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MA/MS Specialization in FOLKLORE 

NOTE: At the moment, Folklore is the only specialization available in the Folklore and American Studies program.

The graduate specialization in Folklore allows students to focus their coursework specifically within the field of folklore studies. Located between the disciplines of literature and anthropology, folklore is the study of traditional beliefs, stories, legends, songs, festivals, and arts of a given group. A primary emphasis in folklore studies is on tradition and the ways traditions manifest in the modern world. A second emphasis is on vernacular practices - that is, those artistic activities that are generated by people informally. Folklore students document, analyze, and interpret a variety of artistic traditions and in doing so become culturally competent, highly skilled culture brokers and adept communicators.

The Folklore program at Utah State University was founded over forty years ago and offers a flexible, interdisciplinary approach to the study of folklore, as well as close interaction between faculty and students. The Folklore program is particularly strong in areas of legend, digital folklore, the supernatural, landscape, and festival. Faculty affiliated with the program are well known in their fields, have a strong program of research, and are committed to student learning. Students in the Folklore Program also have many opportunities to work closely with the Fife Folklore Archives, one of the largest repositories of American folklore in the United States. The program is also home to the Digital Folklore Project, which tracks digital folklore trends, such as urban legends, Internet memes, hashtags, vines, and other trending items, on an annual basis.


Students who declare a Folklore emphasis must complete 30 credits that meet the following requirements:


ENGL/HIST 6700: Introduction to Folklore Studies
Introduces students to the field of folklore, including the history of the discipline, central arguments, terms, and concepts, and research methods.

ENGL/HIST 6720: Oral History and Fieldwork
Basic methodology class for folklorists and oral historians. Students learn interviewing techniques and other methods for observing and recording the performance of tradition and traditional history.


Students may choose any of the following folklore courses, depending on course offerings:

ENGL/HIST 6710: Space, Place, and Folklore
Study of expressive culture in relation to space and place in social theory. Perspectives range from ideas about landscape and region to globalization.

ENGL/HIST 6740: Folk Narrative
Covers principal narrative genres in folk tradition (myth, tale, legend, ballad) and the basic theories for their analysis and discussion.

ENGL 6750: Advanced Folklore Workshop: Fife Conference
Intensive, one-week summer workshop where class meets all day. Topics vary.

ENGL/HIST 6760 Folk Art and Material Culture
Covers the history of the idea of folk art, contemporary and established questions pertaining to vernacular production, and an exploration and analysis of actual objects in relation to theory.

ENGL/HIST 6770 Seminar in Folklore and Folklife
Topics vary, covering close, professional-level study of major areas of folklore and folklife research. Past seminars have included “Folklore and Work,” “Legend and the Supernatural,” “Folklore and the Internet.”  “Digital Folklore” is the course most commonly offered under this number.

ENGL/HIST 6900 Graduate Internship
Students are encouraged to participate in a formal internship to fine tune their skills and professionalize. Internships are arranged on an individual basis; recent interns have spent their summers at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. All internships must meet internship requirements of 150-200 hours for 3 graduate credits and must be pre-approved by the Program Director.


For electives, students may choose any graduate courses offered within the English dept., including folklore classes

- Students who decide to complete a Plan B thesis must take 12 credits of open elective courses (4 courses)
- Students who decide to complete a Plan A thesis must take 9 credits of open elective courses (3 courses)


Students must choose to complete either a Plan A or a Plan B thesis. Students who decide to complete a Plan B thesis must register for 3 credits of thesis work. Students who decide to complete a Plan A thesis must register for 6 credits of thesis work.

The Folklore and American Studies program strongly encourages students to complete a Plan B thesis.

Plan B: For a Plan B thesis, students must write a single research paper that is modeled on a publishable journal article. For the Folklore and American Studies program, the minimum page requirement for a Plan B thesis is 25 pages, although most tend to be 30-50 pages. The length of a Plan B thesis will be set at the discretion of the thesis committee chair.

Plan A: For a Plan A thesis, students must write an extensive research project that consists of several chapters. For the Folklore and American Studies program, a Plan A thesis must be a minimum of 50 pages, although most tend to be 50-100 pages. The length of a Plan A thesis will be set at the discretion of the thesis committee chair.

NOTE: If you would like to complete a Plan A thesis, you must complete your thesis proposal defense by April 15 during your second semester in the program. If you do not complete a thesis proposal defense by this date, you will not be eligible to complete a Plan A thesis and must complete a Plan B thesis instead.