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Communication & American Culture
Tentative Program Outline

2-year master's degree program, enrolling new students with B.A./B.S. degrees in communication or liberal arts

*3 curricular components:
  • Media component: specialization in one communication medium (20-30 credits, depending on undergraduate/professional background), e.g., speech, print, video, multi-media, historical sites
  • Culture component: specialization in traditional discipline OR interdisciplinary theme (20-30 credits, depending on undergraduate preparation), e.g., literature, history, political science, OR nineteenth-century studies, Appalachian studies, labor studies, ethnic studies. Some students may want to earn second master's degree in traditional discipline, subject to admission to that program.
  • Tools component: appropriate research competencies (8-12 credits), e.g., archival research, statistics, criticism, interviewing
  • *Internship, locally or regionally
    e.g., Kennedy Museum, Channel 20, historical societies, Underground RR documentation sites, Hill Country Heritage Program, Hellferty Associates, African-American Museum [Xenia]

    *Project or thesis

    Discussion Items
    Issues in Communication & American Culture & Other Interdisciplinary Programming


  • Integrate faculty research expertise into graduate curriculum (most cutting-edge scholarship occurs at disciplinary borders
  • Attract new graduate students t o university
  • Meet demand for programming in new and expanding media, for commercial producers and non-profit organizations, including museums and historical sites
  • Promote interdisciplinary undergraduate offerings, including Tier III
  • Organize research institute to fund and support interdisciplinary faculty research, and provide opportunities for postdoctoral research (post-doc's might also help pick up departmental teaching from participating faculty?)
  • Enhance publica tion opportunities for OU Press
  • Copyrights & royalties on documentary works
  • Tap into state funding for local tourism (e.g., State of Connecticut just gave Ken Burns more than $500,000 for a documentary on Mark Twain's life, which will pay special attention to his home in Hartford)
  • Mobilize common research and teaching strengths across the disciplines (e.g., Appalachian & regional studies, nineteenth-century culture, American technology, African-American and women's studies).


  • How can we assure adequate funding of interdisciplinary programs (including 3-9s and library support) when most courses are supplied by regular departments?
  • How can we assure program continuity when faculty are hired and tenured by departments?
  • How can faculty participate in interdisciplinary programs without depriving their departments of teaching power and injuring their departmental merit evaluations?
  • How can we make team teaching fea sible for faculty, departments, and the university?
  • How can we assure required or essential courses when departments make teaching assignments?
  • Click here for more information about the M.A. in Communication and American Culture.