Five-Year M.A. Option

Qualified students will be allowed to enter the Master of Arts program after completing three years of undergraduate course work.

Course Requirements

The Master of Arts degree requires completion of 30 credits, of which no more than 9 can be at the 400-level. Students who enter the program after receiving their baccalaureate degree will normally require two years of full-time work to complete it.

The program includes a 10-credit Master’s Thesis (Plan A) option, and an all course-work (Plan B) option. All students are required to take AMST 501, Methods in American Studies, and AMST 502, Research and Writing in American Studies. Additional course work will be selected by students in conjunction with their committee chair and committee members. Under Plan A, students must register for a minimum of 10 credits of AMST 590 and defend their thesis in an oral examination. The format of thesis work is determined by The Graduate School.

Graduate Committee

A student's committee will consist of a chair and two additional members. The committee must be formed by the end of the second semester of attendance.

Mastery of Subject Matter

Mastery of subject matter will be determined by:

  • a record of excellence in all courses
  • a four-hour written examination
  • a two-hour oral examination


Written and oral examinations are normally taken during the student’s last semester. The written examination will consist of two parts, one issued by the chair of the student’s committee, the other by one of the remaining committee members. Written examinations will be graded pass/fail.

Students may not take the oral examination unless they have passed the written examination. In general, the first half of the oral examination will focus on coursework, the second half on the thesis (if applicable).

The Graduate School issues a deadline each semester for the submission and defense of the thesis (students in Plan A). These dates may be found at here.

Comprehensive Exams (for Plan B students) can be taken at any point in the semester as long as the student is registered for at least three credits. Students may also complete comprehensive exams during the intersession (between semesters) as long as they were registered for at least three credits during the previous semester.