Students will take two semesters of course work and complete their M.A. thesis requirement in their first year, and then take three more semesters of course work at the Ph.D. level while preparing for Ph.D. qualifying examinations. Following completion of these exams, students will complete and defend a dissertation. Each step involves extensive work with a faculty advisor and committee.
Students should consult the American Studies Graduate Handbook, available at the Program website, for a fuller account of program requirements.
To complete the M.A. portion of the M.A./Ph.D. track, 24 course credit hours are required, including 6 credits of 695. In addition, 6 credits of thesis preparation under AMST 700 are required. To complete the Ph.D. portion of the M.A./Ph.D. track, 36 additional course credit hours are required, including at least 12 credit hours of AMST 795. In addition, 24 credit hours of Dissertation preparation under AMST 800 are required. The total of 90 required credits will be distributed as follows:
- AMST 661 - Introduction to American Studies (3 credits)
- AMST 590 , AMST 690 , or AMST 715 - Topics, Seminars, and Directed Research in American Studies (5 courses for 15 credits). Graduate level seminars offered by the Department of History or the Department of Anthropology can substitute for one or more of these courses, with permission from the Director of Graduate Studies.
- AMST 695 - Directed Thesis Master’s Research (3 credits each semester of the M.A. year for a total of 6 credits)
- AMST 700 - Thesis (3 credits each semester of the M.A. year for a total of 6 credits)
At least 12 credit hours (4 courses) must be earned in courses numbered 600 or above, including AMST 695 and excluding AMST 700.
- AMST 590 , AMST 790 , or AMST 715 - Topics, Seminars, and Directed Research in American Studies (8 courses over three semesters for a total of 24 credits). Graduate level seminars offered by the Department of History or the Department of Anthropology can substitute for one or more of these courses, with permission from the Director of Graduate Studies.
- AMST 795 - Directed Ph.D. Research (12 credits)
- AMST 800 - Dissertation (24 credits)
At least 30 semester credit hours must be earned in courses numbered 600 or above, including AMST 795 and excluding AMST 800.
Students completing the sequential M.A./Ph.D. program complete an M.A. thesis based on original research that makes a contribution to the study of American life. This thesis consists either of one substantial, long essay (usually between 35 and 65 pages) or a portfolio containing two significant research papers that together equal that same length.
The thesis, supplemented by an oral defense before a faculty committee, will serve as the M.A. field examination in American Studies.
Candidates must demonstrate a reading knowledge of a language other than English by the end of the fourth semester of enrollment. See the American Studies Graduate Handbook for further details of the examination process.
Qualifying Exam Requirement
Between the end of the sixth semester and the first four weeks into the seventh semester of enrollment, students will take a qualifying exam that consists of both a written and oral component. Students will be examined in one Major and one or more Minor Fields. The total number of examinations is usually four, each with a different examiner. Customarily the major field consists of two or three examinations, and the minor field(s) one or two.
Ph.D. candidates complete a dissertation based upon original research that makes a scholarly contribution to the study of American life.
All requirements for the Ph.D. must be completed within seven years from the first term of enrollment in the M.A./Ph.D. program, excluding periods of approved leave and military service. Requests for extension beyond the seven-year limit must be filed following the procedures outlined in Time Limits for Degrees and Extensions in the Graduate Arts & Sciences Catalog.
To be eligible to graduate, students must achieve a cumulative grade point average of 3.3 on a 4.0 scale in courses undertaken for graduate credit at William & Mary after admission to a degree program. A student who receives a grade of C+ (2.3) or lower in a course may repeat that course one time for credit, upon approval of both the instructor of the course and the graduate director for the student’s program. When such a repeat attempt is approved, the grades for both attempts will count in the cumulative GPA, but only the most recent attempt will count toward the degree. No credit toward a degree will be allowed for a course in which a student receives a grade below C (grade point = 2.0).
The department conducts periodic reviews of all students. Students who fail to make satisfactory progress towards their chosen degree(s) or who fail to maintain the grade point average required by the Program (3.3) are subject to dismissal.
Students whose grade point average falls below 3.3 are put on academic probation the following semester. If at the end of the following probationary semester the grade point average remains below 3.3, funded students will lose their funding, and students - funded or not - may be withdrawn from the Program.
Part-time M.A./Ph.D. students should complete all requirements for the M.A. within three years from matriculation in order to continue to candidacy in the Ph.D. program.
The American Studies Program also enables students to pursue the Ph.D. on a part time basis. Students may take course work part-time. After their courses are complete, part-time students must also meet the same deadlines as full- time students and have seven years to complete their doctorate after matriculation in the Ph.D. program.