American Studies

Ph.D. Program

The primary goal of the Ph.D. program in American Studies is to train students to become knowledgeable, engaged, and productive scholars and public humanists.

The Ph.D. program in American Studies is aimed at students interested in careers in college and university teaching, though it also provides excellent training for jobs in cultural or non-profit institutions that require a doctorate.

The Ph.D. program includes:

  • Coursework including two required courses
  • Preliminary Examinations in three fields
  • Teaching as a Teaching Assistant and Teaching Fellow
  • Dissertation Proposal
  • Dissertation

Most of our Ph.D. students include faculty from outside the department on their preliminary exam committees and on their dissertation committees.

Career Options

We train students for faculty positions, for academic administration, and for jobs in various research, curatorial, and digital humanities positions in universities and in cultural organizations, museums, and other public-facing institutions.

Since the recession of 2008, our commitment to comprehensive training and broader career paths has redoubled, and we have expanded our efforts to train and place students in both “traditional” and “non-traditional” positions. Doing so, we work to help students negotiate the pressures that commitments to family and location can place on their professional lives.

We encourage our doctoral students to consider the bigger picture – personal circumstances, individual professional desires – when preparing for the job market. Our Ph.D. students have done well by being flexible and broadly prepared.

Meet our Ph.D. alumni