Frequently Asked Questions for MA Students

What do Master's students focus their research on?

Master’s students can choose from any course electives offered within the department, either in American Studies or Africana Studies, as well as up to two courses outside of the department. Thus, elective courses offer the flexibility for each student to fully extend their range of intellectual query and seek the full range of SCA faculty expertise and instruction as a whole.  Students work primarily with two SCA faculty members who serve as their advisor and thesis readers. A final thesis (40-60 pages in length) is written in consultation with their thesis advisor while completing a 4-credit Independent Study.

Examples of recent thesis titles include:

The Ghosts of Steel Point: An Interdisciplinary Project in Bridgeport, CT
Archival Encounters: The Ballroom, AIDS, and the Not-Yet Past (1980-Now)
Not Quite White, Not Quite Right: Critical Analyses and Challenges in Middle Eastern Diaspora
Harlem Riot, 1935: Urban Colonialism and Early Struggles for Civil Rights

What kinds of jobs do people with a Master’s students get?

Some students use the MA program as preparation to enter a PhD program; however, many of our students choose professional tracks as: artists, curators, journalists, producers, educators, activists, administrators…

Do accepted Master’s students get funding?

Master’s students should visit the Financial Aid page provided by the Graduate School of Arts and Science, which includes information regarding the Tuition Incentive Program (TIP), Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), payment plans and external resources.

While the department is generally unable to offer any financial aid to its Master’s students at the time of admission, there are competitive department and NYU travel awards and fellowships available once enrolled in the program.

How many semesters does it take to complete the MA degree?

Students may choose to study Part-Time or Full-Time. Full-Time students register for 12 points a semester, and can finish in three semesters. Students have a time to degree limit of five years, and must remain registered (either for credit or via a Maintenance of Matriculation fee) each fall and spring semester until graduation to remain enrolled.


Can Part-Time students work while they complete their degree?

Students that study Part-Time while working must be aware of our course schedule. Required seminars are generally offered during the day time with only a couple of electives each semester being offered in the evening. We’ve found our students can successfully study and work, however, it is helpful if your schedule occasionally provides some flexibility. Please review our course listings from previous semesters (found on our web page) to get a sense of the scheduling.

How do I apply to the program?


You can apply to the program by going to the GSAS Application Resource Center. There you can apply online and review a list of requirements.

What are the minimum GRE scores needed to apply?

There are no minimum GRE scores needed to apply. As part of the admissions process to the program we look at all aspects of the application, especially the personal statement.

How do I set up an appointment with one of your professors?

We cannot make appointments for prospective students due to the high volume of student inquiries; however, we suggest that you email us and we will try to answer your questions as quickly as possible. If accepted into the program, we will arrange meetings with faculty and students.

How long does my writing sample have to be?

The writing sample should be 15-25 pages of a short paper or small section from a larger thesis or work.

When will admissions decisions be made?


Late February to early March.

Is there a foreign language requirement?

Proficiency in at least one foreign language (African or European) is desired but not required to enter the program. Once admitted to the MA, students are required to demonstrate proficiency in a second language before the writing of their thesis.

Will my application still be considered if my GRE scores arrive after the application deadline?

The program will fully consider your application, assuming you take the test when you plan in December and that official test scores arrive very soon after the deadline date. Please be sure that all other parts of your application are received at the Graduate School by the application deadline.