PhD in American Studies


PhD coursework should be interdisciplinary and students must complete the following:

  • Four core courses: (AMST 8201, 8202, 8401, 8801)
  • Three one-semester graduate seminars (in consultation with your advisor)
  • One comparative culture course covering international or non-US subjects
  • Field of concentration, which consists of seven advisor-approved courses, one of which must be a cultural pluralism course
  • 24 thesis credits

Language Requirement

  • Reading knowledge of one foreign language

Preliminary Exams: Written & Oral

The American studies preliminary examination portfolio consists of three written components:

  1. Subfield paper #1, a broad-based definition and explanation of a first subfield
  2. Subfield paper #2, an annotated syllabus for an undergraduate introductory course in a second subfield
  3. Dissertation project statement (together these compose the preliminary written examination), and an oral review (preliminary oral examination). Portfolios are individually tailored to each student's program.


Students carrying a full-time load generally take three years to complete course work, and two years to complete the dissertation. It is possible—but difficult—to complete this degree in a total of four years. Students are expected to complete the writing and defense of the dissertation by the end of their seventh year in the program.

Please review the 2020–21 Graduate Handbook.

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