Jul 15, 2024  
2023-2024 University of Wyoming Catalog 
2023-2024 University of Wyoming Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

American Studies, M.A.

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The American Studies M.A. is an interdisciplinary cultural studies professional development degree. M.A. graduates work in public settings, including historic preservation organizations, historic sites, museums, collections, and other non-profit organizations.


Graduate Study

The American Studies M.A. is an interdisciplinary professional development degree in a committed learning community that builds on students’ research interests, accomplishments, experiences, and career goals working with American cultural contexts past and present. After the M.A., our alums seek further professional specialization in law, education, writing, library and information science, and other fields; pursue Ph.D.’s in academic careers in American Studies and other scholarly areas including ethnic studies, cultural geography, literature, religious studies, anthropology, history, ethnomusicology, among others; and work professionally in public settings, including historic preservation organizations, historic sites, museums, collections, and other non-profit, community or governmental organizations.

The M.A. is a 2-year program for students enrolled full-time, culminating in a major research project, either a “Plan A” thesis, or a “Plan B” non-thesis portfolio of work. We work frequently with part-time M.A. students to accommodate other demands on students’ time. We encourage the development of emergent, innovative formats and project types as valuable contributions to contemporary American studies practice, relevant to a student’s professional development plans.

Because American Studies is an international field with scholars all over the world, and the U.S. has significant impacts transnationally, M.A. Students from outside the U.S. are a regular part of our M.A. cohort, and we encourage our M.A. students to consider semester exchanges abroad. The Program also supports American Studies M.A. student and faculty participation in the annual biennial international conferences.

All M.A. students complete at least 15 credit hours in American Studies courses: 2 required theory and methods courses in the Program (AMST 5500 and AMST 5510), and 3 graduate seminars in American Studies. The remainder of coursework - 12 credits for those completing a thesis, or 15 credits for those completing non-thesis portfolios - can be drawn from graduate-level coursework in any area of study. Most of our M.A. students complete 1-3 credit internships as part of their coursework, in public or organizational sites in Laramie, elsewhere in Wyoming or the U.S., and occasionally abroad as well. M.A. students’ paths through their programs of study are as varied as our students.


Program Learning Outcomes

Students graduating with an M.A. in American Studies integrate their educational backgrounds, research and professional inter­ests, and coursework at the M.A. level inside and outside American Studies, in individual programs of study, to professionally engage American cultural production and communi­ties in preparation for professional work or advanced graduate study. Students earning the M.A. in American Studies, either completing a thesis or pursuing the non-thesis Plan B project, are prepared to:

  • Interpret a variety of objects significant to the study of American cultures, including words, narratives, images, material objects, communities, built environments, identities, cross-cultural and/or international perspectives, continuities and discontinuities with the past in a range of cultural settings.
  • Demonstrate professional competence in writing and speaking in error-free expository prose, authoritative oral presentation, insightful use of relevant source material reflecting critical reading skill, prose style commensurate with professional responsibility, and prose content commensurate with professional responsibility.
  • Produce professional research for a well-defined community (scholarly, public, or an appropriate combination), by identifying and using primary sources, building approaches from a relevant matrix of secondary sources, and understanding scholarly traditions within the field of American Studies that supports, expands, and connects research to professional goals.
  • Make effective plans for advanced graduate study or professional employment by developing competencies listed above, including the opportunity to complete appropriate internship or field course work in an area of the student’s professional plans.

Program Specific Admission Requirements

Those interested in graduate study are encouraged to contact the American Studies Program (307-766-3898 or amst@uwyo.edu) for more information.

Applicants to the M.A. program do not have to have prior majors in American Studies. The American Studies program does not require the GRE in applications to our M.A. program.

The application deadline for fall enrollment is March 1. A minimum of a 3.0 undergraduate cumulative GPA is required for admission. In addition to an application, please submit the following via the University of Wyoming’s online application system (http://www.uwyo.edu/admissions/apply.html):

1. Statement of Purpose

2. A significant writing sample (usually a seminar paper or, for those coming from technical fields, a major report) that demonstrates potential for graduate study

3. Three letters of recommendation that as­sess the student’s academic and research abilities

3. Transcripts from all undergraduate institu­tions and graduate programs


International applicants, who are not native English-speakers, must submit TOEFL or IELTS scores. If an international applicant wishes to be considered for Graduate Assistantship funding, the applicant should also submit the results of an Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI). Please contact the UW English Language Center (http://www.uwyo.edu/elc/) if you have questions regarding the English proficiency requirements.

Please see the Graduate Admissions and Graduate Student Regulations and Policies entries in the front section of the UW Catalog for more information.

Financial Aid

The American Studies M.A. is generously supported by endowment funds that allow us to award significant financial aid to M.A. students enrolled full time, through teaching, research, or community organization assistantship placements, as well as scholarship support as appropriate for students’ own M.A. research.

Program Specific Degree Requirements

Graduate student must successfully complete 30 hours (for Plan B non-thesis) or 31 hours (for Plan A thesis) of graduate credit including the following:

Required Courses

(3 credit hours) AMST 5500  with a grade of B or better

(3 credit hours) AMST 5510  with a grade of B or better

(9 credit hours) graduate (5000) level AMST courses

Additional Requirements

Plan A thesis:

(12 credit hours) of graduate (5000) level courses in any field

(4 credit hours) of AMST 5960 - Thesis Research  

Completion of a Master’s Thesis


Plan B non-thesis:

(15 credit hours) of graduate (5000) level courses in any field

Completion of a non-thesis project

Completion of exam

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