American Studies (AMST)

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American Studies offers an interdisciplinary program of study leading to the Masters of Arts and the Doctor of Philosophy degrees. Research and teaching in the Department focus on two intellectual themes: the cultures of everyday life, and cultural constructions of identity and difference. These themes drive our examinations of multiple cultures within the U.S., across the Americas, and transnationally. They also embrace numerous cultural studies approaches, including material and visual culture, ethnography and life history, popular culture and media studies, queer studies, studies of the body and sexualities, gender studies, food studies, digital cultures, critical race studies, and cultural landscapes and geography. Students develop expertise in multiple methodologies and take courses in many departments across the University. The Department benefits from a large and diverse affiliate faculty, strong relationships with cultural institutions such as the Smithsonian museums, and ready access to many other museums in the Baltimore-Washington corridor, government agencies, archives and historical societies, and multiple local communities. Students may also take advantage of graduate certificate programs for which our courses apply, including Museum Scholarship and Material Culture, Critical Theory, Historic Preservation, and Women's Studies. The program in U.S. Latina/o Studies is contained within the Department, and we have a leadership role in developing Native American Studies.

Admissions Information

Many admitted students have previously majored in American Studies, History, English, Ethnic Studies, Women's Studies, Anthropology, Art or Architectural History, Journalism, and Communications. However, applicants with broad backgrounds in arts and humanities and/or the behavioral and social sciences are also given serious consideration if interdisciplinary, American Studies-related subject matter or theories have been emphasized. Application requirements for both M.A. and Ph.D. programs include: 1) Graduate School application, 2) statement of purpose (including research interests), 3) three letters of recommendation, 4) official academic transcripts for all undergraduate and graduate work, 5) GRE scores, 6) a writing sample, and 7) a resume or curriculum vitae. International applicants must also submit TOEFL scores. Applicants who do not yet have M.A. degrees and who desire to obtain the Ph. D. degree at Maryland should apply directly to the Ph.D. program.

Application Deadlines
Type of Applicant Fall Spring

Domestic Applicants; US Citizens and Permanent Residents

Deadline: December 15

International Applicants seeking admission under F (student) or J (exchange visitor) visas, as well as those seeking admissions under A,E,G,H,I and L visas and immigrants.

Deadline: December 15

Application Requirements

  1. Graduate School application
  2. Statement of purpose, including research interests
  3. 3 letters of recommendation
  4. Official transcripts of all undergraduate and graduate work
  5. GRE scores
  6. Writing sample
  7. Resume or Curriculum Vitae

Degree Requirements

Master of Arts (M.A.)
Students take a total of 30 credits of course work in American Studies and related disciplines and demonstrate the ability to conduct independent research by submitting an acceptable thesis or a scholarly paper in lieu of a thesis.

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
Ph. D. students complete at least 30 credit hours that are organized around two areas of specialization. Students must also pass two comprehensive examinations (one general, the other specialized) and, after submitting a detailed prospectus, write and defend an interdisciplinary dissertation that answers significant questions about American culture(s) and experiences, past or present.

Facilities and Special Resources

The Washington, D.C. and Baltimore areas offer extraordinary research facilities for the study of past and present Americans' experiences and culture, including the Library of Congress, the National Archives, the Smithsonian's many institutions, the National Park Service, the Maryland Historical Society, and the Walters Art Museum and National Gallery, and other cultural institutions. The National Archives II, National Trust Library and Library of American Broadcasting are all located on the College Park campus. There are also numerous local and regional-focused museums, collections, archives, libraries, and "think tanks" that can support students' interests in issues and topics related to identity and difference and the cultures of everyday lfe. Through consortia arrangements with universities in the area, including George Washington University and Georgetown University, students may augment their programs with courses otherwise unavailable at the University of Maryland.

Financial Assistance

A limited number of teaching assistantships are available in addition to graduate fellowships. Students who hold assistantships typically teach two sections of AMST 201, Introduction to American Studies, or AMST 205, Material Aspects of American Life.

Contact Information

Additional information on program offerings, degree requirements and financial aid can be obtained on the department's Web site ( and by writing to:

Director of Graduate Studies
4115 Susquehanna Hall Department of American Studies
College Park
MD  20742-5620
Telephone: (301) 405-1354
Fax: (301) 314-9453

Courses: AMST

Related Programs and Campus Units

Historic Preservation and Real Estate Development

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