American and New England Studies


The American and New England Studies project offers students an alternative to completing a thesis, the traditional exit requirement from a master's program. A project — like a thesis — should evolve out of an individual's interest and course work in the American and England Studies Program. The project parallels the thesis in a number of other ways: both are to be the results of thorough research and independent thought; both offer students opportunities for public explanation of their work; and both carry six hours of credit.

The principal difference between the project and the thesis is the final product. While all projects must have a written component, they do not culminate in a lengthy, formal research paper. Rather, the project leads to a different result that may be in one of the following areas:

  • oral history
  • editing or bibliographic work
  • archaeology
  • preservation
  • creative writing
  • curating an exhibit
  • ethnographic field work
  • historic ecology
  • visual arts
  • video or multi-media work
  • public or people's history
  • a catalogue raisonné

The preceding list is suggestive; students are encouraged to develop their own projects in consultation with American and New England Studies faculty. The project may be conceived as an independent work or may lead to a contribution to the programming or activities of a particular institution or agency. In short, depending on individual interests and needs, the six hours may be devoted to an independent project or to an institutionally-based internship project. The American and New England Studies program will provide coordination with institutions and supervision of internships that may be proposed.

Preliminary Proposal

After consulting with American and New England Studies faculty members, the student prepares a preliminary proposal for a project. This preliminary proposal should contain the following:

  1. Rationale: a description of the scope, nature, and objectives of the project, and a statement of how the project relates to current research in the field;
  2. Methodology: an explanation of the methodology of the project;
  3. Bibliography: a short list of works that may have been consulted in preparing the preliminary proposal and/or that will be read during the first semester of work; and a description of the source material for the project.
  4. Advisor/Reader: in consultation with the Director of American and New England Studies, the student will select a project advisor and a reader.

The preliminary proposal must be signed by the advisor and the reader. The proposal will be reviewed by the Curriculum Committee of the American and New England Studies program. The proposal should be prepared, submitted, and approved during the semester before the project work is to begin.

ANE 690: Project

Once the proposal is approved, the student may register for ANE 690: Project (3-6 credits). In most cases an individual will register for ANE 690 over two semesters, taking 3 credit hours each semester.


The two-semester project will be evaluated on a pass/fail basis.