Graduate Studies Overview

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Jeronimo Sunol, Statue of Columbus, Central Park, New York, with Christo, The Gates, February 12, 2005, photograph by Joy Kasson.

The Department of American Studies offers two courses of graduate study: the masters degree in Folklore and the doctoral degree in American Studies. Both the Folklore M.A. and American Studies Ph.D. build on deeply rooted signature strengths that render our graduate programs truly distinctive: American Expressive Culture, Southern Studies, American Indian Studies, Folklore and Folklife, Digital Humanities, and International and Comparative American Studies. Our sixteen faculty members teach and work in an array of fields including American intellectual and cultural history, social and cultural history, foodways, material culture, musicology, literary and film criticism, American Indian expressive culture, art and visual culture, popular culture, new media and public engagement, and culturally informed public policy. Our graduate programs are designed for depth and breadth in American Studies and Folklore – and they competitively position our graduates for careers in a rapidly changing world of scholarly opportunities. Our emphasis is on the centrality of the interdisciplinary humanities for all aspects of intellectual and professional life.

The Folklore M.A. is the oldest established course of graduate study in Folklore and Folklife in the United States, consisting of a two-year course of study with a required thesis. The American Studies Ph.D., introduced in 2012, is a three to five year course of study that concludes with major and minor field exams and a required dissertation. Both degrees offer multiple opportunities for professional development outside the classroom including editorial, new media, curatorial, and public service. American Studies offers a graduate minor for students pursuing advanced degrees in other disciplines.  A full description of the requirements and curriculum for the degrees appear below.