Board of Regents approves Master of Arts in American Studies at KSU

University now offers 21 master’s−level programs

Georgia (Nov 18, 2008) — Board of Regents approves Master of Arts in American Studies at KSU

Sabbaye McGriff


Director of University Relations
Frances Weyand Harrison

Contact/Writer: Sabbaye McGriff‚ 678−797−2550 or

Board of Regents approves Master of Arts in American Studies at KSU
University now offers 21 master’s−level programs

KENNESAW‚ Ga. (Nov. 17‚ 2008) — Kennesaw State will start offering next fall a new Master of Arts in American Studies‚ an interdisciplinary degree designed to meet the needs of an increasingly diverse work force in northwest Georgia.

The new degree‚ approved by the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia at its Nov. 10 meeting‚ brings to 21 the number of master’s−level programs offered at Kennesaw State. KSU is the only university in the USG to offer such a degree.

The Masters of Arts in American Studies –– drawing from disciplines that include history‚ sociology‚ foreign languages‚ communications‚ business‚ literature and art –– is designed to attract professionals working in local cultural sites such as museums‚ national parks and public history venues and in non−profit and corporate organizations whose programs reach diverse audiences in the U.S. and abroad. The degree also targets high school teachers who want to focus their graduate studies in the humanities rather than on pedagogy‚ as well as students from abroad interested in studying American culture.

“America is a rich‚ diverse nation‚” said Teresa Joyce‚ associate provost and dean of the Graduate College. “This degree is designed to equip students with knowledge of its history and culture‚ as well as foster an understanding of the diverse people‚ regions‚ groups and institutions that have shaped this nation and its role in the global society. Engaging students in this type of study will be of enormous value in meeting the needs of a diverse workforce.”

The new program‚ which will be administered by Kennesaw State’s College of Humanities and Social Sciences‚ consists of 36 credit−hours and a foreign language requirement. Courses will be taught by existing faculty from across the humanities and other academic departments. Most classes will be offered in the evening to accommodate working professionals.

The interdisciplinary approach to American studies combines the history of U.S. social movements‚ ethnic groups and various historical periods with “place−based” studies of cities‚ towns and suburbs‚ regions and America in a global context. The program will also offer classes aimed at expanding students’ understanding of “America” as reaching beyond the United States to include the entire hemisphere. It also includes the examination of cultural phenomena‚ such as social groups‚ enterprise and labor‚ and cultural products such as film‚ literature and popular culture. Students earning the degree will also be required to apply their learning working in a practicum in local communities.

In proposing the new degree‚ Kennesaw State’s administrators and faculty relied on input from community advisors representing local business‚ civic organizations and educational institutions. The program also incorporates best practices advocated by the American Studies Association and curriculum direction from similar leading programs at state universities in Massachusetts‚ Maine‚ California and Wyoming.

“Based on these sources‚ we concluded that an interdisciplinary program in American studies offers advantages compared to traditional area/regional studies programs that prepare students for work in a particular global region‚” said Sarah Robbins‚ faculty executive assistant to the president and a lead designer of the new master’s degree program. “As a field today‚ American Studies combines a focus on globalization with practical work in a local‚ domestic context.”


Kennesaw State University is the third−largest university in Georgia‚ offering more than 65 graduate and undergraduate degrees‚ including new doctorates in education and business. A member of the 35−unit University System of Georgia‚ Kennesaw State is a comprehensive‚ residential institution with a growing student population of more than 21‚000 from 142 countries.


A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its nearly 43,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit