Ph.D Program

The Ph.D. is designed for those students who wish to pursue original, interdisciplinary research and whose professional goals require a doctorate. In recent years, American Studies graduates have gone on to positions at a wide variety of colleges and universities, including Duke, Case Western Reserve, Temple University, the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, several campuses of the Pennsylvania State University, and the University of Richmond.

Beyond the required core courses in American Studies, graduate students have wide latitude to choose a program of study appropriate to their interests. Our special areas of strength include: African American Studies, Art History, Early American History and Culture, Law and American Culture, Material Culture, Popular Culture, Ritual Studies, Women’s and Gender Studies, Cultural Studies, Visual Studies, and Religious Studies.

Together with an advisor, students will design an educational program for themselves that is both individualized and coherent. Recent dissertation topics have ranged from the social and cultural history of the George Washington Birthplace Memorial to slave literacy, from public housing in San Francisco to celebrity and cultural crossover in the late nineteenth century, and from the friendships amongst abolitionists to the politics of commemoration of the Civil Rights movement.

The Program offers assistantships to funded M.A./Ph.D. and Ph.D. students that provide practical experiences in American Studies-related fields like archive and manuscript collections, editing, and museum research. All Ph.D. students receive teacher training and serve as teaching assistants, and most have the opportunity to teach a course of their own design after passing their Ph.D. qualifying exams.