American flag made up of a mosaic of diverse faces

American Studies, MA

The American Studies graduate program at the University of Massachusetts Boston has earned a national reputation as one of the top MA programs in the field. Our graduate program in American Studies centers on a core of courses focused on the contested meanings of culture, citizenship, democracy, community, politics, race, gender, and sexuality in the United States. We offer a flexible program of study designed to introduce students to various interdisciplinary approaches to historical analysis and to enable students to undertake their own research projects. Faculty specializations include comparative race, ethnicity and culture; literature and history; popular culture; queer/sexuality studies; cultural studies; American popular music; and travel and tourism.

Memory Matters: Constructing America’s Past

Graduate Credit or PDPTo Apply - More Information

Join us this summer for an intensive two-week program of thought-provoking lectures and discussions led by distinguished scholars and guests. The American Studies Summer Institute, an annual program co-sponsored by the University of Massachusetts Boston American Studies Department and the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, offers educators and graduate students the opportunity to explore in depth a rich topic, with contemporary resonance, drawn from American social, cultural and political history.

This year’s program, held at the Kennedy Library, will explore how America’s past has been defined and redefined by a range of agents—from memorials, museums, monuments, and other tourist sites, to textbooks, family stories, communal observances, and popular culture. We will investigate how contests over the primacy of one or more of these narratives have had far-reaching consequences for the structuring of American social and civic society, including delineation of “we, the people,” and for the development of American historical consciousness.

The Institute will ask the following underlying questions: What is historical consciousness? How is it produced and where is it narrated? What is a “usable past”? What are the ideas, social relations, and technologies that have shaped and reshaped popular and elite (or sanctioned) remembrances of American history? How have various Americans in a range of social locations challenged official narratives of their histories? How do Americans today engage with the past and why?

Drawing upon experts from a variety of disciplines and with diverse perspectives, the Institute will be directed by Pat Reeve, Chair and Associate Professor of History at Suffolk University, and Education Specialist Nina Tisch at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum.

Graduate Credit or PDP

Participants may earn three graduate credits in American Studies. For those who wish to receive graduate credit, the fee for this grant-supported course is $495 plus a $10 records fee for non-matriculated students. For teachers taking the course for PDPs only, a non-credit option is available for $150.

Schedule & Fee

Program runs: July 9 - 20, 2018
Days: Monday - Friday
Time: 8:30 am-12:30 pm
Credit Fee: $495 (plus $10 records fee for non-matriculated students)
Non-credit Fee: $150

To Apply

Please download the registration form and submit as soon as possible, but no later than May 25, 2018.

Our graduates have gone on to do work in areas such as public policy, education, advanced doctoral studies, nonprofits, and academic publishing. Learn more about our graduate alumni here. Please contact Graduate Program Director Jeffrey Melnick to learn more about the program and all that it offers to students and graduates.


As the only public university in Boston, the cost of the American Studies graduate program is less than programs offered by neighboring private institutions. The MA program offers a limited number of teaching assistantship to full-time students that place graduate students in undergraduate classes with professors in the department. Most graduate assistants work 4.5 or 9 hours per week during the semester(s) they are supported. Assistants receive a stipend in addition to tuition remission and partial fee payment including health insurance.