Liberal Studies, MA American Studies Specialization

Students enrolled in the American Studies specialization pursue an interdisciplinary course of study allowing intensive examination of the culture, society, political system and other aspects of the United States. Students may engage in comparative study of history, literature, visual media, or other materials produced by and helping to constitute American culture.


Course Title
Core Courses (3 units)
IPLS 401-0Seminar in Liberal Studies I
IPLS 410-0/410-DLIntroduction to Graduate Studies in Literary and Cultural Analysis
IPLS 590-0Thesis Research
Specialization Courses - American Studies Electives (4 units)
Various Liberal Studies courses are offered throughout the year. Students should refer to the annual course schedule to determine which courses will apply to their specialization.
Electives (2 units)
Two graduate-level courses in liberal studies, humanities, and related social sciences. Students may take courses in the areas of Chicago Studies, Digital Studies, History, Religious and Ethical Studies, or other areas approved by the SPS Graduate Office. *

About the Thesis 

Students sign up for the final course in the program during the term in which they start their master's thesis. The capstone project for the MALS program is an essay of 45 to 60 double-spaced pages written under the supervision of an approved faculty member. The project presents an opportunity to research and explore a topic thoroughly. Students often elect to expand a seminar paper from a previous course. With the approval of the program director, students may create an interdisciplinary final project rather than a traditional thesis.