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American Studies

This MALS concentration is a 30-credit program for students wishing to pursue an interest in American Studies. Since its inception in the 1940s, American Studies has been an interdisciplinary movement dedicated to critical examinations of all aspects of culture and society in the United States, from the colonial era to the present.

Degree Requirements

MALS students take four classes within the program — Introduction to Graduate Liberal Studies, two core courses in their chosen concentration, and the thesis/capstone project — and choose their remaining electives from among courses offered across the doctoral and certificate programs in the Social Sciences and Humanities at The Graduate Center.

This master's degree program requires the following coursework for a total of 30 credits:

  • A required introductory course [MALS 70000: Introduction to Graduate Liberal Studies] (3 credits)
  • Two required core courses to introduce students to American Studies [MALS 73100 and MALS 73200] (6 credits)
  • 18 credits from courses of the student's choice that are relevant to the student’s concentration or studies
  • A master's thesis/capstone project [MALS 79000] (3 credits)

Core Courses

Two introductory 3-credit core courses prepare students for advanced courses in American Studies and other doctoral programs. Depending on their interests and expertise, MALS students will consider American Studies from a variety of methodological and multidisciplinary perspectives in their course work.

MALS 73100 American Culture and Values 
MALS 73200 American Social Institutions

Elective Courses

Electives can be chosen among courses offered across most of the doctoral and certificate programs in the Social Sciences and the Humanities at The Graduate Center.

For related coursework in American Studies, students may look to offerings in the certificate program in American Studies and the doctoral programs in Art History, Earth and Environmental SciencesEnglish, History, MusicPolitical ScienceSociology, Theater, and Urban Education.


American Studies scholars at The Graduate Center include faculty members in such Ph.D. Programs as Art History, Earth and Environmental Sciences, English, History, Music, Political Science, Sociology, Theatre, and Urban Education.

MALS faculty associated with this concentration:

Library Resources

Visit the GC Mina Rees Library's American Studies Research Guide.
Students' contact for American Studies research is reference librarian Alycia Sellie.

Research Resources

Among the many research centers and institutes which support American Studies at the Graduate Center are the American Social History Project/Center for Media and Learning; the Barry Brook Center for Music Research and Documentation; the Center for Place, Culture and Politics; the Center for the Humanities; the Center for the Study of Women and Society; the Gotham Center for New York City History; the Levy Center for Biography; and the Martin E. Segal Theatre Center. Students in the American Studies specialization are also invited to participate in seminars and events at Columbia University, NYU and the New School, as well as at the New York Public Library, the New York Historical Society, the Museum of the City of New York, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum, and many other cultural and educational institutions in the area.