Nov 30, 2023  
2022 - 2023 Graduate Catalog 
2022 - 2023 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

American Studies Program



View the American Studies Faculty .

The American Studies Program

William & Mary’s Graduate Program in American Studies provides a flexible plan for interdisciplinary study of the United States and the Americas. The Program offers three degree tracks: the Ph.D., the M.A./Ph.D., and the M.A.. The Program also offers a combination track with the School of Law that leads to an M.A./J.D..

Full-time M.A./Ph.D. and Ph.D. students admitted into the Program receive funding packages that include tuition and a stipend for five years.  Funded graduate students fulfill assistantships that provide practical experiences in American Studies-related fields such as archive and manuscript collections, editing, museum work and college-level teacher training. Ph.D. students can also apply to teach a course of their own design after serving as a teaching assistant and passing their Ph.D. qualifying exams.

Opportunities to earn small stipends are often available to full-time M.A. students.

Program Description

Our M.A. and Ph.D. programs consist of coursework and independent research. Together with an advisor, graduate students choose a program of study appropriate to their interests. Our areas of strength include: Africana Studies, Art and Visual Culture, Critical Race Studies, Environmental Studies, Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies, Material Culture, Native/Indigenous Studies, Popular Culture, Postcolonial Studies, Religious Studies, Southern Studies, and Technology and Media Studies.

Our faculty hold joint appointments in Anthropology, Art and Art History, Education, English, Government, and History.  They have expertise in interdisciplinary research methods, including literary analysis, visual cultural analysis, oral and archival history, community collaboration, digital humanities techniques, ethnography, archaeology, and other qualitative and quantitative research methods.  Many of our faculty members are committed to research projects that engage local communities.

Admission Requirements

William & Mary uses an online application system. Applicants submit official transcripts, GRE scores taken within the past five years, three letters of recommendation, a writing sample of approximately 20 pages in length, and two short essays detailing intellectual interests and motives for pursuing a graduate degree in American Studies. If English is not your first language, your Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS) scores are required and must be sent directly to William & Mary by the Educational Testing Service or IELTS. The TOEFL/IELTS requirement can be waived for applicants who will have received a degree from a college or university in which English is the primary language of instruction. A transcript is required as evidence of successful instruction in English as a primary language.

To ensure full consideration for admission and financial assistance, applications, including all supporting materials and test scores, should be completed by December 15. Applications received after December 15 will be reviewed on the basis of available space. There are no spring admissions. Only applicants intending to enter as full-time M.A./Ph.D. or Ph.D. students are considered for financial support.

Programs and Course Descriptions



    American Studies

    Description of Courses

    Unless otherwise noted, all courses are graded using standard grading [A, B, C, D, F] scheme (See Grading and Academic Progress  in the section entitled Graduate Regulations) and may not be repeated for credit (See Repeated Courses  requirements in the section entitled Graduate Regulations).

    American Studies GRAD