Skip to Catalog 2018-2019 site navigationSkip to main content

American Studies (B.A.)

Website: Salameno School of Humanities and Global Studies

About the Major

The American Studies major encourages exploration of the history and culture of the United States as a unique multicultural mosaic functioning within an always changing global order. The program bridges many disciplines as it focuses on American society contained in its history and various expressions such as art, politics, photography, music and literature. Through an analysis of its political and social development, students gain insights into the national dynamic; through inquiry and debate students gain a perspective to evaluate the nation’s actions and beliefs, historically and culturally; and through development of critical research and writing methods, which can include internships, undergraduate publishing, and study abroad opportunities, students develop professional skills in reasoning and composition that continue with them in their professional and personal lives.

Students majoring in American Studies receive a solid grounding in American culture in history to better understand its evolution; in political structure to better recognize the forces and instruments of change; in literature to experience American society from varied perspectives; and in the pluralism of our society, with particular attention to race, gender, and ethnicity. Course clusters and sequences exist in women’s studies, African American studies, global politics, and art and society. Students also encounter course work relating to  themes such as: America’s role in the world, American regionalism, and American artistic expression. Inherent in the American Studies major is the recognition of the nation’s developing response to the challenges and opportunities of an ever-expanding global commitment.

It is apparent, therefore, that American Studies graduates, having gained appreciation and comprehension of the changing global context, will enjoy increasing career choices as the demand for Americanists and interdisciplinary skill sets grows. Additionally, the major’s liberal arts emphasis on thinking, analyzing, evaluating, and communicating provides excellent preparation for both career entry and graduate study. American Studies graduates find employment in a wide variety of fields, including education, media, publishing, entrepreneurship,  as well as in museums and archives. Advanced degrees are most often pursued in law, business, museum studies and American Studies.

The American Studies major leads to the B.A. degree, and is offered through the Salameno School of Humanities and Global Studies.

A minor is also available.

Outcomes for the Major
  1. Students will demonstrate an understanding of American society and culture from an interdisciplinary perspective. Examples include, but are not limited to, a mix of literature, film, photography, art history, anthropology or sociology.
  2. Students will demonstrate an understanding of American history and culture in terms of diversity and social difference. Examples include, but are not limited to, race, class, ethnicity, gender, or sexuality.
  3. Students will evaluate and properly utilize primary and secondary sources relevant to American studies.
  4. Students will write clear, reasoned, and supported arguments using correct standard documentation practices in American studies.
  5. Students will demonstrate an understanding of American history and culture in an international context.
  6. Students will demonstrate an understanding of the historical roots of contemporary issues, including social movements, popular culture, and identity politics.
Requirements of the Major
  1. Students are required to take 12 courses (48 credits) to complete this major.
  2. Transfer students who have 48 or more credits accepted at the time of transfer are waived from the courses marked with a (W) below. Waivers do not apply to Major Requirements.
  3. Double counting between General Education, School Core, and Major/Minor may be possible. Check with your advisor to see if any apply. You may not double count between category requirements of the major but may double count between major and general education requirements, school core, and minor requirements, etc.
  4. Writing Intensive Requirement (five courses):  two writing intensive courses in the general education curriculum are required: Critical Reading and Writing and Studies in the Arts and Humanities.  Within the major, the three course will be Introduction to American Studies, a 400-level course,  and a third Writing Intensive class taken in consultation with the advisor.
  5. Not all courses are offered each semester.  Please check the current Schedule of Classes for semester course offerings.



Note: A 2.0 GPA in the major is required for graduation.

Requirements of the Minor
  1. At least 1/2 of the courses fulfilling a minor must be distinct from the student’s major. That is, three of the five courses required for a minor cannot be used towards fulfillment of major requirements. A school core does not need to be completed for a minor. Minors are open to students regardless of school affiliation.