The American Studies major is designed to allow students great flexibility in creating a course of study focused on social and cultural issues that matter to them. Students combine required courses in the major with relevant courses selected from across the curriculum, putting together their own individualized and interdisciplinary American Studies major. Working closely with an advisor each student crafts their own unique pathway through the major.
Most of our courses do not have prerequisites and many students first encounter American Studies through 200 and 300 level courses with topics that interest them. Introductory courses in American Studies are designed to teach students how to approach interdisciplinary learning, therefore we advise students early in their interest in pursuing an American Studies major to take one of our 100 level courses.
In addition to fulfilling specific major requirements, students need to craft a concentration: three for four courses devoted to a single theme or academic discipline. For example, a student might have a concentration in Asian American Studies, Latino Studies, Native American and Indigenous Studies, sexuality, urban studies, environmental studies, or in literature, history, economics, or political science, or film and media. Students declare their concentration at the time of declaring an American Studies major.
The single required course in the major is “Research Methods in American Studies” (AMST 468). This seminar is offered every year and must be taken by the spring semester of junior year. This course serves an important function in preparing students for their senior projects. Students who take this course in the sophomore year often find it very helpful in shaping their experience of the major.
In their final year, students complete a large senior project that is the culmination of their work throughout the major. Envisioning the senior project and preparing for it through the concentration and course choices shapes the experience of American Studies majors.