Master's Degree

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.


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, Media Production and Studies, 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 enroll in a minimum of 3 hours of thesis research credits 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. 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.     

Gwyneth Burns, Masters Student
As a MA student in the American Culture Studies program the interdisciplinary nature of the program allows for me to take classes in many different topics. As a student I am interested in the study of sporting culture and how sports can be seen in the context of a wider society. ACS allows me to take classes that are offered in the HMSL or The School of Human Movement, Sport and Leisure Studies program as well as classes in the ACS program. As well as working on my master’s thesis project, I will also be writing a capstone project to complete the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Certificate program. By adding the WGSS Certificate it shows that I have specialized in the topic of WGSS by taking the required number of credits and the completion of the capstone project. Joining the ACS MA program here at BGSU has allowed me to further investigate my research interests as well as pushing me further to think more critically.  

Updated: 01/09/2024 01:51PM