The American Studies graduate program emphasizes interdisciplinary cultural analysis with approaches from anthropology, architectural history, art history, language, geography, media studies, history, performance studies and political theory. Master’s students can pursue a general Master of Arts in American Studies or an MA with a concentration in museums and material culture. Doctoral students construct a comprehensive plan of study tailored to their area of interest and develop research agendas through seminars and workshops.

Both degrees draw on the rich resources of Washington, D.C.-based archives and research institutes to enhance learning and promote hands-on experience. Students might attend a weekly seminar at the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage or excavate an archaeological site in Old Town Alexandria.

Our graduate programs emphasize professional-level research and writing skills, and many of our students win awards and publish their research.


Degree Programs 


Renee Scott

"My research will allow me to play a role in revising K–12 curricula to include the history, experiences and perspectives of Black Americans so that young Black children can see themselves in their education."

Renee Scott
MA '19



Graduate Students Bringing History to Life

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Archival Project Tells GW’s COVID Story

American Studies’ Melani McAlister and a team of students are collecting interviews with the GW community to create a historical archive of pandemic experiences.

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MA student Harry Lewis moderates discussion of LGBT rights in America

On October 25, 2018, MA student Harry Lewis was invited to moderate a discussion with Dennis and Judy Shepard, parents of the late Matthew Shepard, at the Smithsonian National Museum of American...


Graduate Student Resources