Program Director

Dolores V. Sisco
245 DeBartolo Hall
(330) 941-3422

Program Description

The Master of Arts in American studies program is designed to provide students with train­ing in the content, theory, and methods for studying the history and culture of the United States and is designed to provide both training and experience in developing and implementing public humanities and educational programs. Special emphasis is placed on the application of the hu­manities in community, museum, and school settings. The program offers a core of courses in American studies, art and literature, history, working-class studies, and public practice, along with opportunities to work in local museums, schools, community projects, and other public hu­manities programs. Courses for the program have been drawn from five different colleges, provid­ing students the chance to gain a truly broad and diverse education while deepening their knowl­edge of American culture. The M.A. in American studies also offers a teaching track designed for secondary school teachers.

Admission Requirements

Students must have a cumulative grade point average in undergraduate study of 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale). The bachelor’s degree may be in any field, but students should have taken at least 12 hours of upper-division coursework in some combination of the arts, humanities, and/or social sciences. Applicants must include a personal statement detailing goals and decision for pursuing graduate study in American Studies.

Graduate Faculty

Donna M. DeBlasio, Ph.D., Professor
Twentieth-century US history; applied history; oral history

John M. Hazy, Ph.D., Professor, Chair
Community health; life course issues; teaching effectiveness

Martha Pallante, Ph.D., Professor
Early American studies; material culture; pedagogy

Linda J. Strom, Ph.D., Associate Professor

Degree Requirements

Students must complete 36 semester hours of coursework at the graduate level.

Required Core Courses
AMER 6900Approaches to American Studies3
AMER 6990Independent Project 13
Practice Area
Select two credits from one of the following tracks:6
Teaching Track
Select two of the following:
Teaching Working-Class Studies
Interdisciplinary Teaching
Teaching of Literature
Teaching of Writing
English Education Workshop
Studies in English Education
Studies in the Teaching of History
Public Practice Track
Curriculum Development in VBME
Humanities in the Community
Public Humanities Internship
Focus Area
Select at least four courses from one of the following areas:12
Cultural Studies
Special Anthropological Problems
Twentieth Century Art to 1960
Twentieth Century Art from 1960
Early American Studies
Nineteenth-Century American Studies
Twentieth-Century American
Working Class Literature
Studies in Film
American Architectural History 1
American Architectural History 2
Oral History
Special Sociological Problems
American History
Educational Challenges in Historical Perspective
Readings in American History
Research Seminar in American Colonial History
Research Seminar in 19th-Century America
Research Seminar in 20th-Century America
American Material Culture
Working-Class Studies
Class and Culture
Introduction to Working-Class Studies
Teaching Working-Class Studies
Working Class Literature
Labor in US History
Interpretation and Preservation of the Industrial Built Environment
Public History
Program Planning and Evaluation
Educational Policy, Politics, and Change
Document Design and Production
Publications Issues and Management
Professional Communication
Conservation of the Historic Built Environment
Applied History
Conservation of the Historic Built Environment
Applied History
Practicum in Applied History
Historical Editing
Museum Curation and Interpretation 1
Museum Curation and Interpretation 2
Special Topics in Applied History
Distribution Requirement
Select four additional course with at least one from each of the other foucus areas above.12
Total Semester Hours36

Learning Outcomes

  1.  Students will analyze the various ways in which American culture is complex and diverse. Understanding American culture requires attention to how American diversity is reflected in the ideas, events, trends, texts, and issues created and used by Americans in everyday life as well as in community life and politics.
  2. Students will explore and practice strategies for doing interdisciplinary analysis, which relies on the development of complex inquiry, selection of appropriate materials and concepts from a wide array of options, and the application of appropriate methods for interpreting and integrating diverse sources.
  3. Students will create papers and projects in courses that demonstrate their ability to effectively communicate cultural knowledge and analyze why and how their choices are effective. This requires students to make appropriate choices about format, content, organization, and the use of evidence based on one’s purpose, audience, and situation.
  4. Students will develop connections between campus and community through papers, projects, and internships that apply the academic work to realms beyond the academy.
  5. Students will plan, develop, write, and publicly present original research through their independent (thesis) projects.
  6. Students will acquire professional experiences appropriate to the field of American Studies.

Graduate Courses

AMER 5845    Work in America    3 s.h.

Examines the changing characteristics, expectations, and representations of work in America. Includes the exploration of demographic, historic, economic, technological, sociological, religious, ethical, popular, and poetic perspectives on work.
Prereq.: junior standing.
Cross-listed: MGT 5845.

AMER 5850    Class and Culture    3 s.h.

Theories of social class structure and formation, relationships between class and culture, representations of class and work, intersections of class with other aspects of cultural identity (race, gender, sexuality, place), and theories and methods of working-class studies.
Prereq.: graduate standing or AMER 3701.

AMER 6900    Approaches to American Studies    3 s.h.

Introduction to American studies with emphasis on history of the field, interdisciplinary approaches, and cultural diversity.

AMER 6910    Introduction to Working-Class Studies    3 s.h.

Introduction to developments, approaches, and issues in new working-class studies, including intersections of class with other categories of identity, disciplinary and interdisciplinary perspectives, representations of the working class in the arts and media, and political and economic constructions of class.

AMER 6930    Humanities in the Community    3 s.h.

Opportunities, challenges, and strategies for developing, promoting, and implementing public humanities projects in various settings, including community development and organizing, community-based adult education, and programs in museums and other public humanities organizations.
Prereq.: AMER 6900.

AMER 6970    Teaching Working-Class Studies    3 s.h.

Interdisciplinary teaching strategies focused on incorporating attention to work, class, diversity, and local history and culture into K-12 and college courses.

AMER 6975    Interdisciplinary Teaching    3 s.h.

Introduction to interdisciplinarity and its application in the classroom with emphasis on integration of humanities and social sciences.

AMER 6980    Public Humanities Internship    3 s.h.

Supervised work-and-learning experience in American studies under the direction of an American studies core faculty member and an employee of a participating organization.

AMER 6982    Special Topics    3 s.h.

Specialized topics selected by the staff. May be repeated once with a different topic.
Prereq.: Permission of the American studies program coordinator and instructor.

AMER 6985    Independent Study    3 s.h.

Individual study in American studies or a related discipline under the supervision of a faculty member. May be repeated once.
Prereq.: Permission of the American studies program coordinator and instructor.

AMER 6990    Independent Project    1-3 s.h.

Completion of individual project in a community or school setting. May be repeated for a maximum of three semester hours.
Prereq.: Proposal and review meeting with committee.