Jun 24, 2024  
2023-24 NSU Graduate Catalog 
2023-24 NSU Graduate Catalog

American Studies, M.A.

Location(s): Online

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OSRHE Program Code: 112
CIP Code: 050102

Major Code: 9855


The Master of Arts in American Studies is an interdisciplinary study of the American experience and culture. The program approaches American culture from many directions with a desire to view America as a whole rather than from the perspective of a single discipline. The program draws upon the expertise in a wide range of fields and programs, including Anthropology, Cherokee and Indigenous Studies, Communication, Criminal Justice, English, Geography, History, Political Science, Sociology, and Women’s and Gender Studies. The program consists of two (2) core courses in the scope and methods of American Studies. Students then work with a faculty committee to develop an individualized course of study in the following concentrations: American Cultural Studies, American History, or American Politics. Graduates of the program find careers in a variety of areas such as education (high-school and community college level), government or civil service, museums, law, communication, and business.

Student Learning Outcomes

The following learning outcomes have been established for students earning an MA in American Studies:

  1. Develop an interdisciplinary interpretive framework for studying the American experience, enabling the student to solve practical and theoretical problems.
  2. Develop an understanding of the theoretical and methodological approaches used in American Studies and interdisciplinary scholarship.
  3. Acquire an advanced knowledge of the major movements in the American experience.
  4. Design and implement an interdisciplinary research project that contributes to the field of American Studies; or apply American Studies perspectives beyond the classroom and scholarly community through an internship.
  5. Communicate research findings through clear, well-organized written and oral presentations.

Admission, Retention, and Graduation

Admission. Beyond the admission requirements for the Graduate College, admission to the American Studies, M.A. program requires:

  1. A writing sample (a recent paper, minimum 5 pages in length, of original documented research)
  2. Statement of purpose (1-2 pages, identifying the student’s reasons for pursuing graduate study).

Advisement. The Graduate College assigns students an advisor upon admission to graduate studies. It is the candidate’s responsibility to make an appointment with the advisor prior to enrollment to discuss policies and procedures relevant to the degree program. Conferring with the student, the advisor develops the plan of study, assists in the selection of classes, and counsels the student.

Graduate Advisory Committee - The student’s program will be under the direction of the graduate committee, selected within the first 18 hours of graduate studies. This committee shall consist of 2-3 graduate faculty members representing at least 2 disciplines in the American Studies program. The responsibilities of the committee are as follow:

  1. Develop a plan of study with the student consistent with the student’s career interests. The degree plan is signed by the student, an advisor, and forwarded to the Dean of the Graduate College for approval. Degree plans remain in effect throughout a student’s graduate program providing the student enrolls in at least three hours of coursework 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 an advisor and Dean of the Graduate College.
  2. Review and explain the Statement of Understanding
  3. Monitor the student’s progress in the program;
  4. Evaluate the thesis, if the thesis option is chosen OR monitor the public internship, if the public internship option is chosen;
  5. Administer the comprehensive examination(s) required prior to graduation.

Retention and Graduation. The candidate for the Master of Arts in American Studies degree must satisfy the following requirements:

  1. Continue to meet the Graduate College’s Retention Standards. See the Academic Information page for more information.
  2. Monitor degree progress using the degree audit system in the goNSU portal.
  3. Meet Graduate College policies detailed in Academic Information and Master’s Degree Requirements regarding GPA, minimum grades, coursework age, residency and institutional / state regulations governing degree conferral.
  4. Satisfactorily complete the comprehensive oral examination covering coursework and thesis or coursework and internship if the public internship option was chosen.
  • Thesis Option - The student who chooses the thesis option will be required to complete 30 hours of coursework. For the remaining 6 hours, the student will enroll in an appropriate number of thesis hours per semester until completed. A student must enroll in a minimum of 6 thesis hours. Before enrolling in the thesis hours, the student must have completed 21 hours of graduate coursework toward the degree. Students who have selected the thesis option must pass an oral exam focusing on defense of the thesis but which may also involve discussion of coursework. 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. Students must follow the guidelines and timelines required by the Graduate College for the submission of the thesis.
  • Internship & Comprehensive Examination Option - The student who chooses the public internship option will be required to complete 33 hours of coursework. For the final 3 hours, they will enroll in American Studies 5933, in which they will complete a public internship. They will also be required to pass comprehensive written and oral examinations. These exams will cover all coursework completed for the degree, including the internship. Before enrolling in the internship, the student must have completed 21 hours of graduate coursework toward the degree.

American Studies, M.A. - 36 hours

Required Courses - 6 hours

These two courses should be taken early in the student’s program.

Electives - 24-27 hours

Choose 24-27 hours from the following concentrations with a minimum of 3 credit hours from each area of concentration. Students may focus remaining hours in the concentration(s) of their choice. Students may petition the program director for permission to count hours not on the following list. 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.

Thesis (6 hrs) or Public Internship & Comprehensive Exam (3 hrs)

3-6 hours. A student pursuing the Master of Arts in American Studies must either write a thesis or complete a public internship in American Studies.

Public Internship Option and Comprehensive Examination

Program Notes

A maximum of nine hours may be completed from advisor-approved courses offered at the 4000 level. A grade of B or better must be earned in any applicable 4000-level courses.

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