American and New England Studies

MA in American and New England Studies

PLEASE NOTE: The University of Maine Board of Trustees has eliminated this program. Currently enrolled students with questions should contact the Dean of CAHS for more information.

Director: Kent Ryden

Professors: Cameron, Cassidy, Edney, Ryden

New England, as the publisher of Yankee magazine recently quipped, looks more like New England today than it did 30 years ago. Such observations reflect a new self-consciousness about regional identity in general, and about New England in particular. Popular interest in regionalism also underscores new scholarly attention to the role of cultural institutions, practices, and performances in helping to shape both national and regional identities. Mythic New England embodies some of the most familiar American images and the region has historically held a special place in the American imaginary landscape. Steeped in tradition and the kinds of pastoral images celebrated by Yankee magazine, New England was also the nation's most urban and Roman Catholic region in the post-Civil War period. It was multicultural from the beginning.

The American and New England Studies program is committed to studying regionalism in the context of contemporary thought and scholarship. It is both a regional and an American studies program. The program's focus is on New England, but the region is examined in the broad context of American social and cultural experience as a whole. Exploring as well as destabilizing "official" New England, the program offers students a wide range of interdisciplinary approaches and methodologies–including folklore, literary studies, visual culture, landscape and cultural geography, art and architectural history, archaeology, cultural criticism, environmental studies, and ethnography–but stresses the historicity of such practices, and of the culture and society they set out to explore.

The program seeks:

  • to offer students a challenging interdisciplinary program focusing on the study of New England and the "new" regionalism;
  • to emphasize the critical role of the arts, humanities, and social sciences in understanding New England and in interpreting its history and culture to the public;
  • to prepare students for a variety of opportunities that require critical thinking, scholarly analysis, research skills, and the ability to communicate effectively;
  • to integrate the study of regionalism into American studies;
  • to create new opportunities for exchanges among scholars, professionals, and graduate students with common interests in American and New England studies;
  • to act as a cultural and educational resource for the region.

Through courses, lectures, conferences, and internships, the program explores New England's distinctiveness and examines the region's contributions to American culture as a whole.

Program Policies

In addition to the general policies described in the Academic Policies chapter, specific policies of this program are as follows:

Admissions Credit Students who have not been officially admitted to the program may take courses for admissions credit. Normally, six admissions credits are the maximum allowed. The director of American and New England Studies must approve all requests for admissions credit.

Transfer Credit

A student may transfer up to six credits into the American and New England Studies Program. To be considered for transfer credit, previous coursework must be interdisciplinary and must focus on America or New England. In addition, only coursework awarded a grade of B or better will be considered for transfer credit. The Admissions Committee will review all requests for transfer credit. Course materials should accompany these requests.


Students should have at least a 3.50 GPA by the time they propose a thesis/project for the thirty-hour track.

Time Limit

Students must complete all requirements for the degree within six years from the date of first matriculation.

The curriculum is unique; unlike other regional studies and American Studies interdisciplinary programs, the curriculum consists of courses that have been created specifically for the American and New England Studies master's degree and that integrate the arts, humanities, and social sciences. Students may pursue a 30-credit program that includes a thesis or project or they may follow a 36-credit program that does not include a thesis or project. Students who elect the 36-credit program must complete two research papers in elective courses. A third option is also available in Public Culture and History. Students take 27 credits in ANE and 9 credits in nonprofit management and internship. Students in this track also must complete two research papers in elective ANES courses.

30-Credit Program

Required Courses Credits
     ANE 600 Creating New England I 3
     ANE 610 Creating New England II 3
     ANE 675 Workshop in Research and Writing 3
     ANE 690 Project  
     or ANE 695 Thesis 6
     ANE 695 Thesis 6
Elective Courses  
     Five courses chosen from ANE offerings 15
36-Credit Program  
Required Courses  
     ANE 600 Creating New England I 3
     ANE 610 Creating New England II 3
Elective Courses  
     Ten courses chosen from ANE offerings 30
Public Culture and History (36 credits)  
Required Courses Credits
     ANE 600 Creating New England I 3
     ANE 610 Creating New England II 3
     ANE 670 Museums and Public Culture 3
Elective Courses  
     Six courses chosen from ANE offerings 18
     One of the following 9-credit tracks: 9
     Track A  
          ANE 687 Internship 3
          2 courses in nonprofit management 6
     Track B  
          ANE 687* Internship 3
          ANE 687* Internship 3
          1 course in nonprofit management 3

Please note: Beginning with students admitted for fall 2014, ANE 675, Workshop in Research and Writing, will be a required course for all degree programs.

*Internships must be at different institutions or in different areas of museum work (e.g., curatorial, educational).

Both the 30-credit and the 36-credit program offer students opportunities to focus their coursework in particular areas: history, literature, material culture and the visual arts. In addition, the project and thesis offer students opportunities to demonstrate intellectual independence and creativity by developing programs of study that address individual interests.

Admission to the American and New England Studies program is selective. The program seeks applicants who have a bachelor's degree with a record of academic achievement and who are committed to employing interdisciplinary approaches and methodologies. The program welcomes full-time and part-time students; courses are offered in the late afternoon and evening. All applications are reviewed by an admissions committee comprised of the director of American and New England Studies and faculty who teach in the program. Interviews may be required at the discretion of the Admissions Committee.

Application Materials

In addition to the materials described in the Admissions chapter, applicants for this program must submit:

Application Deadline

Applications for the spring semester must be received by October 15. Applications for the fall semester must be received by January 15 to be considered for tuition waivers and by February 15 to be considered for graduate assistantships.

Applications received after these deadlines may be considered on a space-available basis through the end of March. Early acceptance may be considered at the request of the applicant and at the discretion of the Admissions Committee.