The Master of Arts in American Studies is a free-standing degree. Students admitted to the M.A. program may hold bachelor’s degrees in any field and will be considered for admission based on the merit of their application. Students nearing completion of the M.A. program may apply to  a doctoral program, either at KU or another university.

Admission to Graduate Studies

An applicant seeking to pursue graduate study in the College may be admitted as either a degree-seeking or non-degree seeking student. Policies and procedures of Graduate Studies govern the process of Graduate admission. These may be found in the Graduate Studies section of the online catalog.

Please consult the Departments & Programs section of the online catalog for information regarding program-specific admissions criteria and requirements. Special admissions requirements pertain to Interdisciplinary Studies degrees, which may be found in the Graduate Studies section of the online catalog.

Admission to the M.A. in American Studies

Completion of a bachelor’s degree is required of all applicants. Admission is based primarily on the applicant’s statement of academic objectives, record of prior studies at the undergraduate or graduate level, and references from persons familiar with the applicant’s work. Evidence of preparation for graduate study may include substantial work in American Studies or related fields, such as American history, literature, art, media, sociology, anthropology, political science, journalism, or interdisciplinary studies. Prospective students must take the Graduate Record Examination and have the results forwarded to the Graduate Application Processing Center.

Submit your graduate application online. Send all other requested application materials to the department:

The University of Kansas
American Studies Program
Graduate Applications
Bailey Hall
1440 Jayhawk Blvd., Room 213
Lawrence, KS 66045-7545


M.A. Degree Requirements

The Master of Arts in American Studies requires 30 credit hours, including courses and the completion of a research article or thesis.

Core Courses (12)
AMS 801Introduction to American Studies (offered every fall)3
AMS 802Theorizing America (offered every fall)3
AMS 803Research Methods in American Studies (offered every spring)3
AMS 804Research Seminar (offered every fall)3
Elective Methods (3)
1 course selected by the student and advisor provides methodological support for the student's research.3
Elective Topics (9)
Three courses constitute a coherent concentration, including historical depth in a defined area that prepares the student for either the master's thesis or publishable article.9
Thesis Hours (6)
After completing required courses, the student enrolls in AMS 899 and continues enrolling in thesis hours until their article or thesis is accepted by their committee.6
Research Project and Defense (0)
Students complete a project of original research, resulting in a thesis or scholarly article. A committee of three faculty members evaluates the project, and the student provides an oral defense.

Handbook for Graduate Students

The department has prepared a handbook that summarizes procedures that a graduate student follows in working toward any 1 of the 3 graduate degrees. It contains a summary of regulations and departmental procedures and the rationale behind these regulations. The handbook is available online via the department webpage.