(32 Semester Hours)
The Master of Arts in American Studies is an interdisciplinary program which seeks to promote a fuller understanding of American culture through the study of American literature, ethnic heritage, and institutions—political, social, religious, and economic. The program strives to develop a greater understanding of American society, past and present, and to nurture analytical aptitudes essential to further intellectual growth. Using an interdisciplinary approach, American Studies draws on a wide range of disciplines in the social sciences and humanities, including anthropology, art, criminal justice, English, geography, history, humanities, political science, sociology, and communication.
Admission to the American Studies program includes:
- An earned bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university.
- An approved Application for Graduate Admission.
- One official transcript of all previous course work. The transcripts must be sent directly from the schools to the Graduate College Office.
- Completion of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) with scores not more than five years old at time of application for admission.
- An overall grade point average of 2.5 in all undergraduate course work or scores in the upper three-fourths on the GRE.
- A minimum of 18 undergraduate semester hours with course grades of “C” or better in subjects which focus predominantly on some aspect of the United States, or in subjects foundational to the study of the American experience. A list of specific NSU courses that may be counted to satisfy this requirement is available from the College of Liberal Arts.
- Students scoring in the lower one-third on the verbal component of the GRE (as established by national norms) will be required to take six additional semester hours of graduate course work applicable to the program before being awarded a degree in American Studies.
Admission requirements must be met prior to the student’s first enrollment.
An advisor is assigned to the student by the Graduate College when the student is admitted to the program. The student should schedule an appointment with the advisor prior to his first enrollment. The advisor counsels the student and assists in the selection of classes. The graduate advisory committee members are selected by the advisor in consultation with the student.
Graduate Advisory Committee
Upon admission to candidacy, the student’s program will be under the direction of the graduate committee. This committee shall consist of three persons: the student’s academic advisor and two additional graduate faculty members teaching courses in the American Studies program.
The responsibilities of the committee are as follows:
- To monitor the student’s program;
- To evaluate the thesis, if the thesis option is chosen.
- To administer the comprehensive examination(s) required prior to graduation.
Plan of Study/Statement of Understanding
The plan of study (degree plan) will be prepared by the advisor in conference with the student. The degree plan is signed by the student, the advisor, and forwarded to the Dean of the Graduate College for approval. All courses approved for the student’s degree plan except those indicated, will focus predominately on some aspect of American culture, thought, history, society, economic and political system, and geography. Courses of a technical nature and those stressing methodology, administrative procedures, or development of occupational or professional skills do not fall within the scope of the program even if they deal exclusively with American topics.
The Statement of Understanding is reviewed and explained to the student when the degree plan is made and must be signed by the student and the advisor. It is sent with the signed degree plan to the Graduate College. After approval by the Dean of the Graduate College, copies of the Statement of Understanding and degree plan are sent to the advisor and student. Degree plans remain in effect throughout a student’s graduate program providing the student enrolls in at least three hours of course work for two of the three semesters (summer, fall, and spring) of each academic year until the degree is awarded.
Any changes in the student’s plan of study require written approval of the advisor and Dean of the Graduate College.
Admission to Candidacy
Students are eligible for admission to candidacy if they have:
- Been fully admitted to the American Studies degree program;
- Completed a minimum of 12 hours of graduate course work in courses approved for American Studies;
- Achieved a “B” average grade in all graduate course work completed prior to candidacy;
- Been assigned an advisory committee consisting of the advisor and two graduate faculty members teaching in the American Studies program;
- Filed with the Graduate College an approved plan of study and a signed Statement of Understanding.
Students must meet candidacy requirements within the first 16 hours of their program. After being admitted to candidacy they must complete a minimum of 16 hours toward the master’s degree in American Studies.
