University of Minnesota
American Studies

American Studies' Home Page

Graduate Program

For More Information

104 Scott Hall
72 Pleasant St SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455

Phone: 612-624-4190
Fax: 612-624-3858

Ph.D. Requirements


Coursework should be interdisciplinary. Graduate students must do the following while pursuing the PhD:

  • Four core courses: (8201, 8202, 8401, 8801)
  • Three one-semester courses from the American Studies specialty seminars
  • One comparative culture course covering international or non-U.S. subjects
  • Field of Concentration consists of seven adviser-approved courses, one of which must be a cultural pluralism course
  • 24 thesis credits are also required

Language Requirement

  • Reading knowledge of one foreign language.

Preliminary Exams: Written & Oral

The American Studies Preliminary Examination Portfolio consists of three written components:

  1. Subfield Paper #1, a broad-based definition and explanation of a first subfield
  2. Subfield Paper #2, an annotated syllabus for an undergraduate introductory course in a second subfield
  3. Dissertation Project Statement (Together these are the Preliminary Written Examination.), and an oral review (Preliminary Oral Examination). Portfolios are individually tailored to each student's program.


Students carrying a full-time load generally take three years to complete course work, and two years to complete the dissertation. It is possible, but difficult, to complete this degree in a total of four years. Students are expected to complete the writing and defense of the dissertation by the end of their seventh year in the program.