The following requirements reflect the official language taken from the graduate bulletin of Indiana University. All graduate students must follow this outline and while exceptions can be made, they must be approved by the director of the program and IUPUI graduate office.

Program requirements: 90 total credit hours or 60 hours beyond a valid, recognized graduate degree

Core Courses

AMST 601: Theories of Public Problem Solving (Fall semester)

AMST 602: American Studies in Practice (Spring semester)

Distribution of Credit Hours

Methods Courses 18 credit hours
Minor Concentration 12 credit hours
Electives 24-30 credit hours (previous degree may count toward this category)
Internship and Dissertation research and writing 30 credit hours
Total 90 credit hours

Qualifying Exam—Written

All students shall take a written qualifying examination that aims to assess the student knowledge and readiness to carry out successful research. This exam (often referred to as “comps” or comprehensive exams) reflects the course work a student has done up to the point of declaring candidacy for the doctoral degree. In order to move into the dissertation phase of the program, each student must successfully pass their comps and then declare their candidacy. Terri Crews, administrative coordinator for the PhD program, can help student navigate the steps of this process.

The qualifying exam or comps will stand as a student’s dissertation proposal, as well. Why? Because in this program, all work should align with a student’s plans for their dissertation. Therefore, the written qualifying exam followed by a meeting of a student’s advisory committee (the same committee that administers the exam) will constitute the formal process of passing comps and evaluating and approving the dissertation proposal.

Details of qualifying exam:

  1. The exam reflects the course work taken by the student
  2. The advisory committee creates and administers the exam
  3. The advisory committee meets with the student following the exam to discuss next steps and the progress toward the dissertation
  4. Student applies for candidacy and finalizes the research committee


Among the chief aims of the program is to provide doctoral students in the humanities and social sciences with opportunities to train for careers outside of academia. The doctoral internship required of this program places interns in non-profit, for-profit, and government agencies where they participate full-time in the substantive work of an organization. The AMST program works with the external organization to cover costs associated with graduate training, including health insurance and monthly stipends. The doctoral internship serves as part of the research for student dissertations and therefore must be guided by the student’s research committee. This requirement can also be fulfilled on a part-time basis.


The American Studies doctoral program encourages a student to investigate problems connected with the internship; therefore, the final product will be an applied dissertation. The applied dissertation will contribute to the literature in a student’s concentration area. Thedissertation must be an original contribution to knowledge and of high scholarly merit. The candidate’s research must reveal critical ability and powers of imagination and synthesis. The dissertation is written under the supervision of a research director and a research committee and cannot be a collection of unrelated published papers. There must be a logical connection between all components of the dissertation, and these must be integrated in a rational and coherent fashion. It is the responsibility of the student’s research committee to determine the kind and amount of published material that may be included in a dissertation.