Five-Year B.A/M.A Combined Degree Program
NEW! FIVE-YEAR B.A/M.A COMBINED DEGREE PROGRAM
The American Studies Department now offers a unique degree program in which students can earn both the Bachelor's and Master's degrees in five years.
HOW IT WORKS:
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 one graduate course from American Studies or a closely related field in each of two summers, or two graduate course in one 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 MA 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.
Course Requirement: The MA 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. The degree plan is therefore as follows:
Fall of senior year: ASTD 510: Perspectives in American Studies (required)
Spring: Graduate seminar elective
Both of these courses double-count as credit for the BA and the MA in American Studies.
Summer after graduation: Elective in American Studies or closely related department, chosen in collaboration with the advisor.
Fall: Nine graduate hours from American Studies
Spring: Nine graduate hours from American Studies
Summer: Elective in American Studies or closely related department, chosen in collaboration with the advisor.
Language Requirement: There is no language requirement for the five-year BA/MA degree track.
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. 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 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. Required for admission are a 3.4 overall GPA with a 3.7 in the department; two letters of recommendation from SLU faculty; a goals statement; a writing sample; and the graduate 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. Students must complete the application process by April 1 of their third year. The department forwards the "department admission form" to graduate admissions as with any other application.
TERMINAL DEGREE: This program is designed as a terminal degree. Students who decide to continue for a Ph.D. must complete a new application to the Arts and Sciences graduate division and take the GRE.
SUPPORT: Each year, the department will set aside the Lubin assistantship specifically for the five-year Master's. Additional assistantships may be awarded to these students, but the department gives preference to Ph.D. applicants in making these awards. 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.