In addition to the requirements for admission to candidacy and the requirements listed in the Academic Information section, the candidate for the Master of Arts in American Studies degree must satisfy the following requirements:
- Complete 32 semester hours of graduate credit applicable to the American Studies program;
- Complete six additional hours of course work, beyond the minimum 32 , if he or she scored in the lower one-third on the verbal component of the Graduate Record Exam (as established by national norms);
- Achieve a “B” average grade in all graduate course work attempted, with no grade below a “C” applicable to the degree;
- Achieve a “B” average grade in all Northeastern State University graduate course work attempted;
- Achieve a “B” average grade in the 5000-only courses;
- Achieve a “B” average in all graduate course work applicable to the program;
- Achieve a grade of “B” or better in all 4000-level course work applicable to the program;
- Satisfactorily complete the comprehensive oral examination covering course work and thesis, if the thesis option was chosen;
- Satisfactorily complete the written and oral examinations over all course work including the internship, if the public internship option was chosen.
A student pursuing the Master of Arts in American Studies must elect either to write a thesis or do a public internship in American Studies. If the thesis option is chosen, the total number of classroom semester hours required for the degree will be 26 and the number of thesis hours will be six, totaling 32 hours of credit for the degree. Before enrolling in the thesis hours the student must have completed 21 hours of graduate course work toward the degree.
The thesis, approved and signed by the members of the student’s advisory committee, must be submitted to the Dean of the Graduate College four weeks before the end of the semester in which the student plans to graduate.
Two copies of the thesis will be provided for the University and will become the property of the University, one copy to be deposited in the University library, and one copy to be given to the thesis advisor.
Students choosing to write a thesis will enroll in American Studies 5986.
Public Internship Option
A student pursuing the Master of Arts in American Studies must elect either to write a thesis or do a public internship in American Studies. If the public internship option is chosen, the total number of classroom semester hours required for the degree will be 29 and the number of public internship hours will be three, totaling 32 hours of credit for the degree. Before enrolling in the internship the student must have complete 21 hours of graduate course work toward the degree. Students choosing the public internship option will enroll in American Studies 5993.
Students who have selected the public internship option of 29 class hours and 3 internship hours must pass a comprehensive written exam and a comprehensive oral exam. These exams will cover all course work completed for the degree, including the internship. Students who have selected the thesis option must pass a comprehensive oral exam focusing on defense of the thesis but which may also involve discussion of course work. These examinations will be administered by the student’s graduate advisory committee which may include additional faculty members representing the various subjects on the student’s program.
Program of Study
The Master of Arts in American Studies degree consists of 32 semester hours of graduate study, 15-18 of which are specified. American Studies 5833 and 5923 should be taken early in the student’s program. The student will also take one course from American History and American Literature as indicated in the outline of the program and will enroll in History 5433: Seminar: US History.
The remaining hours for the program will be a combination of electives and either a public internship or a thesis. The electives may focus on any combination of fields represented in the approved list of courses which is available from the College of Liberal Arts. It is recommended that students planning to continue graduate or professional study write a thesis, in which case, American Studies 5986, Thesis, will be taken. It is recommended that other students pursue the public internship option. The student who writes a thesis will take, in addition to the 15 required course hours and six thesis hours, 11 hours of electives. The student who chooses the public internship option will take, in addition to the 15 required course hours and three internship hours, fourteen hours of electives. A listing of approved elective courses and an annual schedule of courses are available in the College of Liberal Arts or from the student’s advisor.
- Apply for admission to graduate college thirty days prior to first enrollment for graduate studies.
- Receive advisor assignment when admitted.
- Complete admission requirements to the American Studies program before first enrollment.
- Interview with advisor prior to each enrollment.
- Enroll for classes as specified in the Schedule of Classes.
- Select advisory committee within the first 16 hours of graduate studies.
- Complete American Studies 5833 and 5923 early in the program.
- Develop and file an approved degree plan within the first 16 hours of graduate studies.
- Meet candidacy within the first 16 hours of graduate study.
- Complete additional six hours of graduate course work when applicable.
- Request degree check prior to the semester of expected graduation.
- Apply for degree at the beginning of the semester of final enrollment, except summer graduates should apply by March 1.
- Complete thesis and present final copy to the advisory committee 60 days prior to the end of the semester; two approved copies must be presented to the Graduate College four weeks prior to the end of the semester.
- Complete oral examination six weeks prior to the end of the regular semester.
- Complete written examination eight weeks prior to the end of the regular semester for students not selecting the thesis option.
- Receive notification of graduation ceremony two weeks prior to ceremony.