UMass Boston

American Studies MA

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Unpack America's social and cultural movements through research, analysis, and group discussion.

UMass Boston's American Studies MA has earned a national reputation as one of the top master’s programs in the field. With tools adapted from cultural and social history, film and popular music studies, critical race and ethnic studies, and queer theory, this program encourages students to immerse in one year of core courses and one year of guided study and research. UMass Boston’s longstanding commitment to the study of power dynamics in the culture of the United States has been energized by emerging formations in the field—ranging from transnational and postcolonial frames to sound studies and critical tourism studies.

In this program, you will:

  • Gain a comprehensive knowledge of American history, literature, art, and culture, examining their interconnectedness and the ways in which they shape and reflect the American experience
  • Develop advanced research and analytical skills, enabling you to critically analyze primary sources, interpret cultural texts, and engage in scholarly discourse on topics related to American studies
  • Hone your ability to think critically, communicate effectively, and present your ideas coherently, preparing you for further academic pursuits or professional careers in fields such as education, research, public policy, or cultural heritage

Career Possibilities

Conduct in-depth research on American history, literature, or culture for academic institutions, think tanks, cultural organizations, or government agencies. Develop and implement educational programs and curricula focused on American studies for schools, colleges, or nonprofit organizations. Or, apply your knowledge of American history, society, and culture to analyze and inform policy decisions. These are just a few of the possibilities.

Become a(n):

  • Researcher
  • Museum Curator
  • Education Coordinator
  • Cultural Program Manager
  • Policy Analyst
  • Media/ Communications Specialist

Start Your Application

Plan Your Education

How to Apply

Applicants must meet general graduate admission requirements in addition to the following program-specific requirements:

  • A minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0 in appropriate courses 
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • A writing sample demonstrating analytic ability in fields relevant to American Studies

Deadlines & Cost

Deadlines: March 1 (priority deadline; applications received by this date will receive preference for admissions review and allocation of available funding) and June 1 (final deadline) for fall; November 1 (priority deadline) or December 1 (final deadline) for spring.

Application Fee: The nonrefundable application fee is $75. UMass Boston alumni and current students that plan to complete degree requirements prior to graduate enrollment can submit the application without paying the application fee.

Cost: For additional information regarding tuition and fees, please visit the Bursar’s Office or send an email to Please refer to Graduate Student Financial Aid for more information on financial aid.


Core Courses (18 Credits)

  • AMST 601 - Intro Amer Studies 3 Credit(s)
  • AMST 602L - American Society and Political Culture: 1600-1865 3 Credit(s)
  • AMST 603 - Modern Political, Social, and Cultural History 3 Credit(s)
  • AMST 604 - Gender and Sexuality in US History and Culture 3 Credit(s)
  • AMST 605 - Ethnicity, Race, and Nationality 3 Credit(s)
  • AMST 606 - Studies in Popular Culture & Technology 3 Credit(s)

Electives (9 Credits)

Complete three graduate-level courses drawn from American studies, anthropology, English, women’s studies, Africana studies, politics, history, and public policy, with approval from the graduate program director.

Final Project Course (3 Credits)

  • AMST 688 - Final Project 3-6 Credit(s)

Graduation Criteria

Complete 30 credits from ten courses including six core courses, three electives, and one final project course.

Capstone: Completion of a final project based on original research. Students may choose to do a curriculum unit, which entails doing research culminating in the presentation of a relevant and useful pedagogical document for secondary school teachers.

Statute of limitations: Five years.


Graduate Program Director Aaron Lecklider
aaron.lecklider [at]
(617) 287-6771

Administrative Assistant Shauna Manning
shauna.manning [at]
(617) 287-6776

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American Studies Department

UMass Boston's Department of American Studies in the College of Liberal Arts cultivates an understanding of US social, political, and cultural movements; the place of empire within US history; the role of race, gender, class, sexuality, and empire in US culture and society; and the history, theories, and methods used to examine these areas.

Explore the Department of American Studies

Meet Our Faculty

The American Studies faculty is comprised of eight members. These nationally recognized faculty teach all core courses for the master’s program in American Studies. They each have a strong record of accomplishment that includes books published by top-tier academic publishers, articles published in scholarly journals and major publications, visibility as noted public intellectuals, and regular participation in national conferences. We welcome you to contact any of graduate faculty to find out more about their work and teaching or to discuss goals for the program.

American Studies faculty include:


Meet All Faculty & Lecturers

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College of Liberal Arts

Learn more about the faculty, research, and programs that make up our College of Liberal Arts.

Explore College of Liberal Arts