MA/MS in American Studies Requirements
Those applicants who have been admitted to the American Studies degree program will work out a program of study with either the American Studies Director or the Folklore Director. Generally, students develop their programs with a focus in American literature, folklore, or history. Interdisciplinary connections with many other departments at USU are possible. Students may choose the American Studies Standard specialization, with or without a concentration in creative nonfiction writing on the cultures and landscapes of the American West; or the Folklore specialization, with or without a concentration in public sector folklore. The American Studies degree requires 30 credits, with a preference for the MA and the Plan A (thesis) options, although the MS and the Plan B options are also accepted.
Students in the American Studies Standard specialization must take ENGL 6600 /HIST 6600 (American Studies Theory and Method) early in their course of study. Students must also take at least one course in a department other than English. Students selecting the Creative Nonfiction concentration will follow the same requirements as the students in the American Studies Standard specialization, with the following exception: all students in the Creative Nonfiction concentration are required to take two courses in which a major part of their coursework focuses on some form of creative nonfiction. If approved, it is possible for one course in either fiction or poetry writing to be applied toward this concentration.
Students in the Folklore specialization must take ENGL 6700 /HIST 6700 (Folklore Theory and Method) early in their course of study. Students selecting the Public Sector Folklore concentration will follow the same requirements as the students in the Folklore specialization, with the following exception: all students in the Public Sector Folklore concentration are required to take ENGL 6720 /HIST 6720 (Folklore Fieldwork), ENGL 6730 / HIST 6730 (Public Folklore), and ENGL 6900 (Graduate Internship).
Of special interest to students in American Studies are the Western Historical Quarterly and the Western American Literature journals published at USU, which often provide editorial and clerical positions for graduate students. Also, The Mountain West Center for Regional Studies sponsors lectures and programs and provides research assistance for students working in the field of regional studies. The Merrill-Cazier Library is a regional depository for federal publications and receives 60,000 to 70,000 government titles each year. The library’s Special Collections division contains thousands of historical photographs, an immense store of pioneer diaries and papers, and a strong collection of books and manuscripts relating to the West, the pioneers, the Mormons, cowboys, and cowboy poetry. The Fife Folklore Archives, one of the best folklore archives in the country, contains over 3,400 books on folklore and folklore-related topics. The Special Collections division also serves as the national depository for the American Folklore Society’s Papers, more than 50 linear feet of records and documents accumulated during the 114-year history of the organization.