Accelerated Bachelor/Master's Program
The Accelerated Bachelor's/Master's Program (ABM) offers the opportunity for outstanding American Studies undergraduate majors to begin an M.A. program in their senior year, completing the M.A. with a full time fifth year of graduate study after their successful completion of both the first year requirements and their undergraduate degree and major. The American Studies major, like most humanities majors, requires thirty hours of coursework, and the M.A. a further thirty. By double-counting two courses, or six hours, for both degrees, and requiring at least one graduate course from American Studies or a closely related field in the summer, students earn the requisite thirty hours in only twelve to fourteen months after receiving their Bachelor's degree.
This program gives undergraduate students a unique and exciting opportunity to graduate and go on to law school, graduate school, or their careers with the additional content knowledge, methodological sophistication, and superior skills of writing, criticism, and research that sustained graduate education provides. With this program, then, high-achieving students have an attractive alternative to the two-year M.A. without having to make the kind of longer-term commitment to a particular field of study that is usually demanded by graduate education as normally structured.
Students should discuss their interest in applying the first term of their junior year with their advisor, and submit an application during their junior year by the deadlines and criteria below. A Lubin Graduate Assistantship will be available most years for the two terms of the ABM's second year. Graduate assistantships provide financial support in the form of tuition waivers and stipends, in exchange for ongoing research, teaching, or other work as assigned by the faculty. To be considered for this funding, students must submit their application by the department's graduate application deadline (January 15th in 2014), and must remain in good standing during their first year.
This program is designed as a terminal degree. Students who decide to continue for a PhD must complete a new application to the Arts and Sciences graduate division and take the GRE.
During the first year, the ABM student is still enrolled in the university as an undergraduate. While they have been accepted into the ABM program, their continuation for the second, full Masters, year, is contingent on their performance in the first year. Following admission to the ABM program, the student remains strictly an undergraduate for the purposes of financial aid and scholarships until the bachelor's degree is awarded.
Course Requirement: The M.A. in American Studies has only one required course. The rest of the thirty hours may be selected from our seminar offerings, which vary with every semester. Two courses may come from other departments with the consent of the advisor. (Summer courses will likely have to come from other departments.)
The degree plan for the ABM is therefore as follows:
FIRST YEAR: Senior year
Fall ASTD 510: Perspectives in American Studies (required 3 hours)
Spring At least one ASTD graduate seminar elective, ideally two. (3-6 hours)
Two of these courses double-count as credit for the B.A. and the M.A. in American Studies. No more than six credits can be double-counted.
End of year evaluation: In order to advance to the master's level following conferral of the B.A. degree, AMB students must
• Receive at least a B in graduate courses taken as an undergraduate
• Clear (complete) any incomplete grades on their undergraduate transcripts
• Undergo a departmental performance review
SUMMER after GRADUATION: At least one elective in American Studies or closely related
field, chosen in collaboration with the advisor. (3-6 hours)
SECOND YEAR: Fulltime M.A.
Fall Three ASTD graduate seminar electives (9 hours)
Spring Three ASTD graduate seminar electives (9 hours) plus a Portfolio
OR One ASTD graduate seminar elective plus six hours of Thesis credit
Students on the Lubin Graduate Assistantship will also be assigned to work for a faculty member or the department during the Fall and Spring of their full ABM year.
Language Requirement: There is no language requirement for the ABM degree track.
Master's Qualifying Project
Students must also develop and successfully defend a written work over the course of the M.A. year. To fulfill this requirement, students may elect either the Portfolio Option or the Thesis Option.
Portfolio Option: During the first semester of the M.A. year, a student choosing the portfolio option creates a two-person committee, in consultation with American Studies faculty members and the department Chair. Working closely with the committee members over the course of the M.A. year, the student develops a 20-30 page portfolio paper. Generally, this paper will grow out of a student's seminar work, and typically it will be a significantly expanded version of an initial seminar paper. The portfolio paper may be written either as a publishable article or as a literature review. In either case, the paper is meant to demonstrate extensive knowledge in the student's chosen area of inquiry.
After the student's committee has accepted the final draft of the portfolio paper, the student may schedule an oral examination. (A date for exams may be set by the department.) The one-hour oral examination will be focused principally, but not exclusively, on the portfolio. Three faculty members must be present (the student's two committee members plus one additional faculty person).
Students are expected to complete this process by the end of the spring semester of the M.A. year.
Thesis Option: By the conclusion of the senior year, a student choosing the thesis option creates a three-person thesis committee, in consultation with American Studies faculty members and the department Chair. Working closely with the committee members over the summer and the following academic year, the student writes and revises a thesis based in substantial original research, and completes an oral defense. For students electing the thesis option, 6 of the 30 required hours of graduate coursework will be taken as thesis credit rather than as seminar classes.
After the student's committee has accepted the final draft of the thesis, the student may schedule an oral defense. (The date may be selected by the department.) The one-hour oral defense will be focused principally, but not exclusively, on the thesis. Three faculty members must be present. Students are expected to complete this process by the end of the spring semester of the M.A. year.
ADMISSIONS: Students may indicate to their advisors an interest at any time in their sophomore or first semester of their junior years. Applications are due at the same time as graduate admissions for the department (January 15th for 2014; dates may vary) but must be made using the application form available on the CAS website. Applications received after this deadline may not be considered, and are ineligible for funding.
Requirements for admission are as follows
•Applicants must have completed a minimum of 90 hours toward the bachelor's degree by the end of the junior year, and 105 hours by the end of fall semester of the senior year. Transfer students must have completed a minimum of 30 hours at SLU.
•Applicants should have an overall GPA of a 3.7 in their American Studies major.
•Applications should include two letters of recommendation from SLU faculty; a goals statement; a writing sample; and the CAS admission form. Criteria are the same as for other applicants: a coherent goals statement, clear writing sample, and grades as stipulated above.
•The GRE is not required.