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Degree Programs
American Studies PhD

Curriculum (90 total hours; 60 hours beyond a M.A.)

The program’s curriculum is designed to maximize the capacity of IUPUI’s faculty to study America from a variety of disciplines and through a diversity of analytical tools and theories. In this program, a doctoral internship of at least a year will help students not only gain practical experience for post-graduate careers, but will also help structure their curricular choices and provide the foundation for dissertation work. The basic purpose of this program’s curriculum is to keep choices flexible so that students can take courses calibrated to the project crafted through their internship and dissertation. The proposed curriculum below outlines requirements and suggests potential doctoral paths of study for students. Students should leave this program being able to analyze theoretically, measure quantitatively or qualitatively, and present or demonstrate their work digitally.

Core courses (6 hours)

  • AMST-A 601: American Studies in Theory
  • AMST-A 602: American Studies in Practice AMST
  • Doctoral Workshop (Skills workshop for students)

Methods courses (18 hours)

Most departments consistently teach methods courses as part of their graduate programs. As proposed here, such courses will comprise the foundation for the doctoral program in American Studies. The courses are distributed across three categories: analytical, digital, and quantitative/qualitative. Consultation between a student, the chair of the student’s committee, and, if possible, input from the internship director will help determine which courses necessary.

Minor Concentration (12 credits)

Every student will have at least one minor concentration, the list below covers those areas in which minors either already exist or can be easily created. Students also have the option of creating, in consultation with their committee, a minor that brings together courses from a few disciplines.

Existing Ph.D. Minors

• PhD Minor in Women’s Studies, IUPUI School of Liberal Arts
• PhD Minor in History, IUPUI School of Liberal Arts
• PhD Minor in Applied Anthropology, IUPUI School of Liberal Arts
• PhD Minor in Health Communication, IUPUI School of Liberal Arts
• PhD Minor in Sociology, IUPUI School of Liberal Arts
• PhD Minor in Philosophy, IUPUI School of Liberal Arts
• PhD Minor in Philanthropic Studies, IUPUI School of Philanthropy
• PhD Minor in Urban Education Studies, IUPUI School of Education
• PhD Minor in Human-Computer Interaction, IUPUI School of Informatics and Computing

Potential Ph.D. Minor Concentrations

• Urban Development and Sustainable Development
• Health, Illness, and Medicine in the United States
• Religious Pluralism and Community
• Crime, Community, and Justice
• Ethnic Migration and Education
• Urban-Suburban Transportation and the Fiscal Health of Cities
• The Financial Nexus of High School, Collegiate, and Professional Sports in American Cities

Electives (24 credit hours)

Because of the interdisciplinary nature of this Ph.D., the student will choose elective courses that compliment this applied doctoral program. The student will work with her/his faculty committee to identify those courses that best complement the research questions of the Ph.D. concentration and that supplement the theories and areas of cultural study within American Studies. Electives can also be satisfied by coursework already completed prior to acceptance in the doctoral program such as a Masters degree or other applicable graduate level work.

International Coursework

Ideally, each student will be strongly encouraged to have at least 6-9 hours in coursework from a foreign university. Such coursework can involve a minor field, methods courses or elective credits.

Qualifying Exam—Written

All students shall take a written qualifying examination that aims to assess the student knowledge and readiness to carry out successful research. This exam will be completed by the semester prior to the start of the student’s internship.

Internship and Applied Dissertation (30 credit hours)


Among the chief aims of the program is to provide doctoral students in the humanities and social sciences with opportunities to train for careers outside of academia. The doctoral internship required of this program places interns in non-profit, for-profit, and government agencies where they participate full-time in the substantive work of an organization. The AMST program works with the external organization to cover costs associated with graduate training, including health insurance and monthly stipends. The doctoral internship serves as part of the research for student dissertations and therefore must be guided by the student’s research committee.


The American Studies doctoral program encourages a student to investigate problems connected with the internship; therefore, the final product will be an applied dissertation. The applied dissertation will contribute to the literature in a student’s concentration area. The dissertation must be an original contribution to knowledge and of high scholarly merit. The candidate’s research must reveal critical ability and powers of imagination and synthesis. The dissertation is written under the supervision of a research director and a research committee and cannot be a collection of unrelated published papers. There must be a logical connection between all components of the dissertation, and these must be integrated in a rational and coherent fashion. It is the responsibility of the student’s research committee to determine the kind and amount of published material that may be included in a dissertation.