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Laramie, WY 82071

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American Studies

College of Arts and Sciences

Masters of Arts Assessment Plan

M.A. in American Studies

Program Orientation and Goal:

American Studies emphasizes the integration of the humanities, fine arts and social sciences in the study of American experience, past and present. Students develop individual programs of study to understand and engage American cultures with professional expertise in preparation for work or further graduate study.


Assessment of desired program outcomes in American Studies is primarily direct, based on portfolios of student work in 5500, 5510, American Studies electives at the 4xxx and 5xxx levels, on the thesis or Plan B exam and papers, public M.A. oral presentations, and M.A. defenses. Course-related portfolio material is filed after receiving students' permission to collect their work for the purposes of assessment and advising. Assessment of student success in connecting American Studies M.A. work with further education or work after the M.A. (see outcome #4 below) is indirect, based on exit interviews and periodic post-graduation surveys.

Program Outcomes and Assessment Rubrics

Outcome 1:

Students interpret a variety of objects significant to the study of American cultures.


Student work demonstrates mastery of, proficiency with, or failure to understand the cultural significance of a variety of formations in American cultural study, including:
-material objects
-built environments
-cross-cultural and/or international perspectives
-continuities and discontinuities with the past

Outcome 2:

Students demonstrate professional competence in writing and speaking.


Student work demonstrates mastery of, proficiency with, or failure to accomplish the following indicators of graduate-level work:
-error-free expository prose
-authoritative oral presentation
-insightful use of relevant source material reflecting critical reading skill
-prose style commensurate with professional responsibility
-prose content commensurate with professional responsibility

Outcome 3:

Students produce professional research for a well-defined community (scholarly, public, or an appropriate combination).


Student work demonstrates mastery of, proficiency with, or failure to accomplish the following indicators of professional research for a well-defined community:
-identifying and using primary sources
-building approaches from a relevant matrix of secondary sources
-understanding scholarly traditions within the field of American Studies

Outcome 4:

Students prepare themselves for work beyond the M.A. in various capacities.
Assessment: Student plans and achievements build on American Studies competencies (as outlined in #1-3) in work or further graduate study.


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