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The Best of Both Worlds

The Master of Arts in Literature, Culture, and Technology will teach you how the deep study of literature, culture, and ideas interfaces with the increasingly digital professional world. You will develop the intellectual, emotional, technical, and social aptitudes necessary in the twenty-first century workplace in seminars that emphasize the careful analysis of texts and theories. You will graduate with a personalized portfolio and a command of tools and methods drawn from the fields of literary studies, media and cultural studies, writing studies, computer science, data science, and game design.

Why DC?
What Makes Our MA Unique?

DC as a Tech Hub

The DC area is a growing tech hub and our students will be in the perfect location to apply for jobs in gaming, tech firms, and the federal government. As a student in our program, you will have access to a wealth of educational resources that go beyond AU’s campus, from area museums to nationally recognized newspapers and magazines that are invested in looking closely at the connection between the humanities and technology.

Even before Amazon opens its HQ2 in Arlington, the Washington DC area has a higher than average ratio of unfilled tech jobs to qualified workers. The area is home to many federal research and development initiatives. Washington is among the top cities for digital inclusivity with women comprising more than 30% of local the tech workforce. Bethesda Softworks is a major game studio in the Maryland suburbs. Tech firms such as Deloitte and AIR and learning platforms such as Everfi and LearnZillion need researchers and individuals who can analyze a wide breadth of information to provide consultant solutions.

What Makes Us Unique

Our program integrates conceptual approaches to the study of culture with practical skills in digital technology. Unlike the digital humanities, we bring the humanities to bear on the tech industry, both theoretically and professionally, in addition to incorporating technology into liberal arts education. To learn more about the MA in Literature, Culture, and Technology, take a look at the conversation between the two founders of the program, Deborah Payne and David Pike.

What sets our program apart:

  • Our program takes only 15 months to complete with full-time study. Part-time enrollment is also available.
  • We offer specialized tracks in interdisciplinary approaches to literature, culture, and writing; data and computer science; or game design.
  • Students pursuing a technology track can obtain a specialized certificate along with their MA degree.
  • Students pursuing the interdisciplinary track can specialize in literature, cinema, transcultural studies, writing, or writing pedagogy.
  • Our innovative core curriculum offers all students a foundation in critical thinking and the methods of humanistic inquiry, as well as offering practical, hands-on skills in digital technologies.
  • We offer online MA courses every summer.
  • Through collaborative projects with AU faculty and professional internships, you will have access to many cultural institutions and professional opportunities in the Washington, DC, area, one of the nation’s fastest-growing technology hubs.

Learn from Our Cutting-Edge Faculty

At AU, you will have the opportunity to work closely with our nationally and internationally recognized faculty. You will learn from expert scholars in Literature, Computer Science, and Game Design who are innovative researchers and active practitioners in their fields, as well as being dedicated mentors and teachers. Our professors’ diverse interests and areas of expertise will allow you to explore numerous research options during the MA program.

Three Tracks for Developing Expertise

The MA in Literature, Culture, and Technology prepares you for today’s world with superb writing skills, the ability to extrapolate big ideas, an aptitude for close reading, the exercise of emotional intelligence, and a commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. Students supplement foundation seminars with practical courses from one of three tracks:

  • Data and computer science(students pursuing a technology track can obtain a specialized certificate along with their MA)
  • Game development
  • Literary studies (literature, cinema, transcultural studies, writing, and writing pedagogy)

An interdisciplinary professional portfolio or academic project demonstrating your skills completes your degree.

Full-time students complete the 30-credit program in 15 months, with the option of summer courses online. See MA Admission & Degree Requirements.

Gabe Bullard

MA, Literature, Culture, and TechnologyGabe Bullard.

Gabe Bullard, the deputy news director for audio at NPR affiliate WAMU, has been studying journalism and working as a journalist for half his life. He was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University, managed WFPL in Louisville, worked as deputy director for digital news at National Geographic, and was among the founding producers of the NPR program 1A.

Gabe is also an MA candidate in American University’s new Literature, Culture, and Technology program.

He says his graduate classes at AU have made his thinking and writing stronger and clearer. And one class in particular, “Emotions, Texts, and Subtext,” taught by program co-director Arielle Bernstein, inspired him to try a new type of writing and hone his critical voice. The result is a full collection of essays on how we evaluate movies, TV, and music in the streaming era. It is Gabe’s capstone, and he is also working on getting the essays published.

Gabe says he especially appreciates the mix of theory and application in his classes. “Literature, culture, and technology covers a wide swath of topics, and the program has changed how I think about everything from novels to the electronic devices I use every day.”  

Gabe’s goals include publishing more essays, and eventually a book. In the meantime, he says, he wants to keep applying what he’s learned in classes to his daily work. “I love journalism, but reporting and editing news is so different from the type of writing I’m doing for my classes at AU. The program has made me better at my job, while also presenting an avenue for how I might do more writing about culture.”

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