Graduate Program in American Studies

Graduate Studies

Master's Program   <--Click to view requirements

The Master’s degree in American Studies requires the successful completion of 30 credits of work. Master's degree candidates are expected to complete 24 credits of course work, including 6 credits in two core courses and at least 12 credits in one interdisciplinary area.  They have the option of completing their final six credits either preparing a Master’s thesis or taking two additional elective courses.

The Interdisciplinary Areas of Focus in American Studies at Rutgers - Newark:

Race, Ethnicity, and Modern Society
Urban Cultures
Cultural History and Artistic Production
The United States within a Global Context
The Operations of Social Institutions
Women’s and Gender Studies


Ph. D. Program <-- Click to view requirements

The Ph.D. degree in American Studies requires the successful completion of 60 credits of work. Doctoral candidates are expected to complete 42 credits of course work, including 6 credits in two core courses, 6 credits in upper-level reading and research seminars, and 3 credits in public humanities. Students are also required to complete 18 credits of dissertation research.

Degree candidates must complete at least 12 credits of coursework in each of their exam fields: an interdisciplinary field, a disciplinary field, and a third field defined by the student's dissertation topic. In concert with their advisor, students will develop a focus within each of these areas.

Interdisciplinary Fields in American Studies at Rutgers University-Newark:

Race, Ethnicity, and Modern Society
Urban Cultures
Cultural History and Artistic Production
The United States within a Global Context
The Operations of Social Institutions
Women and Gender Studies

Disciplinary Fields:
English
History
Political Science
Jazz History and Research
Urban Systems

Within each of these areas, students will work with an advisor to develop an appropriate reading list for their doctoral exams. For example, an interdisciplinary field might be defined this way:  “Race, Ethnicity, and Modern Society: African American Literature and Politics in the 20th Century.” A disciplinary field might be defined this way: “History: The Operations of Social Institutions: The Labor Movement in U.S. Politics and Culture since the Great Depression.”

The third field, or dissertation field, should strengthen the connection between doctoral exams and the writing of a dissertation proposal. This field, while as richly conceived and researched as the first two, and developed in dialogue with the other two, will be defined by the student’s dissertation topic.

A student who works in the two fields above and plans to write a dissertation  on Newark public schools in the Progressive Era might define their dissertation field broadly so as to place the dissertation  in the fullest possible context: “Public Education  in Newark Schools, 1880-1930.” Readings for this field would explore the history of public education and the history of public education in Newark, in New Jersey, in comparable cities, and in the U.S.A in general. The student would also be expected to read major theoretical works on education, studies of the Progressive Era, and major works that illuminate American education before and after the Progressive Era. Most of the works read for this field would emphasize the main issues to be explored in Newark and the larger array of social, cultural and political questions that will be addressed in the context of Newark. By reading deeply, the student should be able to develop the fullest implications of her dissertation topic and its place in academic literature and public discourse. Most of the readings for this field would be in secondary sources, but an identification of relevant primary sources and some research in them will help the student make the transition from taking the exams to writing the dissertation proposal. Of course, a student working on a more literary topic would be expected to read works of literature that will figure prominently in the dissertation.