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American Studies (Graduate)

Delve into the interdisciplinary study of American culture as you investigate the socio-historical legacy of the United States through the lenses of the arts, history, literature, pluralism and public history.

American Studies – Master of Arts (M.A.) and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Montana State’s American Studies graduate program allows master’s and doctoral students to delve into the history and culture of the United States with a special focus on the American West. Candidates can choose to study fields such as American Arts, American History, American Literature, American Pluralism or Public History. MSU’s unique Rocky Mountain setting provides candidates with pioneering research opportunities at such sites as the Museum of the Rockies in Bozeman, Yellowstone National Park and the Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody, Wyoming.


Research in the American Studies program can take the shape of collecting oral histories, such as the stories of veterans as part of the MSU Veteran History and Arts Initative, in conjunction with Veteran History and Arts Initative Director Marcus "Doc" Cravens.



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Ivan Doig Center
Montana State runs The Ivan Doig Center for the Study of the Lands and Peoples of the North American West, emphasizing developing connections throughout the humanities, arts, social sciences and natural sciences.


WICHE Partnered Program
This graduate program honors the WICHE partnership for students from 15 western states. If you’re a resident of a WICHE state, you qualify for tuition significantly less than standard non-resident tuition. Learn more.

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Learn With Flexibility
American Studies is a truly interdisciplinary program, with access to courses based off of their area of research instead of their department – whether that be anything from anthropology to political science to theater arts.




Fund Your Education

The Graduate School at Montana State is dedicated to helping students secure funding during their time at MSU. Some resources the American Studies department and Graduate School offer includes:

Within the American Studies program, the primary forms of financial support available are teaching assistantships and research assistantships, which are awarded on a competitive basis. Assistantships include a stipend and/or tuition waiver. Additionally, the American Studies program is a Western Regional Graduate Program (WRGP) through the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE). This program allows students from 16 select western states/territories to pay 150% of resident tuition instead of full out-of-state tuition. To find out more about the program and to see if your state qualifies, please visit the WICHE website for more information. 

Research In Your Field

Research in the American Studies program includes access to and internships at the following research collections and institutions:

  • The Ivan Doig Center for the Study of the Lands & Peoples of the North American West
  • Museum of the Rockies
  • Yellowstone National Park
  • Buffalo Bill Center of the West






Careers after Graduation

Graduate alumni in American Studies embark on a wide range of careers within 10-years of their graduation.

Nearly 80% are working in academia and about 20% for for-profit. Top industry employers include Montana State University and Longwood University.

Across all career paths the estimated salary of alumni within 10 years of graduation ranges from $40,000 to $110,000 with an average of $70,000 (source of data Academic Analytics).


Admissions Requirements

Note: no GRE Required.

Each program within the Graduate School at Montana State has its own particular requirements for admission, and the American Studies program is not different. To ensure that you start your application on the right foot, please review the admissions requirements for the American Studies program. This includes any additional deadlines that the College of Letters & Sciences may have aside from the Graduate School, which does practice rolling admissions.