Skip to main content

New ASU degree to expand knowledge of American culture

Japanese-American boys in an internment camp
November 03, 2014

The School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies announces the start of a new master’s degree program in American studies beginning in fall 2015.

This program seeks to train students to expand their historical knowledge of American cultures and social conditions while learning the contexts for contemporary trends in North America.

The new degree will call upon the expertise of faculty from various units across the university, including the School of Humanities, Arts and Cultural Studies; the School of Social Transformation; the School of Transborder Studies; the School of Social and Behavioral Sciences; the Department of English; and the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts.

Karen Leong, professor in the School of Social Trandformation and American studies faculty, describes the importance of this new degree for both American and international students: “American studies scholars explore the processes and ideas that construct the United States and its influences upon other cultures and communities within the nation and throughout the world.”

Matthew Garcia, director of the School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies who led the effort to bring this degree to life, is “proud to engage the talents of our faculty in the service of deepening our knowledge of what it means to be an American and how the United States has shaped the world. It is a great addition to the ASU experience for students who seek career opportunities that demand familiarity with U.S. cultural formation and governance.”

In the true spirit of the New American University, the transdisciplinarity of the program’s faculty ensures that an American studies master’s graduate could contribute to multiple career outcomes for students, from education to international business, careers in entertainment, public humanities journalism, communications, public engagement and community relations, museum studies and national park service.

The degree launch will be marked by a reception, from 5-7 p.m., Nov. 6, in downtown Los Angeles, to coincide with the annual meeting of the American Studies Association.

For more information, including application and full faculty list, please visit To join us at the reception, please email

The School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies is an academic unit of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Arizona State University.