The American Culture Studies program is part of the School of Cultural & Critical Studies in the BGSU College of Arts and Sciences.

A Student in the Ph.D. in American Culture Studies program reviews popular movies.
  • Doctorate Available
  • Doctorate Available

American Culture Studies | Doctorate

The doctoral program in American Culture Studies (ACS) asks eternal questions about the United States of America in new ways. Questions like: What is the meaning of America and what is the role of the United States to us and to the world? How do we understand America from different perspectives, depending on gender, race, class, or ethnicity?

A systematic analysis of the complexity and diversity of our national culture

The ACS Ph.D. program at BGSU is a small, welcoming, rigorous interdisciplinary program. Students have considerable freedom to design their own curriculum in consultation with an advisor to reflect common interests, choosing from courses offered by ACS-affiliated faculty across BGSU.  

The program features two broad interdisciplinary academic tracks from which you may choose your primary concentration:

1) Critical Studies in Media, Film, and Culture

2) Ethnicity, Gender, and Social Identities

These tracks are designed to guide students in generating new research and contributing to international debates in the field of Cultural Studies. They also reflect the unique academic strengths of the BGSU graduate faculty, who are deeply involved in interdisciplinary teaching and research.  

Recognizing that American culture is complex and multifaceted, this program requires work in a variety of subject areas, encouraging students to reflect on both the historic heritage and contemporary expression of our national experiences. The American Culture Studies program includes faculty members from the following departments and graduate programs:

  • Women's Gender and Sexuality Studies
  • Theatre and Film
  • Ethnic Studies
  • English
  • History
  • Media and Communication
  • Popular Culture

Together we answer the question of how we understand American culture through novels, television, activism, paintings, video games, festivals, movies, fanzines, music, film, social media, graphic novels, webisodes, material culture and emerging forms of expression that we seek to explore.

Stand Out in courses like

  • Theories of American Culture Studies
  • Genealogy of American Culture
  • Publication and Professional Development 
  • ACS Methodologies 
  • Critical Studies in Film, Media, and Culture
  • Ethnicity, Gender, and Social Identities.
  • Public History
  • Performance Studies

BGSU ACS Ph.D. is a strong example of a successful interdisciplinary program


Graduate students typically arrive with an area of study in mind. You will work with advisors to define how you will explore your American cultural research interest through the lenses of political science, history, literature and language, art history, sociology, philosophy, ethnic studies and gender and sexuality studies. These interdisciplinary choices allow you to combine diverse interests and experiences into a unique program of study and preparation for professional goals.

Requirements for the doctorate in American Culture Studies (ACS) are the completion of at least 61 semester hours beyond the master's degree, including at least 16 hours of credit for research on the dissertation.

The Ph.D. curriculum contains the following components:

  • Common Core Requirement (12 hours)
  • Interdisciplinary Primary Concentration (15 hours)
  • Secondary Concentration (12 hours)
  • At least 3 credit hours in a designated methodology course
  • Elective (3 hours).
  • Dissertation Research (at least 16 hours).
  • Professional Activity

Go Far in your career

  • Academic Research
  • Higher Education Administration
  • Journalism
  • Public Relations
  • Museums
  • Advertising
  • Government
  • Criticism
  • Higher Education Faculty
  • Academic Advising


Successful completion of the preliminary examination, given in the fall semester of your third year of full-time study, is required for formal advancement to Ph.D. candidacy.


Your dissertation topic should be consistent with the your planned profession and is subject to the approval of the ACS Ph.D. executive committee. The dissertation is the culmination of the your academic study and should make a contribution to your academic area of research.


The American culture studies doctoral program prepares those interested in a career in academic research and tertiery education. It will also provide excellent preparation for culture-centric professions like curatorial roles, journalism, public relations, advertising, nonprofil and community service, government, marketing, criticism etc., where knowledge of American culture is essential.

During your course of study toward the American cultural studies Ph.D, you will be encouraged and expected to participate in a range of professional activities aimed at preparing you to compete successfully on the job market. These include activities such as professional conference presentations, publication in scholarly journals and edited volumes, internships, and/or other professional activities related to your chosen field. 

The ACS program assists students in the pursuit of these professional activities, including the supervision of internships.

Ph.D. in American Culture Studies students explore big questions through the minutia of a diverse cultural output.

BGSU Arts and Sciences white

The American Culture Studies program is part of the School of Cultural & Critical Studies in the BGSU College of Arts and Sciences.

Bowling Green State University [BGSU] is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.  BGSU has been accredited by the Higher Learning Commission since 01/01/1916. The most recent reaffirmation of accreditation was received in 2012 - 2013. Questions should be directed to the Office of Institutional Effectiveness.

The American Culture Studies program is currently undergoing Program/Cluster Review.

More information on accreditation

Bowling Green State University programs leading to licensure, certification and/or endorsement, whether delivered online, face-to-face or in a blended format, satisfy the academic requirements for those credentials set forth by the State of Ohio.

Requirements for licensure, certification and/or endorsement eligibility vary greatly from one profession to another and from state to state. The American culture studies program does not lead to professional licensure.

* Job placement and salary information was compiled by the Office of Academic Assessment through the Graduation Survey from AY2015-2018. The data are gathered around the time of Commencement and a follow-up survey six months post Commencement. For the salary question, data for programs with fewer than fifteen responses are not included. Salaries for those programs are from the National Association of Colleges and Employers Summer 2019 Survey. For questions regarding the data, contact

Updated: 08/18/2022 01:33PM