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Graduate Catalog | 2005-2007
College of Liberal Arts

American Studies

to courses in AMS American Studies »

Master of Arts
Doctor of Philosophy

Facilities for Graduate Work

The University offers several unique resources for research on America. The Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center includes celebrated rare book and manuscript collections in American and modern literature; the Gernsheim Collection, one of the world's largest archives of photographs, negatives, and books related to the history of photography; the Performing Arts Collection, with material related to the theatre, movies, vaudeville, the circus, and the history of magic; and the New York Journal-American photographic archive. The Nettie Lee Benson Latin American Collection is one of the world's great archives of materials about and from Latin America, and the Center for American History contains the early archives of Texas, the largest collection now extant of historical manuscripts dealing with Texas, and an extensive collection of rare and scarce books, pamphlets, and broadsides related to Texas and Southwestern history. The holdings of the Jack S. Blanton Museum of Art include the Mari and James A. Michener Collection of American Painting and the C. R. Smith Collection of Art of the American West. Winedale, an outdoor museum of restored nineteenth-century Texas buildings, is a center for research in historic preservation and material culture.

Convenient to the University are other research facilities, including the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum, the State Library and Archives of Texas, the United Daughters of the Confederacy Library, the Catholic Archives of Texas, the Episcopal Archives of the United States, the Daughters of the Republic of Texas Museum, and a United States Geological Survey research library.

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Areas of Study

American studies is an area studies program focused on the cultural and intellectual life of the United States of America. Its students analyze the American past and present from the perspectives of several disciplines, learn to synthesize their knowledge, and acquire the habits of mind needed for cultural analysis.

The program offers concentrations in American intellectual, cultural, and artistic life; race, ethnicity, and gender; cultural geography and material culture; the public arts and popular culture; and the West and its role in American culture. The program also invites students to take advantage of the resources of the Center for African and African American Studies, the Center for Asian American Studies, the Center for Mexican American Studies, the Center for Women's and Gender Studies, and the Americo Paredes Center for Cultural Studies.

The courses that American studies students take outside the program train them in areas of expertise relevant to their central interests. With the approval of the graduate adviser in American studies, these courses may be in any of the liberal arts or in architecture, business, communication, education, fine arts, law, or public affairs.

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Graduate Studies Committee

The following faculty members served on the Graduate Studies Committee in the spring semester 2004-2005.

Robert H. Abzug
Ricardo C. Ainslie
Walter D. Burnham
Janet M. Davis
Ozro Luke Davis Jr.
Elizabeth Engelhardt
Douglas E. Foley
Neil F. Foley
William E. Forbath
William H. Goetzmann
Don Graham
Linda Dalrymple Henderson
Steven D. Hoelscher
Nhi T. Lieu
Jeffrey L. Meikle
Julia L. Mickenberg
Richard H. Pells
Elspeth D. Rostow
Thomas G. Schatz
Mark C. Smith
Denise A. Spellberg
Janet Staiger
Thomas F. Staley
William M. Stott
Pauline T. Strong
Sharon L. Strover
Shirley E. Thompson
Janice S. Todd
Ron C. Tyler
Seth L. Wolitz
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Admission Requirements

The American studies program seeks students of demonstrated ability and ambition. In general, students entering the program have a strong undergraduate record--a grade point average of 3.50 in upper-division or major-related coursework and a combined (verbal and quantitative) Graduate Record Examinations General Test score of 1250. These scores are by no means absolute minimums, however, and students who have proven they can do excellent work in some way not reflected by grade point average and test score are encouraged to apply. All applicants must have three letters of recommendation sent directly to the graduate adviser.

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Degree Requirements

Master of Arts

The student's program must total thirty semester hours of credit and must have the approval of the graduate adviser. Requirements are twelve semester hours in American studies, consisting of six hours in the research course (American Studies 390) and six hours in the required methodology courses (American Studies 393 and 394); six semester hours in a field of concentration outside American studies; an additional six semester hours in that field, another field or fields, or American studies; and a six-semester-hour thesis requiring interdisciplinary research in the general area of American culture.

In lieu of a master's thesis, a student may, with the permission of the graduate adviser, submit a research report, special fieldwork, or an experimental project. The six hours of credit otherwise earned in the thesis course must be made up in additional coursework, and the student must also take American Studies 398R, raising the master's degree requirement under this option to thirty-three hours.

Doctor of Philosophy

To obtain the doctoral degree, a student must demonstrate reading competence in a foreign language, pass the American studies oral qualifying examination, and write and defend a dissertation that is an original contribution to knowledge about American culture and involves interdisciplinary research.

A student prepares for the qualifying examination by taking courses in American studies and other disciplines of interest; these courses must have the approval of the graduate adviser. Through such coursework, the student masters four fields in different disciplines; these fields, one of which must be American studies, are those on which the student is questioned in the oral qualifying examination.

While preparing for the oral examination, a student with a master's degree or the equivalent must take courses that include at least twelve semester hours of American studies beyond work done for the master's degree. Six of these hours must be in research courses; the other six must be methodology courses, American Studies 393 and 394, unless the student has already taken such courses while working on the master's degree. The graduate adviser may require additional courses beyond the twelve-hour minimum, depending on the student's preparation.

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For More Information

Campus address: Garrison Hall (GAR) 303, phone (512) 471-7277, fax (512) 471-3540; campus mail code: B7100

Mailing address: The University of Texas at Austin, Graduate Program, Department of American Studies, 1 University Station B7100, Austin TX 78712



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Graduate Catalog | 2005-2007 American Studies program | courses

Fields of Study

    Office of the Registrar     University of Texas at Austin copyright 2005
    Official Publications 16 Aug 2005