American Studies

College of Arts and Humanities
1328 Tawes Hall
Phone: 301-405-1354

The program in American Studies aims to help students develop knowledge about American society and culture that is critical, contextual, and informed by a high degree of personal awareness. We emphasize two broad themes that inform the department’s teaching and research: the social construction of difference and the culture of everyday life. The former speaks to the ways in which people and groups create and sustain their identities and affiliations; the latter focuses on patterns of belief and value that give form and meaning to the lived experience of Americans, past and present. 

Chair: P. Williams-Forson

Professors: P. Williams-Forson, J. Wong

Associate Professors: L. Bruce (Grad Prog Dir), J. Farman, P. Guerrero, C. Hanhardt, N. Mirabal (USLT Dir) 

Assistant Professors: E. Hageman, B. Marquez, J. Moore Pewu

Instructors: M. Arnoldi (Res Assoc), M. Salazar-Porzio

Senior Lecturers: A. Ali (Undergrad Prog Dir), R. Chester, S. Pramschufer

Affiliate Professors: D. Andrews, R. Bauer, M. Bell, C. Cabrera, W. Cohen, B. Thornton-Dill, M. Feldstein, J. Greene, M. Leone, R. Levine, D. Linebaugh, R. Muncy, B. Pearson, J. Quintero-Herencia, S. Ray, B. Richardson, J. Richardson, P. Shackel, S. Simpson, M. Smith, O. Wang, M. Washington, D. Wyatt, R. Zambrana, M. Zilfi

Affiliate Associate Professors: E. Barkley Brown, C. Eades, D. Freund, S. Giovacchini, S. Harley, M. Lindemann, W. Lung Amam, Z. Nunes, R. Ontiveros, A. Rodriguez, L. Rowland, M. Rowley, D. Sicilia, J. Sullivan, P. Warfield

Affiliate Assistant Professors: T. Korobkin, I. Ramos

Professors Emeriti: J. Caughey (Prof Emeritus), R. Kelly (Prof Emeritus), L. Mintz (Assoc Prof Emeritus), J. Paoletti (Prof Emerita), S. Parks (Prof Emerita), M. Sies (Prof Emerita), N. Struna (Prof Emerita)

Advising in American Studies is mandatory every semester for all majors. Students pursuing the major should review the academic benchmarks established for this program. See: Students will be periodically reviewed to ensure they are meeting benchmarks and progressing to the degree. Students who fall behind program benchmarks are subject to special advising requirements and other interventions.

To review the academic plan for this major, go to

Undergraduate Research Experiences

Majors in American Studies complete a research project for the senior seminars, AMST340 and AMST450. They are encouraged to gain additional research experience by working with individual faculty members and advanced graduate students or participating in one of the Department's Working Groups. See the Department website for more information about research:


Juniors and seniors with a 2.5 GPA or better may apply 3 credits of internship (AMST386) to the 42 credits required for the major. Students must consult with a faculty advisor about a prospective internship prior to registration and complete and sign an internship contract. All internships must have an approved academic component. For further information, contact the Undergraduate Studies Director.

Honors Program

The departmental honors program offers outstanding students an opportunity to add distinction to their academic records by undertaking an independent research project in an area of particular interest to them.

The program is intended to allow students preparing for graduate study or a professional career to apply and further develop their research, analytic, and writing skills in an independent project of their own design, in consultation with a faculty mentor. Students are encouraged to make use of the rich resources of the Washington-Baltimore area, including major research institutions such as the Smithsonian Institution, the Library of Congress, and the National Archives.

Students in the honors program take two honors-designated courses and two semesters of AMST388 Honors Thesis, a total of twelve credits. Students enrolled in honors are excused from AMST450 Senior Seminar. These requirements fit within the 42 credits required to complete the major. Participation in honors does not require additional coursework beyond the required 42 credits.

Eligibility: Students must have at least a 3.0 cumulative GPA at the time of entry into the program, and must maintain a minimum 3.0 GPA overall to remain in good standing. To graduate with honors in American Studies, students must have a 3.0 cumulative GPA and a GPA of 3.2 or higher in their major coursework.

Application: Students who wish to pursue Honors work should contact the Director of Undergraduate Studies at 301-405-1354 during their junior year to discuss the program and application procedures.

Scholarships and Financial Assistance

The department awards the David Ellis Memorial Scholarship annually. For information and requirements, contact the American Studies office (301-405-1354).

The College of Arts & Humanities also has scholarship opportunities available to students.

In addition, the Office of Student Financial Aid (OSFA) administers all types of federal, state, and institutional financial assistance programs and, in cooperation with other university offices, participates in the awarding of scholarships to deserving students. For more information, visit:

Awards and Recognition

The department recognizes outstanding accomplishments by undergraduates at its commencement ceremony. Monetary prizes are awarded to the graduate with the highest cumulative GPA, to the author of the best Honors thesis, and to a graduate who has provided exceptional service to the campus or the community. The department also awards the Savneet Talwar Best Senior Paper Prize to an undergraduate who has authored an outstanding senior paper.