The Graduate Certificate in American Culture Studies (AMCS) enables doctoral students to develop multidisciplinary expertise and encourages them to bring that added competence to bear in dissertation research that, while satisfying the demands of their principal disciplines, is broad-based and informed by work from across the humanities and the social sciences.
AMCS brings together a community of graduate students and faculty with overlapping interests in American topics. Through formal and informal intellectual exchange, they share knowledge, methods and ideas across the boundaries that define the traditional academic disciplines. This intellectual community promotes the give-and-take of ideas, making graduate study more stimulating, and graduate research more original and creative.
Students who satisfy certificate requirements will receive the Graduate Certificate in American Culture Studies along with the award of the PhD. This is one of several interdisciplinary certificates offered by the Graduate School, intended as credentials of special competency. The certificate helps its holders build academic careers, including careers involving interdisciplinary teaching, and it helps them develop distinctive research profiles.
Graduate Certificate in American Culture Studies
The Graduate Certificate in American Culture Studies is awarded to students who complete the PhD in a department of the Graduate School and who satisfy the following requirements:
- Complete 15 total credits of course work as outlined below:
- The core seminar (3 credits), Introduction to American Culture Studies (AMCS 645).
- Multidisciplinary courses (6 credits): two graduate courses on American topics (400-level or above) specifically designed in explicitly multidisciplinary terms. These may be from within the student's home field of study. These are sometimes team-taught by faculty representing two different departments. Courses satisfying this requirement will be determined in consultation with the graduate director.
- Extradepartmental courses (6 credits): two graduate courses on American topics (400-level or above) based in fields that complement work in the home department, to be determined in consultation with the graduate director.
- Routine consultation with an AMCS faculty adviser outside the home department, in addition to the student's principal PhD adviser.
- Completion of a PhD dissertation in the home department, with the AMCS faculty adviser serving as one of the "outside" readers on the oral-defense committee.
The PhD Certificate program features and requires the AMCS 645 Graduate Core Course, offered every other year; two Multi-Disciplinary (MD) courses, which foreground explicit conversation between field-specific discourses; and two Extra-Disciplinary (ED) courses, which are methodologically substantive courses outside the student's home department.
The PhD Certificate program also gives students the opportunity to participate in Professionalization Projects, which are AMCS-mentored and funded projects in which students interact with scholars in their fields outside Washington University (for example, an on-campus symposium in which outside scholars participate or a panel at the annual meeting of a major scholarly professional association), as well as AMCS mentored teaching experiences and AMCS teaching (where appropriate and with the approval of the AMCS director of graduate studies, the dissertation adviser, the home department director of graduate studies, and, in the case of the AMCS mentored teaching experience, the course instructor).
Finally, PhD Certificate students are expected to regularly attend and participate in the monthly Americanist Dinner Forum, a flagship AMCS event which stages cross-disciplinary conversations among Americanist faculty to probe productive nodes of shared concern.
For more information about program activities and requirements, please visit our Graduate Studies webpage.