Graduate Program


Our Program                     

The M.A. program at Cal State Fullerton features a vibrant, extensive, interdisciplinary curriculum that will teach you how to analyze, interpret, and critique American culture in the past and the present and apply those skills to a wide range of potential careers.  The department offers more than 40 different electives on topics such as gender, sexuality, race, urban culture, work, crime, nature, technology, social science, public memory, popular culture, and much more and has a dedicated faculty of award-winning teachers and established scholars committed to helping you succeed both while you are here and after graduation. 

We offer you flexibility and the ability to customize your study based on your interests and goals. Built into the M.A. study plan are opportunities to take a number of electives, develop knowledge in other fields, and acquire career skills and experience. Frequently recognized for its affordability, the university is ranked among the best schools at helping students attain marketable degrees at affordable prices.


Our Students

Our students are a diverse group, coming to study with us from a wide variety of institutions and from regions within and beyond California including from South America, Asia, and Europe. Some of our students come to us directly from undergraduate programs; others have been in their careers for years or even decades.  Some are building CVs or resumes to enter Ph.D. or professional programs; some are teachers looking to learn thought-provoking material and hone their skills to take back to their classrooms; others are looking to start careers in journalism, the entertainment industry, the non-profit sector, higher education, or a multitude of other fields.  Others join us without any particular career in mind because they seek the intellectual challenge, fulfillment, and flexibility that our program provides. What they all share is a deep enthusiasm for researching, critiquing, and discussing American culture from a wide variety of perspectives and using a plethora of tools drawn from across the humanities and social sciences. 


Our Curriculum

Our curriculum is designed to provide students with flexible, advanced training in the interdisciplinary analysis of American culture as a complex whole in the past and present.  To that end, our teaching is grounded in a concept of culture that:

  • highlights pluralism and examines the creative tension between unity and diversity, power and resistance in American experiences;
  • emphasizes the process of historical change, compelling students to trace the past sources of contemporary issues;
  • moves fluidly between local, regional, national, and global contexts;
  • is self-consciously interdisciplinary, requiring students to integrate knowledge and methodologies from across the humanities and social sciences;

With this concept of culture at its core, our curriculum is designed to help students develop advanced research, writing, and analytical skills that they can apply in their daily lives, communities, and careers. Through our coursework, department events, and the examination or thesis process, you will learn how to analyze and critique American culture from a variety of perspectives; develop and conduct original, interdisciplinary research; and communicate your work to diverse audiences.


Our Research Resources

CSUF is in proximity to multiple research archives and resources, including the Huntington Library, the Nixon Presidential Library, The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the Japanese American National Museum collection, the ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives, the Autry Museum of the American West, and the USC and UCLA film and television archives.


Our Alumni

Our students go on to a wide variety of careers and programs such as high school and community college teaching, educational administration, library sciences, journalism, entertainment, corporate management, filmmaking, public policy, and grassroots organizing. People from a wide range of careers see our program as a means of enhancing their job skills, while still others use the program's flexibility to explore their passions and find a career that suits them. 

For students whose eventual goal is a Ph.D. in American studies or a related field, we provide special advisement and training. In recent years, our graduate students have been admitted to Ph.D. programs at UC Berkeley, UC Davis, UCLA, UC Santa Barbara, UC Santa Cruz, University of Pennsylvania, University of Southern California, Indiana University, University of Michigan, The University of Texas at Austin, University of Iowa, Michigan State, University of Kansas, University of Maryland, Tulane University, and Washington State University, among others.

For more information about what our graduates are doing, see our Alumni Profiles.