The M.A. in Irish and Irish-American studies has been structured to offer students both a comprehensive grounding in the Irish studies field and the opportunity for in-depth course work and research in the new forms of inter- and transdisciplinary scholarship characteristic of the best recent work in the field. Courses are offered in history, literature, music, language, and cultural studies. The curriculum is structured in three tiers: core courses (8 credits), field specialization courses (8 credits), and electives (16 credits).
Core Courses: All students enrolled in the M.A. are required to take two courses in their first year, the Irish Studies Seminar I, IRSH-GA 1001 (fall), and the Irish Studies Seminar II: An Teanga Bheo—The Irish Language, IRSH-GA 1002 (spring). The Irish Studies Seminar I is the core course of the M.A. It is designed to engage participants with the ideas and debates that animate all the component disciplines of Irish studies and to prepare students for the topics-oriented classes that form the bulk of the M.A. curriculum. The Irish Studies Seminar II is required of all students entering the M.A. program without prior Irish language study. The Irish language forms an integral part of Irish political and cultural history as well as contemporary intellectual life, yet very few universities offer course work in it. This seminar is designed to give students an accelerated introduction to conversational Irish and to the grammar, structure, and history of the language. The course will allow students better to comprehend the influence of Irish language place names, folklore, and Gaelic customs in modern Ireland. Students who demonstrate prior study of the language may be exempted from this requirement with permission of the director of the M.A.
Field Specialization: The M.A. offers a second tier of survey courses to assure coverage of major works and trends in the field via two-part surveys of Irish history, History of Modern Ireland I and II, IRSH-GA 1416 and IRSH-GA 1417, and of Irish literature, Literature of Modern Ireland I and II, IRSH-GA 1083 and IRSH-GA 1084. These courses are designed to offer M.A. students the courses necessary to attain a comprehensive grasp of one or more of the primary disciplines within Irish studies and to service students in other graduate programs who wish to make Irish and Irish-American history or Irish literature a component or minor field of their studies.
Electives and Individual Specialization: General elective courses are offered in Irish music, Irish history, Irish-American history, and Irish literature, and special topics courses in Irish literature and in Irish and Irish-American studies; this third tier allows students to complete the eight courses required for the M.A. degree and to develop their own particular areas of specialization. Students enrolled in the M.A. may, with permission of the director of the M.A., enroll in relevant courses offered within other programs and areas of scholarship within the University, including the Departments of English, Music, and History, the American Studies program; the Tisch Performance Studies Department; and the Draper Program.
Thesis or Final Project: All students are required to complete a final project or thesis. This requirement may be met in either of two ways. With permission of their faculty adviser, students have the option of enrolling, in their final semester, in Guided Research, IRSH-GA 1099, in order to prepare an M.A. research thesis. This is recommended for students who wish to go on to pursue a Ph.D. degree. Students not approved to write a thesis must designate, with the approval of their faculty adviser, one research essay submitted on a course within their field of specialization as their final project. This essay must be revised to meet standards of publication in the field and must be approved by one additional faculty member in addition to the student’s faculty adviser.