Skip to main content
Skip to main content

B.A. Program

American studies students gain a solid foundation in theories and methods applicable to the investigation of American culture and society, past and present.

The American studies major provides flexibility by enabling students to pursue a supporting area such as English, history, sociology, African American studies, women’s studies or media studies, in conjunction with coursework in American studies.

Current Requirements

Required Courses

The major requires the completion of 42 credit hours, with a grade of C- or higher in each course, distributed as follows:

  • AMST101: “Introduction to American Studies” (3 credits).
  • One additional lower-level AMST course (3 credits).
  • Two “Americanist Foundation” courses from the list of currently approved courses (6 credits).
  • Four upper-level AMST courses (12 credits). One of these four courses may be an internship (AMST386) or an independent study (AMST398).
  • AMST340: “Introduction to History, Theories and Methods in American Studies” (3 credits). AMST340 is a prerequisite to AMST450: “Seminar in American Studies,” and cannot be taken concurrently with the seminar.
  • AMST450: “Seminar in American Studies” (3 credits).
  • Four courses in an approved Focus Area in a department, minor or certificate program outside of AMST (12 credits)
  • As of Fall 2012, students must earn a cumulative GPA of 2.0 within the major in order to graduate.

NOTE: In addition to fulfilling departmental requirements, majors in American studies must fulfill the foreign language requirement of the College of Arts and Humanities, defined as language proficiency through the intermediate level. For more information, please visit the College of Arts and Humanities’ page on the Global Engagement requirement.

For further information or to arrange an appointment to discuss the major in American studies, contact the Director of Undergraduate Studies. 

Past Requirements (Before 06/01/07)

Required Courses

  • AMST201: “Introduction to American Studies” (3 hours). Required of all majors.
  • 3-6 hours from among the following lower-division courses:
  • AMST203: “Popular Culture in America”
  • AMST204: “Film and American Culture Studies”
  • AMST205: “Material Aspects of American Life”
  • AMST207: “Contemporary American Cultures”
  • AMST211: “Technology and American Culture”
  • AMST212: “Diversity in American Culture”
  • AMST330: “Critics of American Culture” (3 hours). Required of all majors.
  • 6-9 hours from among the following upper-division courses:
  • AMST418: “Cultural Themes in America”
  • AMST428: “American Cultural Eras”
  • AMST429: “Perspectives on Popular Culture”
  • AMST432: “Literature and American Society”
  • AMST433: “American Humor”
  • AMST498: “Special Topics” (if offered as a course)
  • AMST450: “Seminar in American Studies” (3 hours). Required of all majors. The capstone course in the major, AMST450, is generally the final course that majors take in the department. Prerequisites: Senior standing and completion of 9 hours in American studies courses, including AMST201 and AMST330.
  • American studies courses such as AMST360: “Fieldwork in American Studies,” the special topics numbers (AMST298, AMST498), internships (AMST386) and the independent studies number (AMST398) may be used to fulfill 3 credits towards major requirements.

Focus Areas Requirement

The remaining 24 hours (eight courses) of the major are grouped in two focus areas, each consisting of 12 hours of coursework taken in other departments or programs.

One of the two focus areas must consist of appropriately grouped courses taken in one of the following: English (American literature); history (U.S. history); sociology/anthropology; art/architectural history; media studies.

The other core area may be taken in a second disciplinary core from the list above, or it may be an interdisciplinary core consisting of courses from several departments or programs. Interdisciplinary or thematic cores include: African American studies, women’s studies, popular culture, personality and culture, ethnic studies, comparative culture, material culture, business and economics, government and politics, education, philosophy, journalism, science and technology.
Because the choice and content of the two core areas are crucial to the overall coherence of each student’s program, majors plan them in close consultation with a faculty advisor.

Note: Of the overall total of 45 hours, at least 24 must be taken in upper division (300/400 level) courses. Students must receive a grade of C or better in all courses offered in fulfillment of major requirements. In addition to the requirements of the major, students must fulfill all university and college requirements as set forth in the Undergraduate Catalog, the College of Arts and Humanities Mini Guide and the Schedule of Classes. Majors are encouraged to discuss the fulfilling of these other requirements with their advisor so as to achieve the greatest possible coherence in their overall undergraduate program, and are strongly encouraged to have a preliminary senior audit prior to pre-registration for the senior year.

In Good Company

A mayor. A lawyer. A football star and philanthropist. A museum curator. An activist. The success of our alumni is far reaching and diverse in scope.

Learn more about our alumni