Combined BA/MA in American Studies

American Studies BA/MA student participates in a lecture at GW

The combined Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts (BA/MA) in American Studies degree allows students to complete the master’s degree on an accelerated timeline by double-counting some classes toward both degrees.

Combined degree students build a core foundation in American Studies, supplemented by a choice of electives. BA/MA students also complete one research seminar in addition to the required Scope and Methods course. (This is different from the full MA program, which requires two additional seminars).



Degree Details

Required Seminar


Students looking at screen during a lecture

BA/MA students must complete at least one approved research seminar offered by the Department of American Studies or another academic department within GW. This seminar is taken in addition to the Scope and Methods course (AMST 6100) that is required of all BA/MA students.

During the seminar, students produce an original, 25–35 page, primary source-based research essay of publishable quality. Students should consult with the director of graduate studies each semester to identify appropriate courses for fulfilling this requirement.

Optional Thesis


Students having a discussion in class

BA/MA students are not required to complete a thesis. However, in exceptional circumstances and with the consent of the director of the student’s concentration (when applicable) and the potential thesis director, students may petition the director of graduate studies to substitute six credits of thesis research for two of their required courses.

Students interested in this option should meet with the director of graduate studies no later than the middle of the semester prior to the semester in which they plan to write the thesis. Permission will be granted according to the student’s academic performance, the quality of the research paper produced and the usefulness of the thesis as preparation for future professional work.


How to Apply

Applicants must be current American Studies majors in their junior year with a minimum 3.7 GPA in American Studies courses or minimum 3.5 cumulative GPA.  Students may apply after completing 75 undergraduate credits, and must apply no later than the semester before your final undergraduate year. To apply, students should submit required materials to the MA advisor by March 1 of the applicant’s junior year.

Required Application Materials

  • BA/MA application, located on the CCAS website
  • Statement of purpose: 500 words describing the applicant’s intellectual interests and academic goals
  • Recommendation letter: Assessment written by an American Studies professor who can provide an informed judgment of the applicant’s work

Combined Degree Application


Course Requirements

All BA/MA students are required to take AMST 6100, Scope and Methods. The course provides an introduction to American Studies as related to teaching, research and other professional activities. Students may elect to take this course as one of the classes that can be double-counted toward both the BA and MA degrees, or they may take it during their year of full-time graduate coursework.

Additionally, all requirements for both the Bachelor of Arts in American Studies (120 credits) and the Master of Arts in American Studies (30 credits) degrees must be fulfilled. BA/MA students complete six credits of graduate coursework during their senior year and subsequently complete the remaining 24 credits of master’s level courses, usually over the following summer and academic year.