Graduate Program

Sheffer sheds new light on 60's
Dr. Jolie Sheffer with ACS MA student Josh Catalano

The BGSU American Culture Studies M.A. and Ph.D graduate programs are small, selective interdisciplinary programs featuring intellectual rigor and an inclusive sense of community. We are a nationally ranked program that is among the top in the field in terms of supporting our students with meaningful assistantships, professional development funds, strong mentoring, efficient time to degree, and job placement in academia and beyond. We are a caring program that values all our students, faculty, and staff.
ACS offers students the opportunity to critically explore the cultural and intellectual traditions that have historically shaped and defined American identity. The program challenges students to think of culture as a dynamic and contested domain, whose definition and deployment are negotiated in the context of complex power dynamics and struggles. It invites students to consider the role of mass media and mediated images of subjectivity in the formation of cultural identity. It also invites students to explore the ways in which American identity has been historically gendered and racialized in myths of nation-making, nationalism, and national identity. Additionally, we encourage students to consider these struggles over identity in their larger transnational and diasporic contexts. The American Culture Studies program is interdisciplinary and comparative in nature. It emphasizes the development of critical analytical and scholarly skills, and offers training to prepare students for academic and professional careers.

Please email, or call us at 419-372-8886, so we can begin the conversation about whether ACS at BGSU is a good match for you.
“I love working with ACS students because they bring such diverse experiences, interests, and knowledge to every conversation. The end result -- whether in a class discussion or a PhD dissertation -- is inevitably intersectional, multidisciplinary, and critically engaged. I always learn new things from our conversations, and feel challenged to make new connections in my own teaching and research.” --Dr. Jolie Sheffer


Trisha Bonham, Ph.D Student
"I have found support every step of the way from my peers, whose goal to succeed is the same as mine. We are all in this together, with the same anxieties, deadlines, and challenges, yet we encourage each other to succeed."
--Trisha Bonham

    This fall I will begin my second year in the ACS PhD program at BGSU. I have a master’s degree in Native American leadership, and had a difficult time finding PhD programs that would meet my research interests. I was fortunate to discover and be accepted into this program. I have found support every step of the way, from academic advising to procuring financial aid, not only from school administration but also from my peers, whose goal to succeed is the same as mine. We are all in this together, with the same anxieties, deadlines, and challenges, yet we encourage each other to succeed.     
     The ACS program provides many opportunities for personal growth, whether it is participating in conferences or performing outside research. There is constant communication regarding job opportunities, community activities, and advanced educational promotions. In addition, as first a TA (Teaching Assistant) and then a TI (Teaching Associate) I have had the pleasure of creating a curriculum to teach undergrads, something I have always wanted to do. I have enjoyed working with these students and feel like I learn just as much from them as they do from me.

      I have met wonderful people from all over the world, which has broadened my knowledge and understanding of other cultures. I do not feel the stress of competition that often happens in a higher learning environment; instead, I feel a sense of community, support, and cooperation. There is always someone to turn to if I have a question, comment, suggestion, or concern. I firmly believe I can achieve anything I put my mind to and will be prepared for the future, thanks to the education and guidance received here at BGSU.
---Trisha Bonham, PhD student, American Culture Studies 

Trisha new

Emma Calow, Ph.D Student
"The interdisciplinarity of the ACS program enabled me to take and teach classes that align with my intellectual curiosity and academic interests."
-- Emma Calow

The interdisciplinarity of the ACS program enabled me to take and teach classes that align with my intellectual curiosity and academic interests. In particular, the program's affiliated graduate faculty allowed me to connect and work with various scholars across disciplines and this has contributed significantly to my positive experiences. As an international student, my time so far in the ACS doctorate program has been personally and professionally challenging, which has contributed overall to my growth as a scholar and a teacher. Through these challenges, I know support and help is never far away. The program's unique community-building through professors' and staff's engagement with students in and beyond the classroom and various professional development opportunities provides a reassurance that I am where I belong at this time. I've been very fortunate to have had compassionate professors who are experts in their field, encourage vulnerability and mistakes, and approach their teaching in a holistic, empathetic manner. I've also been very fortunate to get to know and call people friends during my time here - to learn with and from like-minded people is just one of the beauties of a program like this. 

--Emma Calow, ACS PhD 

Emma Calow new

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the graduate degree, students in American Culture Studies are expected to be able to:

  • Communicate clearly orally and in writing interpretation of the American experience, informed by relevant cultural theory
  • Evaluate and synthesize the scholarly conversations in Cultural and American Studies.
  • Design and produce rigorous, interdisciplinary research informed by relevant theories in the fields of cultural and American Studies.
  • Engage with profession through activities in professional societies, publication, and other scholarly and professional activities.

Accreditation and/or Program/Cluster Review

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.

Professional Licensure (If applicable)

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.

Gainful Employment (If applicable)     

Under the Higher Education Act Title IV disclosure requirements, an institution must provide current and prospective students with information about each of its programs that prepares students for gainful employment in a recognized occupation.

The American Culture Studies program is not a recognized occupation that requires a Gainful Employment disclosure.

Updated: 06/30/2022 10:39AM