American Studies Major

Program Director: Asim A. Ali, Ph.D.

American Studies provides students with a flexible, coherent, and interdisciplinary program of study.  We focus on the cultures of everyday lives and cultural constructions of identity and difference in Americans' lives, past and present, in a transnational and global framework.  The B. A. degree prepares students for graduate work or careers in fields such as law, government and social policy, media, non-profit and social justice organizations, cultural institutions, education, and business.   The department provides opportunities for internships, research, study abroad, and departmental honors. Each student meets every semester with a faculty advisor to plan an individualized course of study tailored to each student's interests and goals. American studies is a small department with a friendly atmosphere, faculty dedicated to teaching, and an excellent national academic reputation.  Courses offered by the Department of American Studies may be found under the acronym AMST.

Admission to the Major

Students interested in declaring the American Studies major should make an appointment with the undergraduate program director.

Program Learning Outcomes

Students are expected to engage fully with the curriculum, faculty, their fellow students, and the opportunities available for learning and research. Upon completion of the degree program, students will have demonstrated an understanding of multiple dimensions of diversity, possess the ability to answer research questions by using appropriate American Studies methodologies, and have acquired the following knowledge and skills:

  1. Understanding and applying interdisciplinary theories and methods.
  2. Understanding American Studies as a field, including current and emerging issues.
  3. Understanding of cultural literacy, including visual, textual and cybercultural literacies.
  4. Understanding the political and historical dimensions of culture.
  5. Understanding the importance of cultural diversity in American society.
  6. An ability to connect classroom and extracurricular learning in fostering active, engaged citizenship.

The major in American Studies requires a minimum of 42 credits distributed as follows:

Course Title Credits
College Requirement
AMST101Introduction American Studies (required of all majors)3
Select one AMST 1xx or 2xx level course, e.g. the following: 13
Cultures of Everyday Life in America
Popular Culture in America
Film and American Culture Studies
Material Aspects of American Life
Contemporary American Cultures
Diversity in American Culture
American Culture in the Information Age
Selected Topics in American Studies
Select two Americanist Foundation courses from a list of approved choices 1, 26
Select four 3xx or 4xx-level AMST courses12
AMST340Introduction to History, Theories and Methods in American Studies 33
AMST450Seminar in American Studies 33
Select a Focus Area 412
Total Credits42

Some or all of the 2xx-level courses may also fulfill General Education Requirements.


Americanist Foundation courses are 1xx or 2xx-level courses in departments such as AASP, ARTH, ENGL, HIST, SOCY, and WMST. (The current list of courses approved for the requirement is posted on the department's web site:


AMST340 and AMST450 constitute a sequence emphasizing independent research based on original sources and culminating in a senior thesis. AMST340 is a prerequisite for AMST450 and must be completed before enrollment in the senior seminar. The sequence is usually taken in the student's senior year.


A Focus Area consisting of four 3xx or 4xx-level courses in another department or university approved minor. (A list of suggested Focus Areas can be found on the department's web site:


  • At least twelve of the 3xx or 4xx level credits must be at the 4xx level.
  • A grade of C- or better is required in every course submitted in fulfillment of major requirements.
  • An overall GPA of 2.0 in the major is required for graduation. 

Click here for roadmaps for four-year plans in the College of Arts and Humanities.

Additional information on developing a four-year academic plan can be found on the following pages: