One can pursue a MA in Southern Studies following one of three tracks described below: thesis, documentary, or internship.  All students must select courses from at least two academic disciplines with a maximum of twelve hours in any single discipline. If you have questions, please contact Dr. Katie McKee, Graduate Studies Advisor, at

Thesis Track

The thesis degree consists of a minimum of 30 total hours of course work, including SST 601 and 602, 18 separate hours of course work, and six thesis hours (SST 697). Students must complete and defend a thesis. These thesis hours can be divided into two semesters or completed together in one. Coursework must incorporate at least three disciplines (one may be Southern Studies) and may include two (and no more) Independent Studies (SST 605). A thesis must be a presentation of original scholarship in the form of a written work (80–120 pages). The thesis student must pass a final oral defense. Students should think about the thesis early in their programs: using seminar papers to formulate a thesis project helps facilitate research and can contribute to timely completion of the master’s degree. View a list of thesis topics pursued by M.A. students over the years.

Documentary Track

The documentary track is similar to the thesis track in that it requires SST 601 and 602, 18 hours of additional coursework including 533 (Fieldwork & Oral History), either 534 (Documentary Photography) or 537 (Introduction to Documentary Film-Making), and 6 hours of thesis. NOTE: SST 533 is a prerequisite for both SST 534 and 537. The thesis hours can be divided into two semesters or completed together in one. A final documentary project—using audio, still photography, film, or a combination thereof—must be presented, along with an essay (50-60 pages) that chronicles the evolution of the student’s thinking regarding the documentary process and the development of his/her final project. Students on this track assemble a committee to oversee their work, just as students on the thesis and internship track do. That committee should be chaired by a UM faculty member (not necessarily in Southern Studies) and two additional faculty members.


Internship Track

This option requires a minimum of 36 hours of graduate coursework, which includes SST 601, 602, and 30 hours of additional coursework. The non-thesis option requires an internship for at least six credit hours (SST 603), an internship project, and a colloquium presentation growing out of the internship. A student interested in pursuing this track should make arrangements with a suitable institution to set up the internship. Faculty members may participate in this process, but it is ultimately the student’s responsibility to secure the position. Internships may not be completed as part of a student’s regular employment. An on-campus faculty member will advise the student and generally oversee the project. A representative of the sponsoring institution will supervise the intern on site. Internship students will hold the internship for the duration of an entire semester, working approximately 20 hours a week. At the end of the internship, students will make an oral presentation about their experience and write a 40-50 page essay. Students on the internship track assemble a committee just as students on the other two tracks do; the committee should consist of the faculty adviser to the internship and two additional faculty members. Students have served as interns with the following institutions: The Ogden Museum of Southern Art, Garden and Gun magazine, The Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Heritage, Old Dominion University Gallery, The Georgia Historical Society, the Mississippi Arts Commission, the Mississippi Department of Archives and History, the Boys and Girls Club, Burns Belfry Museum and Multicultural Center, the Southern Arts Federation, and Southern Living magazine.