The MAIS Folklore Studies concentration offers the only master’s-level degree in folklore in the mid-Atlantic region, with a robust slate of course offerings and strong ties to local institutions such as the Smithsonian Institution, the National Park Service, and the Library of Congress that provide internship and employment opportunities. With a distinguished 40-year history, Mason’s Folklore Studies Program is a leading center for the study of vernacular cultures.
You will study in a program that explores folklore both globally and locally. Our award-winning faculty work in diverse geographies including the British Isles, central Asia and the Middle East, and Latin America, as well as Appalachia and the vibrant cultures that comprise the Washington, D.C., region. You will learn about both contemporary and historical folk cultures. Faculty regularly receive grants for folklore research in which you will have an opportunity to participate.
The Washington, D.C., area offers extensive possibilities for folklore research. Mason’s folklore program collaborates with the Library of Congress each year on the Field School for Cultural Documentation. Here, you will learn how to complete a professional ethnographic project by working in investigative teams to document a local community. Past projects have included the cultures of Arlington National Cemetery, the Alexandria waterfront, and the former coal-mining regions in West Virginia.
The program prepares students for careers in cultural agencies, governmental organizations, and education, as well as advanced study in the humanities. Our graduates work in the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the National Council for the Traditional Arts, Tribal Tech (a technology company that works with indigenous peoples), and jobs in teaching, libraries, and management. Others have pursued doctoral study in leading folklore programs in the United States and internationally.