American Studies

American Studies is an inherently interdisciplinary approach to the history and cultures of the United States that draws on diverse perspectives and questions academic and national boundaries. The MALS program is an ideal home for this concentration since its flexibility allows students to pursue their own scholarly interests while drawing on courses from a number of different programs. In addition to the resources available the Graduate Center, New York City offers countless opportunities for investigating topics related to American Studies scholarship, and students who complete the American Studies concentration often use the experience to go on to further graduate studies in American Studies and related fields in the humanities and social sciences.

American Studies scholars at the Graduate Center include faculty members in masters and Ph.D. programs including Art History, Earth and Environmental Sciences, English, History, MALS, Music, Political Science, Sociology, Theatre, Women’s and Gender Studies, and Urban Education.

Degree Requirements

The American Studies concentration requires the following coursework for a total of 30 credits:

  • A required introductory course [MALS 70000: Seminar in Interdisciplinary Studies] (3 credits)
  • Two required core courses to introduce students to American Studies [MALS 73100 and MALS 73200] (6 credits)
  • Students choose their remaining 18 credits of electives from among courses offered across the masters, doctoral, and certificate programs in the Social Sciences and Humanities at The Graduate Center.
  • 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 as well as other masters and doctoral courses.

  • MALS 73100 American Culture and Values
  • MALS 73200 American Social Institutions

Elective Courses


Electives can be chosen among courses offered across most of the masters, 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 MALS program, in the certificate program in American Studiesand in the following programs: Art HistoryEarth and Environmental SciencesEnglishHistoryMusicPolitical Science,  SociologyTheaterUrban Educationand Women’s and Gender Studies.

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, the Schomburg Center at the New York Public Library and NYU's Tamiment Labor Archives. Students in the American Studies concentration 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.   The American Studies Association website and related publications and events provide more information about the field and current debates and activities.  

American Studies Concentration Faculty

Martin J. Burke - Associate Professor -  profile photo

Martin J. Burke

Associate Professor

  • History

Associate Professor

  • Liberal Studies

Associate Professor

  • American Studies
Kandice Chuh faculty

Kandice Chuh

Executive Officer and Professor

  • English

Professor

  • Psychology

Professor

  • Liberal Studies

Professor

  • American Studies

Professor

  • Africana Studies
Marc Dolan - Professor -  profile photo

Marc Dolan

Professor

  • English

Professor

  • Liberal Studies

Professor

  • Film Studies

Professor

  • American Studies

Professor

  • Biography and Memoir
Duncan Faherty - Associate Professor of English -  profile photo

Duncan Faherty

Associate Professor

  • Liberal Studies

Associate Professor

  • English

Associate Professor

  • Digital Humanities

Associate Professor

  • American Studies
Thomas Kessner faculty photo

Thomas Kessner

Distinguished Professor

  • History

Distinguished Professor

  • Liberal Studies

Distinguished Professor

  • Biography and Memoir

Distinguished Professor

  • American Studies
Karen Miller - Professor  and  Deputy Executive Officer -  profile photo

Karen Miller

Professor and Deputy Executive Officer

  • Liberal Studies
Joan Richardson

Joan Richardson

Distinguished Professor

  • Comparative Literature

Distinguished Professor

  • English

Distinguished Professor

  • Liberal Studies

Distinguished Professor

  • American Studies