Graduate Certificate in Folklore Studies

The Graduate Certificate in Folklore Studies enables students to explore the processes of tradition that move through multiple expressive forms, such as folktales, folk beliefs, folk medicine, folk art, folksong, and literature. A discipline based on ethnographic fieldwork, folklore studies offers students a chance to work in communities and collect living traditional materials that are critical to human identity and values. Interdisciplinary by nature, folklore thrives on local particularities as well as compelling global connections.

Why choose this program?

Mason’s Folklore Program offers the only graduate-level training 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. 

The Washington, D.C., area offers extensive possibilities for folklore research. Mason’s Folklore Program collaborates regularly with the Library of Congress on the Field School for Cultural Documentation. In collaboration with the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage and the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, the program also offers training and practical experience in festival management.

What this program offers:

The program prepares students for careers in cultural agencies, governmental organizations, and teaching institutions, and advanced study in the humanities. Graduates of the program work in the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the National Council for the Traditional Arts, and Tribal Tech, a technology company that works with indigenous peoples, and jobs in teaching, libraries or management. Others graduates have pursued doctoral study in leading folklore programs in the United States and internationally.

Our students and faculty:

The program offers opportunities to explore folklore both globally and locally. Faculty in the program work in diverse geographies including Africa, China, Central Asia, the Middle East, and Latin America, as well as Appalachia and the vibrant cultures that comprise the Washington, D.C. region. You will also learn about both contemporary and historical folk cultures. Award-winning faculty in the program regularly receive grants for folklore research in which you will have an opportunity to participate.