Objectives of Work
The Graduate Program in American Studies at the University of Texas at Austin is dedicated to the interdisciplinary study of the myriad historical and contemporary cultures of the United States, in both domestic and transnational settings. We endeavor to produce sophisticated cultural analysts who are able to navigate a wide range of cultural texts and diverse sources--from Puritan sermons to reality television shows--to gain holistic insights into complicated and often disparate cultural phenomena and trends. As part of our desire to cultivate a thoughtful and engaged citizenry, we train our students to become solid writers, persuasive speakers, and expansive critical thinkers. We seek to instill in our students a broad understanding of our multicultural society's political, economic, cultural, and social complexity. We are committed to studying the influence of other nations and cultures on our society, and the impact of the United States--economically, politically, and especially culturally--on other nations and people.
Although the field of American Studies is too small to be included in national surveys that rank large departments or professional schools, the Department of American Studies at Texas is widely regarded as one of the top American Studies programs or departments in the United States. About half of the department's Ph.D. recipients since 1970 have published their dissertations as books. Most have entered college and university teaching, securing tenure-track positions in recent years at such institutions as Miami University of Ohio, New York University, Pennsylvania State University, Rutgers University, Tulane University, University of California, Davis, University of Illinois, University of Virginia, and the University of Wisconsin. Two graduates have served as college presidents, at least three as university deans, and several as department chairs. Although the majority of our graduate students pursue academic careers, significant numbers have gone into journalism, radio, TV and film work, museum curating, law, public relations, advertising, government service, secondary school teaching and administration, and creative writing. Many have won awards for their work, including a MacArthur Fellowship (“genius grant”) and a Pulitzer Prize.
The Program of Work
The courses that American Studies students take outside the department train them in areas of expertise relevant to their central interests. With the approval of the graduate advisor in American Studies and in the area chosen, these courses may be in any University department (for example, Anthropology, Art, English, Government, History, Radio/ Television/Film, Sociology), or program (African and African American Studies, Folklore, Latin American Studies, Mexican-American Studies), or professional school (the LBJ School of Public Affairs, the schools of Business Administration, Architecture, Education, Law). Individual faculty are especially interested in: American intellectual, cultural and artistic life; the West and the role of the region in American culture; museum studies and material culture; religion, medicine, science, and technology in American life; the public arts and popular culture; the relations of American culture with Europe, Asia and Africa; environmental studies; women's studies, African-American and Mexican-American Studies.
Academic and Professional Integrity
Integrity and trust are fundamental to the Department of American Studies. They contribute directly to the quality of graduate education and they reach far beyond the campus to your overall standing within the academic community. Our department relies on The University of Texas Student Standards of Conduct for enforcement, but promotes ideals that are higher than merely enforceable standards
The University expects all to students to obey the law, show respect for other members of the university community, perform contractual obligations, and maintain absolute integrity and the highest standards in scholastic work and teaching responsibilities. In short, each graduate student is expected to work as a professional in every respect.
The faculty of the Department of American Studies, in turn, seeks to formulate a curriculum that will prepare you for advanced work in a wide range of scholarly fields. It is the responsibility of individual faculty, and of the department as a whole, to provide clear objectives and responsive feedback to all areas of graduate work. Ultimately, the student is responsible for seeking adequate academic advice, for knowing and meeting degree requirements, and for enrolling in appropriate courses to ensure orderly and timely progress toward a degree. Frequent adviser contact provides students with current academic information and promotes progress toward educational goals.
For more on academic integrity, and especially avoiding problems of plagiarism, see http://deanofstudents.utexas.edu/sjs/acint_student.php