The MA program in American Culture Studies is interdisciplinary, unifying study of the many discrete aspects of our historical, social, intellectual, and artistic heritage, culminating in a scholarly understanding of culture. It invites students to explore particular themes, issues, and periods from an interdisciplinary perspective and offers a foundation in the study of American culture for students with a variety of interests or goals.
Primarily, we seek to communicate a sense of the complexity and diversity of our national culture based upon a systematic analysis of its elements. This approach is relevant equally to students who:
- Might pursue a career in education in some aspect of American culture
- Those who might engage in such professions as journalism, public relations, advertising, government, marketing, etc., where a knowledge of American culture is important
- Or those seeking enrichment of their understanding of American culture.
While the American Culture Studies component of the curriculum assures a common experience in culture study, the remainder of the courses are selected from traditional disciplines to allow an individualized educational experience.
Requirements For the Master's Degree:
Individual programs are designed in consultation with the Graduate Coordinator and based upon a combination of courses in American Culture Studies and in related fields according to the interests, needs, and background of the student, his/her future plans and goals, and the interdisciplinary philosophy of the program. Thirty-three semester hours are required for the degree, including the required seminar in ACS 6300-Methods and Theories of American Culture Studies. The remaining hours are selected from appropriate courses in American Culture Studies, Art History, Communication Studies, English, Ethnic Studies, History, Philosophy, Political Science, Popular Culture, Sociology, Telecommunications, Theatre, Women's Studies, and other related fields. No more than fifteen hours should be taken in a single department or program other than American Culture Studies.
Plan I: Thesis Option:
The candidate must write an interdisciplinary thesis in keeping with the philosophy of the program. Under Plan I, students complete 30 hours of course work and receive three hours of credit for the accepted thesis for a total of 33 semester hours. For most students, completion of the Plan I option requires two years of full-time study in the American Culture Studies MA program.
Plan II: Comprehensive Exam Option:
The basic requirements are the same as Plan I, except 33 hours of course work are required. After the completion of one year of full-time coursework, the student electing Plan II will sit for a four-hour written examination, covering periods in American cultural history, the student's course work, the relationship of American Culture Studies to the traditional disciplines, American Culture Studies methodology, and important themes in American culture. The examination will be based upon each student's individual course of study. The exam is normally taken in July of each year. The Plan II option normally requires one year of full-time study in the American Culture Studies MA program.