Candidates for the MA degree in American Studies complete 30 credits of graduate work, including a final project (AmSt 688, 3 credits) based on original research. Students have researched topics ranging from an audience study of The Rocky Horror Picture Show to a community study of Washington DC's "Little Ethiopia," and graduates have presented research at a number of conferences including the Popular Culture Association and the American Studies Association, as well as spoken to general audiences at Comic-Con. Students may alternately choose to produce a curriculum unit for their final project, an option that has proven particularly attractive to teachers who enroll in the program. High-school teachers interested in the MA program are encouraged to contact Graduate Program Director Jeffrey Melnick to discuss their options.

The curriculum is built around a core of six three-credit courses:

Elective courses may be drawn from additional graduate and advanced undergraduate courses in American studies, anthropology, English, women's studies, Africana studies, politics, history, and public policy. Students often also enroll in the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library's American Studies Summer Institute (AMST 687), which is co-sponsored by American Studies and varies in topic from year to year.