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.

Admission Requirements

The number of openings in the integrated B.A./M.A. program is limited. Admission will be selective based on specific criteria and the unqualified recommendation of faculty. Applicants to the integrated program:

  1. Must be enrolled in the American Studies B.A. program and meet the admission requirements of the American Studies M.A. program.
  2. Must apply and be admitted to the Graduate School.
  3. Shall be admitted no earlier than the beginning of the third semester of undergraduate study at Penn State (regardless of transfer or AP credits accumulated prior to enrollment) and no later than the end of the second week of the semester preceding the semester of expected conferral of the undergraduate degree, as specified in the proposed IUG plan of study.
  4. Must have completed at least one 400-level American Studies course (AM ST prefix) with a grade of A.
  5. Must submit transcript(s) of previous undergraduate work, recommendations from two faculty members, writing sample, and statement of goals.
  6. Must have an overall GPA at or above 3.3 (on a 4.0 scale) in undergraduate coursework and a GPA at or above 3.5 in all coursework completed for the American Studies major.
  7. Must present a plan of study approved by the student’s adviser in the application process.

Degree Requirements

University General Education requirements need to be met for the student in the IUG program:

  • General Education: 45 credits (See description of General Education in this bulletin.) 
  • First year Seminar: (Included in Electives or General Education course selection) 
  • United States Culture and International Cultures: (Included in Electives, General Education course selection, or requirements for the major) 
  • Writing Across the Curriculum: (Included in requirements for the major) 
  • Electives: 21 credits 

Tuition and Eligibility for a Graduate Assistantship

Graduate Assistantship: Students accepted into the IUG program will be eligible for a graduate assistantship. See Financial Aid for Graduate Students for more information.

Tuition charges: Undergraduate tuition rates will apply as long as the student is an undergraduate, unless the student received financial support, for example, an assistantship requiring the payment of graduate tuition (from “Information and Guidelines for Establishing Integrated Undergraduate-Graduate Degree Programs” – approved by the Graduate Council, May 8, 1996). Visit the Bursar's Office for information on tuition rates.

For Current Students


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