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Steven Hoelscher, Chair Burdine 437, Mailcode B7100, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-7277

Admissions Frequently Asked Questions

Question: Can I apply to the PhD program without a Masters?

Answer: Yes, but you will be admitted as a Masters student. You should apply for the highest degree you intend to pursue, either a MA or PhD.

Question: If I apply with a Bachelors degree, can I be admitted directly to the Ph.D. program?

Answer: No. All students who enter with a B.A. must complete a Masters degree in American Studies before being admitted to the Ph.D. program. After the M.A. is completed, students are reviewed for doctoral eligibility by the Graduate Studies Committee. 

Question: I have an undergraduate degree in another discipline, am I eligible to apply to American Studies?

Answer: Yes, you are eligible to apply. Because American Studies is interdisciplinary in nature, we accept B.A. degrees from a number of different disciplines. Each applicant is reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

Question: I have a Masters degree in Comparative Literature. If I am admitted, will my Masters degree be accepted, admitting me directly to the Ph.D. program?

Answer: In most cases the answer is yes. However, there are cases where the American Studies admissions committee may feel that the student’s Masters degree has not adequately prepared the student for our Ph.D. program. In this situation, the student may be required to take additional coursework, or work towards another Masters degree in American Studies before being admitted to the Ph.D. program.

Question: What’s the minimum GRE score required to apply?

Answer: There is no minimum score requirement for the GRE. You must, however, report an official score to the Graduate and International Admissions Center. It is recommended that you prepare for the test so that the score you submit represents your best effort.

Question: Can you give me any guidelines for the personal statement?

Answer: Give careful consideration to the personal statement--don’t try to write it in one week. Be sure to include what you want to do, why you want to do it here, and how you got to this point.

Question: What should I submit for the writing sample?

Answer: The writing sample should be something along the lines of a seminar paper not longer than 20 pages.

Question: How do I apply for a fellowship?

Answer: All applicants are considered for the University Preemptive fellowship. There are no special forms for you to fill out. The Preemptive Fellowship competition is sponsored and funded by the Office of Graduate Studies. The American Studies admissions committee will decide on nominations during the admissions review process. All files completed by January 1st will be considered.

Question: When will I hear from the Department about an admissions decision?

Answer: Notification letters will go out late February/early March.

Question: Are incoming students considered for TA or AI positions?

Answer: The program has very few teaching assistantships and assistant instructor positions and these are rarely filled by first year students. The TA and AI positions are awarded on a merit and seniority basis and usually filled by students further along in the program. New students may find work on campus in other departments, but unfortunately, there are no guarantees.

Question: How do I submit my writing sample or CV?

Answer: Once you have paid and submitted your application, you can go back through the status check to upload the CV and writing sample.

Last Updated December 6, 2010

Graduate Coordinator

Chad Crawford
Room: BUR 436C
Phone: 512-232-2332
Email me


Graduate Advisor

Dr. Stephen Marshall
Room: GRG 234
Phone: 512-471-4361
Email me

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