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Humanities & Teacher Education

Master of Arts in American Studies

A Master of Arts is offered in American studies. This program involves courses offered in the summers and in the evenings during the fall and spring terms. Studies include economics, political science, history of the United States, literature of the United States, American moral traditions, and elective courses involving the American experience.

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As a general rule, it will be expected that the applicants for the master’s degree in American studies will have completed an undergraduate major in one of the five basic disciplines of the American studies program: economics, English, history, religion, or political science.

Course Requirements

The Master of Arts in American studies is a thirty-six-unit degree. The degree program consists of seven mandatory core courses and two elective courses. The following core courses are required of all students:

CourseIDCourse DescriptionUnits
Required Courses:
AMST 610 Orientation to American Studies 4
AMST 620 Directed Readings in American Studies 4
ENG 680 Seminar in Literature 8
HIST 530 Social and Intellectual History of the United States 4
POSC 518 Contemporary American Ideologies 4
REL 635 American Moral Traditions 4
Elective Courses:
Students must complete two classes from the list below but may not take more than three courses (including core classes) from any one discipline.
COM 512 Media Impact and U.S. Minorities 4
SPE 587 Rhetorical Theory* 3
SPE 588 Principles of Rhetorical Criticism 3
*American studies students must concurrently enroll in SPE 599 for one unit when enrolled in SPE 587 or SPE 588.
MUS 511 American Music (with consent of instructor) 4
ENG 680 Seminar in Literature (Topics in American Literature: Major Writers) 4
ENG 511 Women Writers: A Multicultural Approach 4
HIST 500 Native Americans 4
HIST 520 Colonial and Revolutionary America 4
HIST 521 United States: Early National Period 4
HIST 522 Civil War and Reconstruction 4
HIST 523 United States: 1877-1920 4
HIST 524 United States: 1920-1952 4
HIST 525 United States Since 1952 4
HIST 527 Westward Movement in the United States 4
ECON 522 Public Finance 4
Political Science
POSC 521 Public Policy 4
POSC 527 Political Parties and Interest Groups 4
POSC 537 Urban Development and Problems 4
POSC 542 American Foreign Policy 4
REL 524 Christian Ethics 4
REL 525 Ethics of Western Cultures 4
REL 528 Religious Freedom and the Law 4
REL 538 History of Religion in America 4
  History of the Restoration Movement 4
No grade below "B-" will count toward the degree but shall be computed in the grade point average. A student who earns more than one grade below "B-" will be dismissed from the program. The student must have a grade point average of 3.0 or better in all work presented for the degree.

Examinations and Final Requirements

Each student must satisfactorily pass a comprehensive examination which covers all areas of course work in the program. The capstone reading course will assist the student in integrating the course work completed and serve as preparation for the comprehensive examination.