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American Studies explores American cultural experience past and present, through a wide range of approaches to American lives, places, arts, knowledge, communities, institutions, histories, and ideas. American Studies is an integrative field that comes from and adds to the context of our cultural lives in the US and the US in the world. American Studies frames present concerns with engagement with the past; expects us to engage people’s experiences in the context of a diversity of experiences; and invites us to understand our own commitments and interests as valuable contributions to American cultural understanding. American Studies as a field depends on and adds to insights of scholars, artists, and scientists from virtually any field of expertise.
The American Studies Program offers undergraduate B.A .and graduate M.A. degrees in American Studies, as well as courses of general interest to students in any degree.
Our Program places special emphasis on studying American cultures through field experiences and internships: students apply academic knowledge and develop professional skills in community and non-profit organizations, historic preservation efforts and organizations, historic sites, museums and collections, among many possibilities. Every internship is developed in close consultation between the student and our Internship Coordinator, and frequently stems from a student’s general idea about where or with whom they’d like to work, in Laramie or Wyoming, in other parts of the U.S., or sometimes abroad. Our Program also highlights international perspectives, as well as the transnational context of American impacts and experiences, in course work and exchanges available to AMST students.
American Studies puts people and their plans together building career goals in K-12 education, law, or business, work in community organizations and public institutions, or further graduate-level study.
The American Studies B.A. frames and develops each student’s individual interests, and allows students to include courses from any program and department that sustain a student’s engagement with their particular emphasis. Individual programs of study are as varied as our students.
We value each student as a person, and understand that an education is much more than a list of courses. Our advising is central in supporting each student’s path and success through the major and beyond the degree.
Examples of concentrations that draw on courses outside American Studies –interests which we then integrate in our independent studies, internships, and the senior seminar—include sports studies, popular music history, comparative ethnic studies, marketing, military history, sustainability, disability advocacy, museum studies, philosophy of science, environmental studies, public health and social justice, and the U.S. in international perspectives. Each student develops a concentration of study with their American Studies advisor with ample room to combine courses and interests into a coherent undergraduate education.
The American Studies B.A. can be an attractive 2 nd 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.
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.
The American Studies M.A. is an interdisciplinary professional development degree in a committed learning community that builds on students’ research interests, accomplishments, experiences, and career goals working with American cultural contexts past and present. After the M.A., our alums seek further professional specialization in law, education, writing, library and information science, and other fields; pursue PhDs in academic careers in American Studies and other scholarly areas including ethnic studies, cultural geography, literature, religious studies, anthropology, history, ethnomusicology, among others; and work professionally in public settings, including historic preservation organizations, historic sites, museums, collections, and other non-profit, community or governmental organizations.
The M.A. is a 2-year program for students enrolled full-time, culminating in a major
research project, either a “Plan A” Thesis, or a “Plan B” Non-thesis portfolio of
work. We work frequently with part-time M.A. students to accommodate other demands
on students’ time. We encourage the development of emergent, innovative formats and
project types as valuable contributions to contemporary American studies practice,
relevant to a student’s professional development plans.
Because American Studies is an international field with scholars all over the world, and the U.S. has significant impacts transnationally, M.A. students from outside the U.S. are a regular part of our M.A. cohort, and we encourage our M.A. students to consider semester exchanges abroad. The Program also supports American Studies M.A. student and faculty participation in the annual Radboud University Duisburg Essen Spring Academy (RUDESA). RUDESA is a graduate student symposium shared by our Program and 2 others internationally, held every year in the Netherlands and Germany. Every two years, we welcome the winner of the British Association of American Studies’ Peter Boyle Award into the M.A. cohort.
Applicants to the M.A. program do not have to have prior majors in American Studies.
The American Studies M.A. is generously supported by endowment funds that allow us to award significant financial aid to M.A. students enrolled full time, through teaching, research, or community organization assistantship placements, as well as scholarship support as appropriate for students’ own M.A. research.
We invite and encourage people from all underrepresented groups, first-generation college and graduate students, McNair Scholars, and military service veterans to apply. We also invite and encourage established professionals forging a career shift to apply, as well as former volunteers from organizations like the Peace Corps or AmeriCorps.
For further information about our program and the American Studies degree requirements
please contact the Director Ulrich Adelt by email at email@example.com