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American Studies Program

Cooper House

University of Wyoming

1000 E. University Ave. Dept. 4036

Laramie, WY 82071

Phone: (307) 766 3898

Email: gipper@uwyo.edu

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Frequently Asked Questions

For (Potential) Undergraduate Students:

 

Are there mandatory American Studies classes for BA students?

BA students pursuing the American Studies degree are required to take AMST-2010 (Introduction to American Studies) and AMST-2110 (Cultural Diversity in America). In addition to that, BA students are required to take three AMST classes on the 3000 or 4000 level for the core concentration level. Finally, the colloqium concludes with the AMST Senior Seminar and 3 credits from AMST-4010 (Independent Study) or AMST-4970 (Internship) project.

 

What is an Independent Study?

For the Independent Study, students conduct an individual in-depth research project with a specific professor. It does not follow a typical classroom agenda, but instead demonstrates a student's capability to translate their own research interest into a project with support through a supervising professor.

 

What Internships can I take?

Over the course of the last years, the American Students Department has supported a broad variety of internships for its students. There are no formal exclusions. Students interested in an internship, however, should contact our internship coordinator with potential ideas as early as possible.

 

Is there Financial Support for Internships?

The American Studies Department is sponsoring qualifying student internships on a substantial level. Students should be aware, however, that due to payment schedules, some financial planning may be required. The American Studies Department will not fund partial or unfinished internships.

 

Can I switch Majors/make American Studies my Second Major?

The American Studies B.A. can be an attractive 2nd major for students in any UW degree program where cultural context enriches and expands work in their professional or scholarly field. The flexible nature of our B.A.  allows us to work effectively with students changing majors at any point in their undergraduate experience as well as transfer students.

 

What other Classes can or should I take?

While there are some structural requirements for the main field aspect of the BA, students may choose from options all over campus for their undergraduate colloqium. However, because American studies is both an international field with scholars all over the world, and the U.S. has transnational significance, we strongly encourage students to take 2 years of language study to achieve meaningful access to skills as readers, scholars and travelers, and consider participating in an international exchange. Some languages currently in demand by AMST students include Spanish, Arabic and Japanese.

 

For Graduate Students and Applicants:

 

Do I need an Undergraduate Degree in American Studies?

No. Graduate Students in American Studies come from a variety of academic backgrounds.

 

Do I need to take the GRE to apply for the MA in American Studies and what is the minimum score?

No. As of the application cycle 2020 the American Studies Department neither requires nor considers the GRE for its admission decisions.

 

Are there any Further Requirements than the ones listed on this Website?

All applicants, domestic and international, need to fulfill the requirements set by the American Studies as well as the requirements of the University of Wyoming Graduate School. For further information on those specific requirements, please refer to the University's graduate admissions website.

 

What should I use for my Writing Sample?

The writing sample of up to 10 pages in length is supposed to demonstrate outstanding quality in academic writing. Most students choose their most advanced piece of academic writing (or an extract from it) as a writing sample – depending on your other accomplishments you may have something else to consider, though.

 

What am I supposed to do in my Statement of Purpose?

Your statement of purpose is supposed to provide us with an insight on your previous accomplishments, what you want to pursue with a MA in American Studies and what your plans for the future might be afterwards. While it may be tempting to write on a variety of things you are interested in, we are mostly looking for a congruent idea of how you would benefit from obtaining a master’s degree in American Studies, why you would benefit from doing it in Wyoming and what you would like to do in the process of obtaining it.

 

Who should write my Letters of Recommendation?

The letters of recommendation are supposed to demonstrate your ability to pursue an advanced academic degree with all its challenges as well as your ability to develop yourself and work in a professional environment. Most often, letters of recommendation are written by either academic professors familiar with a student’s undergraduate work or supervisors from other types of professional work. Either way, the letters of recommendation should be written by people who are familiar with your individual work and capable of providing expertise on your potential for pursuing a professional degree in the American Studies Department. We are not looking for an examination of your best character traits, but rather a professional evaluation. Keep this in mind when making your pics.

 

How many credits should I register for?

Full time graduate students usually register for 9 credit hours, 3 classes at 3 credits each, during each of their first three semesters. Plan A students then register for 4.5 credit hours during their last semester, while Plan B students obtain 3 or more credits through additional classwork during their last semester. There is no thesis credit on Plan B. While in individual cases the colloquium of individual students may look slightly different, exceptions of this general rule should be approved by your advisor. Part time students will make individual arrangements based on their personal situation. Due to the big workload of graduate student classes, the department does not recommend at all taking more than three classes during one semester.

  

I am only registered for 4.5 credits during my last semester. Do I still count as full time?

Yes, you are still considered full time, even if you don’t take the equivalent of a full-time credit load in your last semester. However, to enjoy benefits of full-time status (including several student services on campus), it is necessary to file the paperwork for the Optional Fee Package. Preferably, this paperwork should be done and processed during December of first year. Make sure to check in with the office for further information on this process!

 

How many hours of thesis research credit do I need to take?

You will register for exactly 4.5 hours of thesis research credit, most likely all at once during your last semester. Occasionally, thesis research may be split over several semesters by approval of your advisor. The total number of thesis hours, however, will always be 4.5 credit hours.

 

What is the Optional Fee Package?

The Optional Fee Package provides you with all amenities of a full time student status for the last semester in which you enroll for less credits. It is necessary to file the paperwork for the Optional Fee Package. Preferably, this paperwork should be done and processed during December of first year. Make sure to check in with the office for further information on this process!

 

Something seems wrong with my student bill. Who do I talk to about it?

As the process of running graduate student scholarships and financial aid runs through several institutions on campus, it may take some time to fully be processed. In case of questions, please contact the American Studies office.

 

I need to travel for a research project or a conference. Can I receive financial support from the Department??

Yes, you are still considered full time, even if you don’t take the equivalent of a full-time credit load in your last semester. However, to enjoy benefits of full-time status (including several student services on campus), it is necessary to file the paperwork for the Optional Fee Package. Preferably, this paperwork should be done and processed during December of first year. Make sure to check in with the office for further information on this process!

 

What other Classes can I take?

The MA in American Studies does not run on a fixed curriculum with regards to what type of classes students take and students are encouraged to create a diverse and interdisciplinary colloqium for themselves approved by their advisor.

 

What is the Difference between Option A and B?

Option A is the thesis option, which will conclude in writing a substantial master's thesis, Option B contains an examination and academic portfolio including a non-theis research paper. Option B is not "easier", both options are demanding and fulfill different purposes for different student interests.

 

What is the Non-thesis Research Paper?

The research paper component of the non-thesis MA gives you an opportunity to develop highly focused research and writing on a well-defined topic of the scope of a professional scholarly article. You will develop the topic and approach, with an understanding of appropriate source materials, with your committee chair and with your committee at your committee meeting. The research paper is typically about 25-35 pages in length, of a scope and format appropriate for a submission for publication. You will work closely with your chair as you draft and revise this paper. The finished paper, along with your exam essays and your position paper, is the second piece of a non-thesis portfolio. It should be complete and in the hands of your committee no later than 7-10 days before your scheduled defense.

Contact Us

American Studies Program

Cooper House

University of Wyoming

1000 E. University Ave. Dept. 4036

Laramie, WY 82071

Phone: (307) 766 3898

Email: gipper@uwyo.edu

Find us on Facebook (Link opens a new window)

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