American Studies Masters Degree Programs

American studies master's degree programs explore relevant social, historical, and religious components of American life and society. Read about common courses, admission requirements, continuing education options and more.

Essential Information

American studies master's programs typically take 2 years and offer program specializations. Some institutions combine American studies master's degree programs with graduate degrees in related fields like museum studies, library science, urban planning or public policy. Depending on the school, students may earn joint master's degrees or degrees with a major in one area and a concentration or minor in the other. Prerequisites for the program include a bachelor's degree, official college transcripts, qualifying GRE scores, references and relevant work samples.

Master's Degree in American Studies

American studies graduate degree programs focus heavily on relevant research and theory and educate students in the historical and contemporary elements of various liberal arts disciplines. The multidisciplinary nature of American studies curricula makes selection of electives a key element of most degree programs. Many institutions offer academic advisement to help students choose electives that best reflect their chosen area of specialization, such as race relations or gender studies. Among the required courses and accepted elective topics typically covered in American studies degree programs are:

  • Theoretical debate in American studies
  • American architecture
  • American cultural traditions
  • Literature in America
  • American social change
  • American popular culture

Employment Options

Because of the multidisciplinary nature of American studies course curricula, graduates of master's degree programs have an extremely broad range of career options available to them. Many students pursue liberal arts-related careers in anthropology, sociology or journalism. Others work in positions within government, education or law. While the aforementioned industries are all popular career choices for graduates of American studies degree programs, some positions in these fields require further training beyond an American studies master's degree. Earning an American studies master's degree can lead to jobs as:

  • Museum curator or director
  • Public policy analyst or advisor
  • Historian
  • City planner
  • Librarian
  • Researcher

Continuing Education

Graduates of American studies master's degree programs may earn doctoral degrees in American studies or any other similar liberal arts-related Ph.D. program. They can also pursue related doctoral degrees, such as law or postsecondary education. Continuing education in American studies may also be attained through membership in a professional association like the American Studies Association, which offers frequent workshops and conferences on relevant topics.

With a firm grasp of the educational requirements for an American studies master's degree, prospective students are ready to pursue this degree. At the same time, these students now understand what opportunities are out there for them, specifically career options and doctoral programs.

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