies uncovers, and how to expand the boundaries of the new American conversation. Graduate students are immersed in conversations of how one develops, conducts and engages in research on the American experience in academia and beyond. Additionally, faculty and students include the role of other nations, cultures and communities in their study of the meaning of America and critically evaluate the United States in global matters.

American studies graduates can bridge a strong theoretical foundation with applied research to better equip them to enter national and international dialogues.



Curriculum

The American Studies curriculum includes required core and self-selected elective courses. The core course will introduce students to the field of American Studies: major themes, theories and interdisciplinary methodological approaches. Students work closely with a mentor to complete the required coursework and successfully complete and defend the culminating experience. Students complete the degree with either a thesis or an applied project.

Additional Curriculum Information
For electives or research, students should see the academic unit for the approved course list. Students choose 21 credit hours for the thesis option or 24 for the applied project option.


Courses and electives

The MA in American Studies requires 30 credit hours, and is typically completed in 2 years. Includes the following milestones:

  • Coursework
  • Thesis prospectus or non-thesis proposal
  • Completion and final defense of a thesis or non-thesis equivalent project

American Studies Graduate Courses offered in Spring 2022

AFR 494 Black Masculinities (Tempe)

AFR 598 Black Ecologies (Tempe)

ENG 494 Chicana/o/x Futures: Prophecies, Science Fiction, and Other Speculative

HST 448 Mexican/U.S. Border (Poly)

JUS 437 Disability and Justice (icourse)

JUS 691 Justice, History, and the Americas (Tempe)

SST 494 Multiracial American West for American Studies (Tempe)

SST 604 Sexuality Studies

TCL 471 Latinos In Hollywood (icourse)

WST 413 Queer Studies (Tempe)

WST 602 Mapping the Intersections of Gender

WST 502 Gender Research Methodologies 

*MA students can take up to two (6 hours) 400-level courses toward their degree.

Additional Courses Occasionally Offered

AIS 502 American Indian Studies Paradigms

AIS 503 Contemporary Issues of American Indian Nations

AIS 516 Concepts of Power and Indigeneity

AIS 521 American Indian Leadership and Resistance

AFR 598 African American Rhetorical Tradition

ENG 591 Ecocriticism, Cosmopolitics, & Postcolonial Ecologies: Environmental Humanities

ENG 538 Race, Place and Power in African American Women's Writing

ENG 538 Race, Place, and Power in AfAmWomen’s Literature

ENG 598 Global American Studies- Contemporary US Literatures

FAS/SOC 591 Racial Discrimination and Identity

FAS/SOC 598 Scholarly Writing

FMS 507* Crime & Violence in American Film

FMS 511* Fundamentals of Cinema & TV Narrative

FMS 522* Los Angeles: Movies & Culture

HST 598 Race and Ethnicity

HST 598 Topic: Readings in Early Ameri. History

HST 598 Topic: Readings in the American West

HST 532 Community History

HST 580* Non-Fiction Writing

HST 591* Gender History

HST 591* Environmental History

HST 591* American Indian History 1877-1934

HST 598 European Historiography

HST 598* The Global Cold War

JUS 598 Digital Activism

JUS 542 American Indian Justice

POS 530 American Politics

REL 598 Different Voices in Contemporary Islam

SST 591 Multiracial Experience

THE 505 Critical Theory & Performance

THP 598 Legal Issues in the Arts

TSS 598 Ethnography Mexico and Borderlands

TSS 502 Foundations of Transborder Studies

WST 691 Latinx Contributions to Feminist Thought

* Some of this language and requirements are subject to change pending program updates.



At a Glance: program details

  • Location: Tempe campus
  • Additional Program Fee: No
  • Second Language Requirement: No


Degree Overview

The MA in American Studies requires 30 credit hours and is typically completed in 2 years. Includes the following milestones:

  • Coursework
  • Thesis prospectus or non-thesis proposal
  • Completion and final defense of a thesis or non-thesis equivalent project

For electives or research, students should see the academic unit for the approved course list. Students choose 21 credit hours for the thesis option or 24 for the applied project option.



Degree Requirements

Required Core (3 credit hours)
AMS 502 American Studies: Theory and Method (3)

Electives or Research (21 - 24 credit hours)

Culminating Experience (3 or 6 credit hours)
AMS 593 Applied Project (3) or
AMS 599 Thesis (6)

Additional Curriculum Information
For electives or research, students should see the academic unit for the approved course list. Students choose 21 credit hours for the thesis option or 24 for the applied project option.




Admission Requirements

Applicants must fulfill the requirements of both the Graduate College and The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Applicants are eligible to apply to the program if they have earned a bachelor's or master's degree, in any field, from a regionally accredited institution.

Applicants must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00 (scale is 4.00 = "A") in the last 60 hours of their first bachelor's degree program, or applicants must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00 (scale is 4.00 = "A") in applicable master's degree program.

All applicants must submit:

  1. graduate admission application and application fee
  2. official transcripts
  3. statement of purpose
  4. writing sample
  5. curriculum vitae
  6. two letters of recommendation
  7. proof of English proficiency

Additional Application Information
An applicant whose native language is not English must provide proof of English proficiency regardless of current residency. The history program requires a TOEFL score of at least 600 (PBT) or 90 (iBT).

The writing sample may be an article, published or unpublished; a research paper; a seminar paper; or any other extended sample of expository skill. A minimum of 4,000 to 5,000 words is required. The document should not be password protected.

The statement of purpose should be addressed to the American Studies Graduate Studies Committee. It must explain the applicant's scholarly background and training, career goals, the area of study the applicant wishes to pursue, and why the applicant wants to pursue graduate study at ASU. It must be about 500 words in length.

Two references are required. Applicants should contact faculty or professional supervisors they intend to use for references prior to listing them on the application and inform the intended recommenders that they will be receiving an email from the ASU American studies program asking them to complete a questionnaire and provide comments on the applicant's suitability for graduate study. Updated email addresses for references should be confirmed before submitting them on the application. References from family members or relations are not recommended.



Financial Support

The Graduate Education Fellowship is available to five incoming Master’s students in the School of Social Transformation, which provides up to $10,000 of support to academically successful students who are Arizona residents or underrepresented in their discipline. 
 
When funds are available, student worker grader positions are awarded on a semester basis to master’s students. Graduate and teaching assistantships are not typically available to master’s students.

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Flexible Degree Options

Accelerated program options

This program allows students to obtain both a bachelor's and master's degree in as little as five years.
It is offered as an accelerated bachelor's and master's degree with:


Acceptance to the graduate program requires a separate application. During their junior year, eligible students will be advised by their academic departments to apply.



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Global Experience

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