Frequently Asked Questions

Applying to the ACS Program

The ACS MA and PhD programs will no longer require the GRE exam. We will continue to use a holistic evaluation of transcripts, letters of recommendation, writing sample, resume, and statement of purpose. Those are the most crucial determinants of student success in our programs.

No, there is not a foreign language requirement for either the ACS M.A. or Ph.D. program.

Your Statement of Purpose, in short, is a 2-4 page description of your research interests and career goals. This is a snapshot of  your story. We want to know who you are as a scholar. Think about what brought you here, why you chose this field, and what draws you to our program specifically. 

Some questions you may want to consider as you are writing: What has influenced your scholarship and interests? How do you see yourself contributing to this program?  What makes it right for you  (think in terms of program, discipline, research methods, potential faculty members you would like to work with)? Who are you, and why are you here? How did you learn about our program/ what drew you to apply? Where do you see yourself going from here?

We suggest you seek recommendations from faculty members who have worked with you either in class, as an advisor, or in a supervisory capacity rather than employers or friends/peers. Faculty members who are familiar with your work and your strengths are your best bet for strong recommendation letters. We suggest prioritizing faculty members who know you and your work well over faculty members who are considered to be prestigious in their field.

Use what you feel is the best example of your ability to conduct academic research and write in your chosen field(s). We recommend that it be 15-20 pages in length. This can be a strong paper written for a course or conference presentation, a short/portion of a thesis chapter, or other example of academic writing. We suggest you revise and edit your writing sample to demonstrate your finest work. We do NOT suggest that you submit an entire thesis or creative work.

The academic track/primary concentration you select will contribute to your research and connect you with faculty members in your field. Thus, when considering which one to select, think about the direction you would like to go with your research, your potential dissertation topic(s),  areas/methods you would like to be more familiar with, and your career goals. There is a lot of overlap between the two tracks/primary concentrations, so we suggest that you look at the courses associated with each and select the track that will offer you the most beneficial classes. You can always refine your course of study with a secondary concentration and/or electives.

Applications and supporting materials should be received by January 15th to receive fullest consideration for admission and funding. Later applications will be considered if positions are available.

We enjoy having prospective students visit our campus. This gives us an opportunity to get to know you and to show you what we're all about. Our program is a small, close-knit community, so you may find it beneficial to connect with some of our faculty members and current students. The department cannot fund campus visits, but we would be more than happy to help you arrange to meet with current students and faculty, take a campus tour, see the Ray Browne Popular Culture Library, etc. Please contact us to schedule a visit. For those unable to schedule a visit, the department is planning to implement virtual info sessions for prospective and admitted students in the Spring of 2018.

No. The American Culture Studies M.A. and Ph.D. programs only offer admissions for Fall Semesters.

The process is similar as for domestic students and is outlined on our admissions page however, once admitted to BGSU you will be required to submit more documentation and should plan for plenty of time to complete those requirements. Click Here for more information on applying as an international student.

International applicants are required to submit scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Successful completion of ELS 112 will also be accepted for this requirement. Please see exceptions on the Graduate College Website

Official TOEFL, MELAB, IELTS score report recommended minimums are:

  • 80 TOEFL IBT
  • 77 MELAB
  • 6.5 IELTS
  • Completion of ELS Intensive English for Academic Purposes Level 112

About the Program and Funding

The ACS masters program typically has 10-12 students at one time. Each cohort averages 5 students. The ACS doctorate program typically has 40 students and each cohort averages 8-12 students.

Our department is unique. We are very interdisciplinary, so most of our faculty and incoming students come from affiliated departments. This makes us flexible and small, creating a close-knit community focused on critical engagement across disciplines. Our core faculty members work closely with our students, so you are likely to get to know them very well during your tenure here. As well, having a small community means the people you work with are the same people in many of your classes. You are likely to get to know your cohort very well and carry those relationships with you well after graduation. We encourage rigorous scholarship, lively critical conversation, and respectful collaboration.

Our faculty members make every attempt to remain accessible and approachable for our students in a myriad of ways. Whether by offering office hours, keeping up contact by e-mail, or connecting with students through department events, they are invested in student success in the program and happy to help in whatever way they can.

Financial aid is available to qualified Ph.D. students in American Culture Studies for up to four years and M.A. students for up to two years in the form of Graduate Assistantships in teaching, research, or applied research and a tuition scholarship. Visit our Funding website page more information.

We try to offer assistantships that fit with an applicant’s areas of interest and experience. Our Teaching Assistants are typically assigned in Ethnic Studies, Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, American Culture Studies, Popular Culture and other related fields. Our Research Assistants are typically assigned in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, The School of Cultural and Critical Studies, The Women's Center, The Institute for the Study of Culture and Society, the Library, and other related campus offices.

Indicate your interest in obtaining a graduate assistantship on the online graduate application.

About BGSU and the City of Bowling Green

Bowling Green is a small, college town in Northwest Ohio with a population of around 30,000. The town has a bustling main street with restaurants, pubs and shops. There are numerous parks and a walking trail, as well as many community-wide festivals and events. There are the necessary amenities (big-chain grocery stores and department stores). Much of the student housing is within walking distance to campus, but bringing a car, if possible, is recommended. Nearby cities (Perrysburg, Toledo) offer more entertainment opportunities and are only a 20-25 minute car ride away. Other major cities are accessible for day or weekend trips (Cleveland, Chicago, Detroit).
Those with families have reported that BG is safe and welcoming to children. There are several programs for kids, especially in the summer. For more information about the public schools, go to For more information about BG, visit
Some examples of community events:
Black Swamp Festival
Art Walk
Farmer’s Market

Read More about life in Bowling Green

1,338 acre residential campus with park-like setting and 119 buildings including the new Stroh Center, The Wolfe Center for the Arts, Centennial Residence Hall, Falcon Heights Residence Hall, The Oaks Dining Center and Carillon Place Dining Cente

“Once I completed the POPC MA program the department helped me make an easy transition into the American Culture Studies PhD Program where I am able to focus on class studies within American culture.”
-John King, Ph.D student
John King

    After receiving my bachelor's degree in Popular Culture from Berea College there was only one place, I wanted to continue my education -- the Popular Culture graduate program at BGSU. It was a big change coming from a small college in Eastern Kentucky, but everyone in the department made me feel welcome, and I knew I found the place I needed to be. 
    The school worked with me to find an opportunity just right for my assistantship, and I spent the entirety of my time in the master's program as a Graduate Research Assistant at the Browne Popular Culture Library. 
    Once I completed the program the department helped me make an easy transition into the American Culture Studies PhD Program where I am able to focus on class studies within American culture. 

Updated: 01/09/2024 01:58PM