What is America?

Our major begins with AMST-A 100: What is America? This class explores common questions, concepts, and methodologies used in American Studies, helping you develop and strengthen your critical thinking and expository writing skills. What is America? explores ideas about citizenship, national identity, and the social contract in the broader Americas. What makes us “Americans”? How do we define “America”? How does national identity compete with and relate to other forms of identity, such as social status or class, religious association, gender and sexuality, and racial or ethnic description?

Core courses

American Studies majors also take three core classes at the 100-200 level. These core classes build upon the fundamental questions addressed in AMST-A 100. Topics range from the worldviews of Indigenous Americans to modern American arts and media.

Concentrations and cross-listed courses

Before the Summer of 2016, students in our major created a formal concentration in American Studies. Since that time, we no longer require a formal concentration. No matter when you entered our program, our academic advisor can help you plan a course of study.

We offer a wide variety of elective classes and recommend cross-listed courses from across the College of Arts and Sciences. These allow you to tailor your degree to your own interests. Economic inequality, race and society, American arts and media: a major in American Studies allows you to focus on any of these (or many other) topics from a truly interdisciplinary perspective.

Upper level coursework

At the upper level, you take six or more advanced courses in subjects that interest you. These courses give you a chance to delve deeper into the study of U.S. institutions, policy, media, and cultural expressions. They draw on a wide range of sources and methodologies from the humanities, arts, and social sciences, while considering these topics in a hemispheric and transnational perspective.

Combine your interests

Your major represents about one quarter of your degree requirements. With the help of your academic advisor, you can combine several areas of interest with additional majors, minors, or certificates.

As an intellectual field, American Studies originally combined historical and literary analysis. For this reason, minors in History and English are a good fit for many students. American Studies majors often minor in other interdisciplinary areas as well, such as African American and African Diaspora Studies, Gender Studies, Asian American Studies, Latino Studies, or Folklore and Ethnomusicology. Some students choose to minor in Native American and Indigenous Studies.