Graduate Programs

The American Studies master's degree program provides exposure to a wide range of social, cultural and political phenomena in the U.S., past and present. The program fosters critical thinking, an awareness of the connection between social justice and scholarship, and public engagement.

The American Studies master's degree program is an eight–course sequence of study. A standard program encompasses two semesters of four courses each. Our students come from across the country and generally complete the degree in one year while in residence here in Providence. They seek to explore a particular specialization in scholarship, add intellectual depth to their existing professional or academic life, determine if they want to continue on to a Ph.D. program, or to prepare for doctoral work. Notably, recent course offerings have included transnational classroom experiences, joining students based in Providence via the Internet to students outside the US, an experience in keeping with the transnational framework of the program. A required seminar — "Introduction to Interdisciplinary American Studies" — also adopts a transnational frame. The program encourages participation from international students but also accepts U.S. applicants.

Master's recipients in American Studies have gone on to doctoral studies in American Studies, English and History, professional programs in journalism and public affairs, and employment and internships in advertising, publishing, government service and teaching.

The Department of American Studies at Brown was founded in 1945 as a collaborative as well as interdisciplinary enterprise. The first catalog statement explained that its purpose was "to provide the student with a more comprehensive and better unified knowledge of American Civilization... than would be possible within the limits of a single department." This rigorous interdisciplinary approach still informs the program's goal of reaching a better understanding of the diverse cultures, groups, and experiences that make up American Studies. In recent years, the Department has expanded its commitment to global and international contextualization, public engagement, and new media understandings.

The American Studies one-year A.M. program is no longer accepting applications. Students interested in applying for our combined A.M./Ph.D. program can learn more here.

Completion Requirements

Eight courses which include at least two 2000-level seminars, one of which must be AMST 2020. Students may take courses in any department or program in consultation with the Graduate Advisor. The program features course-work and a final ePortfolio. Students have the opportunity for community engagement or work with a local cultural or political organization as part of their course of study.

Alumni Careers

Learn More


Department Chair
Kiri Miller
MA Director
Susan Smulyan

Contact and Location

Department of American Studies

Mailing Address

Brown University
Box 1892
Visit the Department of American Studies