Northwestern to offer Master of Arts in American Studies

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Northwestern to offer Master of Arts in American Studies

November 1, 2012

Beginning in the fall 2013, Northwestern Oklahoma State University will be adding a new master’s program in American Studies.

American Studies is an interdisciplinary academic field approximately 80 years old. Its purpose is to provide students with an integrated and critical knowledge of American culture and society, drawing on such disciplines as agriculture, English, history, political science, sociology, mass communication and education to foster a holistic understanding of the historical, social and cultural underpinnings of the American experience.

“This program will allow students who are not interested in a Master of Education or Psychology, but interested in humanities and social sciences, to have a choice,” said Dr. Shawn Holliday, associate dean of graduate studies.

Unlike other American Studies programs, Northwestern’s is unique by using regional issues as a springboard to understanding national issues.

Nine hours of the program’s core courses deal with Oklahoma and the American west while three hours deal with leadership issues in northwest Oklahoma. Sixteen subsequent hours of electives are available for students to focus on larger national issues that meet their individual interests and career goals.

Three hours of research and five hours in applied methodology round out the curriculum to provide students with an understanding of the ways in which the northwest Oklahoma region influences the national American culture and vice versa.

The learning objectives for the Master of Arts in American Studies at Northwestern include:

• Providing students with research skills and theoretical methodologies through which they will foster an integrative approach to learning about American culture and society, both past and present;

• Providing students with intimate knowledge of northwest Oklahoma and the American west through which they will learn about the culture of the United States, understanding the ways in which regional issues affect the national culture and vice versa;

• Helping students to achieve excellence in critical thinking through extensive writing, reading, research and communication with peers, faculty and community members;

• Enabling students to initiate, develop and carry out independent enquiry that will allow them to energize the region culturally and economically through a leadership position;

• Preparing students for a wide range of employment opportunities by developing knowledge, skills, attitudes and ethics that can be applied to work in schools, junior colleges, archives, museums, galleries, media organizations, and governmental, commercial and cultural agencies.

Holliday said this program follows the university’s mission that provides quality educational and cultural opportunities to learners with diverse needs by cultivating ethical leadership and service, critical thinking and fiscal responsibility.

For more information about this program or any other graduate degrees at Northwestern, contact Holliday at (580) 327-8589 or