Integrated B.A./M.A. Degree in American Studies

The American Studies Program offers an integrated B.A./M.A. program that is designed to allow academically superior baccalaureate students enrolled in the American Studies major to obtain both the Bachelor of Arts and the Master of Arts degrees in American Studies within five years of study. The first two years of undergraduate coursework typically include the University General Education requirements and lower-level courses. In the third year, students typically take upper-division coursework in American Studies and define areas of interest. The fourth year involves graduate-level American Studies coursework including required courses in American Studies Theory and Methods (AM ST 500). The fifth and final year of the program typically consists of graduate coursework in American Studies including Seminar (AM ST 591) and identification of a research project that will culminate in the completion of a M.A. project (AM ST 580) or thesis (AM ST 600).

By encouraging greater depth and focus in the course of study beginning in the third undergraduate year, this program will help the student more clearly define his/her area of interest and expertise in the broad field of American Studies. As a result, long-range academic planning for exceptional students pursuing doctoral degrees or other professional goals after leaving Penn State will be greatly enhanced. For most students, the total time required to reach completion of the higher degree will be shortened by about a year. The student will have earlier contact with the rigors of graduate study and with graduate faculty. The resources of the Graduate School are accessible to students accepted into the IUG program. Students in their third and fourth year of study with IUG status benefit from their association with graduate students whose level of work parallel their own.

For the IUG American Studies B.A./M.A. degree, a minimum of 123 credits are required for the B.A. and a minimum of 30–33 credits for the M.A. (30 for non-thesis; 33 for thesis). Twelve credits at the 400 level or higher, in consultation with the adviser, can apply to both the B.A. and M.A. degrees; at least 6 of these 12 credits must be at the 500 level.

If for any reason a student admitted to the B.A./M.A. program is unable to complete the requirement for the Master of Arts degree program in American Studies, the student will be permitted to receive the B.A. degree assuming all degree requirements have been satisfactorily completed.