Ph.D. Degree

Why seek a Ph.D. in American Studies?

Scholars in the humanities and social sciences inclined toward interdisciplinary methods and topics have long found an intellectual home in American Studies, as have many interested in newer and/or cutting-edge fields. American Studies has also long been an academic home and intellectual proving ground for those interested in critical theory, the public humanities, social activism, curatorial work, media and journalism, and beyond.

Inspired by a desire to put scholarship to the pursuit of justice, American Studies trains scholar-activists to engage categories of power such as race, gender, nation, and more. In accordance with the history of a field now nearly a century old, the American Studies doctoral program at Indiana University combines scholarly depth, interdisciplinary breadth, and opportunities for creative exploration.

Our students gain expertise in American Studies as an interdisciplinary intellectual tradition while furthering their specific interests within fields traditionally defined as disciplinary. The latter include U.S. literatures, cultural and social history, critical race and ethnic studies, film studies, visual culture, music studies, leisure studies, and cultural anthropology.

Our curriculum

The curriculum in American Studies includes several required courses on methods and models in American Studies scholarship for first-year graduate students (AMST 603 and 604). In consultation with the department’s graduate advisor and other faculty, your graduate coursework is drawn from advanced seminars offered by core faculty and faculty affiliates in American Studies, as well as relevant courses in adjacent disciplines. In addition to your work within American Studies proper, all Ph.D. candidates are required to have a Ph.D. minor in an area relevant to their teaching and research interests.

Learn more about our Ph.D. in the Student Portal