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Course content

A master’s degree in American studies from The University of Alabama gives students an opportunity to explore their interests and develop writing and thinking skills that expand career options.

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Course detail

The flexibility of this two-year program gives you the freedom to take an interdisciplinary approach to intriguing questions, in a department that’s small enough to allow close interaction with faculty and fellow students, yet large enough to encompass a wide range of research interests.

Pursue your interests

This program allows graduate students to build on their academic backgrounds and interests through sustained study in a particular area. Our diverse faculty teaches a broad range of topics, and the program allows students to take courses in other departments, broadening their educational opportunities.

Format and assessment

Students may select of one two options: Plan I (consisting of 24 semester hours and a thesis) or Plan II (consisting of 30 semester hours).

All students take four required courses: American Experience I and II and American Studies Colloquium I and II. Students generally take these courses in their first year of the program. The American Experience courses survey American cultural history and introduce students to some of the prevalent texts, scholars, and ideas in the field of American Studies. The American Studies Colloquium, a sustained study that takes place over the course of two semesters, gives students the opportunity to develop a publishable paper on a topic of their choosing. In the course of this project, students do independent research, undergo peer review, and revise various drafts to produce a polished final paper.

In addition to the required courses, students can select from a range of elective courses. Student need at least six hours in seminar-style courses. Although the American Studies Department offers an array of courses each semester, students may choose to take up to nine hours outside of the department.

At the end of the program, students take comprehensive exams, which test their knowledge of the material that they encountered in their particular program of study. Many students find that comprehensive exams provide an exceptional way to review the things that they have learned in the program, and these exams also provide students who want to pursue a PhD with valuable experience doing this kind of exercise.

One of the unique aspects of the program is the opportunity to design and teach a course in your second year — to develop course ideas, design the syllabus, assign readings, and actually teach a subject you’re passionate about. In recent years students have taught courses on Woodstock, Walt Disney, Ronald Reagan, and modern gay America.

Work closely with faculty

The moderate size of our department creates an environment in which faculty are open and accessible, able to build close relationships with their students. And because our program offers only a master’s degree, here you won’t have to compete with doctoral students for faculty members’ time and attention.

Career options

This program prepares students for careers in journalism, public policy, law, public relations, historic preservation, academia, nonprofit organizations and more. While many of our graduate students go on to pursue doctorates at institutions nationwide, other students build meaningful non-academic careers from their connections and experiences in the program. Additionally, many students choose to do internships, which help them make career connections and earn academic credit.

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Fund your studies

In the past five years (2011-2016), 90.6% of Alabama MA students have received funding. Whether supported by fellowships or graduate teaching assistantships – both of which include tuition, health insurance, and a stipend – the vast majority of our students receive financial assistance. Visit the website:





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Recipient: University of Alabama

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