Graduate Certificate in American Studies

American Studies is the multidisciplinary inquiry into the history, literature, art, politics, religion, sociology and culture of the United States from its origins to the present. This interdisciplinary approach to culture and society is valuable as part of a general liberal arts education and also is of particular importance in our increasingly multicultural society. The Advanced Certificate in American Studies exposes students to the foundations of American history and culture with particular attention to issues of race, gender, class and the formation of American identity. Primary and secondary sources are taken from multimedia examples in historical archives, modern film, advertising, architectural objects and performance art. Students will further develop their graduate-level analytic and writing abilities, as well as their advanced research skills.

Program Design

The American Studies Certificate consists of 12 credits (four, 3-credit courses). Courses are taught through online instruction and may include teleconference or onsite instruction.

Required Courses and Suggested Sequence

Seminar in American Studies (3 credits)

American Studies is an interdisciplinary field of study that looks at the literature, history, art, religion, media, film, policy, face and culture of the United States. Using critical and cultural theory, the field interrogates what it means to be an American and what it means to understand Americans and the Americas. In this course, we will consider the beginnings of the field of study known as American Studies, as well as several distinct literary and historical moments. Each unit will focus on a different vision of America (and American Studies). The course also will develop students' graduate-level reading, writing and analytic abilities and familiarize students with resources in the field.

American Studies: Theories and Methods (3 credits)

This course is designed to give the student an exposure to the history, theories and methods of the changing and developing discipline of American Studies. American Studies has evolved to be a dynamic discipline engaging the multiplicity of American identities and the role of shifting global influences on American identity and national formation. In its theoretical approaches and methodological commitments, American Studies exists at the cutting edge of academic work. From its roots in the Myth-Symbol school, American Studies has gone on to embrace developments in literary and cultural theory and adapt them to its subject focus. Through rich readings and engagement with primary sources, this course will help the student develop the skills and background of a practicing scholar in the field.

Choice of one 3-credit elective in American culture, arts and history:

  • American History, Culture and the Arts
  • American Modernism
  • American Material Culture
  • Culture of the Jazz Age
  • American Mass Media and Mass Culture
  • American Art History
  • American Women Writers

Choice of one 3-credit elective in American racial and ethnic diversity or American gender and sexuality:

  • Race and Representation in U. S. History
  • Race and Gender in U.S. History Since the Civil War
  • Immigrant Literature
  • American Queer Sexualities: U.S. History Since the Civil War
  • Diagnosing Desire: Gender and Medicine in U.S. History
  • Women and Humor
  • American Women Writers
  • Native American and U.S. Culture
  • African-American Literature
  • Modern Gender and Sexuality Through Science Fiction Literature

Admission and Advisement

Admission to the certificate program requires the applicant to submit an official transcript of his or her bachelor’s degree along with a complete application. Advising will be provided by the certificate program coordinator, Dr. Sabrina Fuchs Abrams.

While the 12 credits of this certificate may be transferred into the M.A. in liberal studies, acceptance will require candidates to apply to the master’s degree program and complete the full admission process. Completion of the graduate certificate does not guarantee admission to the master’s program.

Advanced certificates may be incorporated into a related master's degree for those meeting the program admission requirements.

Apply online or request information for more details on the certificate in American Studies.

Tuition and Fees

Students completing this certificate pay the following tuition and fees:

Federal financial aid is not available unless concurrently matriculated in a master’s degree program.