Admissions and Financial Aid

Below you’ll find information about the admissions process here at CSER’s M.A. program in American Studies.

For information regarding admissions policies and procedures at the Graduate School in general, see their website HERE.

To access the application itself, click HERE.

The application deadline can be found HERE.

Applications must include transcripts, 2 recommendation letters, a statement of purpose, and a writing sample. GRE scores are optional but not required.

Statement of Purpose

In your statement of purpose, please be sure to make clear your intentions regarding the program’s interdisciplinary freedom. As the degree culminates in a final thesis project, successful students typically enter the program with a sense of their long-term research interests. Successful applications do not need to make a formal project proposal, but you should articulate how you would make use of the interdisciplinary structure of the program to pursue your academic interests. 

Writing Sample

The writing sample should be approximately 15 pages, although some students may choose to submit more. While selections from undergraduate theses can be effective, they are not required. The committee prefers to see applicants’ research abilities within this context. If you have engaged in non-academic forms of writing for publication that are more closely related to American Studies than your undergraduate work, please feel free to include those materials. When selecting a sample, please ensure that you provide work that is as recent and relevant as possible.

Recommendation Letters

The admissions committee understands that some applicants may have been out of school for a significant period of time, and therefore, they might prefer to have a professional contact among their recommenders.

Financial Aid and Fiducia Fellowships

Many of our students use Columbia Financial Aid to pay the costs of their degree. Please see their website HERE for more information.


Each year, with the support of the Fiducia Fund, the M.A. program selects 5 Fiducia Fellows, who receive significant financial support (at least $20,000). The Fiducia Fellowship aims to support students from diverse backgrounds who are coming to Columbia to conduct experimental, interdisciplinary research.


If you would like to be considered for the Fiducia Fellowship, please contact the program director upon submission of your application.

Transfer Courses

Students have the option to transfer credits for classes previously taken at Columbia toward their M.A. degree. More information on this process is available on the GSAS website.

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CSER continues to be Columbia's main interdisciplinary space for the study of ethnicity and race and their implications for thinking about culture, power, hierarchy, social identities, and political communities.
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