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There are two tracks in our American Studies MA program. The General Track prepares those students who may wish to go on to a PhD in American Studies or another field through classes in the history, theories, and methods of American Studies and an original research project. The Public Humanities track is designed to ground students in the history, theory and methods of the public humanities, and in a foundation in nonprofit management, and bring it all together with project-based courses, an internship and capstone, preparing students for careers in cultural and community institutions.

Masters General Track Graduation Requirements:

  • Concepts and Interpretations of American Studies (3 credits)
  • Methodological Approaches to American Studies (3 credits)
  • One course in public humanities, chosen in consultation with the program director (3 credits)
  • Major Interdisciplinary Area (12 credits)
  • Elective work in other disciplines or interdisciplinary fields (6 credits)
  • Thesis Option: (6 credits) or an additional 6 credits in electives

Public Humanities Track Graduation Requirements:

 Year 1

  • Introduction to American Studies (3 cr)
  • Public Humanities or Public History course (3 cr)
  • Introduction to Nonprofit Management (3 cr)
  • Additional Nonprofit Management course (e.g. Introduction to Nonprofit Budgeting, Grantwriting and Grant Management, Fundraising, chosen in consultation with advisor) (3 cr)
  • Project-based elective (e.g. Introduction to Digital Public Humanities, Murals, Street Art and Graffiti: Power and Public Art in Contemporary Urban America, Oral History class, chosen in consultation with advisor) (3 cr)

Year 2

  • Electives (content or method specific) (6 cr)
  • Internship (3 cr)
  • Capstone Project (6 cr)

To apply, you will need to submit: 

  • A personal statement of up to 1500 words describing your interest in the public humanities, including and especially any personal or professional experience in the field.
  • Writing or Work Sample. Applicants must submit an academic or professional writing sample up to 6,000 words long, or, for those with professional experience in public history or the public humanities, a work sample (such as an exhibit plan, program planning materials, websites, etc) accompanied by a brief cover letter that explains the applicant’s role in its creation.
  • 3 letters of rec and official transcripts. 

The GRE is not required.

We welcome students who are already employed in public history and public humanities into our program. Depending on your professional experience, it may be possible to waive one or both nonprofit management courses and the internship, at the discretion of the program chair and with the support of a faculty advisor.

Policies and Procedures for All MA Students:

A maximum of 12 graduate credits may be transferred from another institution toward the completion of the M.A. degree. Acceptance of these credits will be at the discretion of the Program Director in consultation with the Graduate School and will depend on the field of the student's Master's degree, the appropriateness to American Studies of specific courses taken, and the rules of the Graduate School.

 With the advance approval of the Program Director, the student’s academic advisor, and the course instructors, up to three Rutgers University-Newark undergraduate courses at the 300 or 400 level may be counted toward the completion of the M.A. Degree. No more than one undergraduate course may be taken per semester. To receive graduate credit, the student must have been assigned and successfully completed significant additional work in the undergraduate course.

 With the approval of the Program Director and the student’s academic advisor, up to six credits in directed readings may be counted toward the completion of the M..A. Degree.

Notwithstanding the above options, at least five courses (15 credits) must be taken as master’s seminars.

Students choosing the thesis option must signal their intention and identify a thesis advisor no later than after having completed 18 credits.

Upon admission to the Master’s program, each student will be assigned an academic advisor from the American Studies faculty. Students are free to change advisors at the end of their first year. Every year, however, students must submit to the Program Director a form identifying their advisor.

Visit the American Studies - MA page on the Rutgers, State University of New Jersey website for more details!




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