American Studies Degree Requirements

Read more about American Studies program, faculty, course, degree requirements, and more in the About American Studies 2008-2009 booklet.


NOTE: the following requirements apply to the class of 2010 and thereafter; click here for the previous requirements (pre-class of 2010) for the American Studies major and concentration.

Degree Requirements for the Major    

Each American Studies student is assigned an academic advisor. Coursework consists of a series of required courses and an individualized program of study developed by the student in close consultation with his or her advisor.

Please be aware that the program of individualized, interdisciplinary coursework required by American Studies is a rigorous one. The program of study entails more coursework than many other majors, and our classes often demand extra time commitments for field trips, attendance at lectures and colloquia, and research projects. These requirements are what make undertaking a degree in American Studies a meaningful and rewarding experience. But they also mean that it may not be appropriate for students with schedules that would not allow for the completion of required coursework and a full commitment to the senior project. Prospective majors are encouraged to visit the American Studies program office to meet with an advisor to determine whether they are strong candidates for the major.

American Studies Policy on Grades: Any grade lower than a C- cannot be counted towards a degree in American Studies. A grade of C- can be counted only with the approval of the Director or Associate Director of the program.



Courses

A minimum of 30 points is required to complete the major.

  • AMST W1010. Introduction to American Studies: Major Themes in the American Experience (3 pts)
  • Two seminars in American Studies (8 pts)
  • Two American Studies Core courses (6 pts). The following two courses are ordinarily required:
    • ENGL W3267. Foundations of American Literature I: American Literature from the Puritans to the Civil War (3 pts)
    • HIST W3478. U.S. Intellectual History, 1865-Present (3 pts)
  • Three additional courses (9 pts):  In consultation with the advisor, the student will choose a set of three courses. These courses must be drawn from at least two departments, one of which must be History.
  • Senior Research Project (4 pts): The final requirement for the major in American Studies is completion of a Senior Essay, to be written in the spring of senior year. Alternatively, students may fulfill this requirement by taking an additional seminar where a major paper is required or by writing an independent essay under the supervision of a faculty member. Seniors who wish to do a senior research project are required to take the Senior Project Colloquium in the fall of the senior year.


Sample Statements of Intellectual Rationale

RELIGION AND AMERICAN CULTURE

Religion was a major force in the settlement of North America in the colonial period, and when the colonies organized themselves as a nation in the eighteenth century, they wrote religious toleration into the new Constitution. Ever since, the United States has been different from the rest of the Western world in the high level of religious belief and the diversity of churches, sects, and movements--Christian and otherwise. Religion has been an important factor in American literature and education, and to the amazement of many foreign observers, religion continues today to play a major role in American politics and foreign policy. I want to study the range and dynamics of religious belief in the United States, past and present. I am interested in such questions as where the boundary line should be drawn between church and state, and what accounts for the vitality of religion in a culture that is also regarded in much of the world as highly secular and even decadent.

COURSES
—  ENGL W3267 Foundations of American Literature I
—  RELI V3602 Religion and American Culture I
—  RELI V3603 Religion and American Culture II
—  RELI V3651 Evangelicalism
—  RELI W4670 Native American Religions


WOMEN IN AMERICAN CULTURE


Women in American Culture is a program of study that emphasizes the stories of women's lives and work, seeking to better understand women's often unrecognized contribution to American culture, and to study spaces and issues that have historically been associated with the feminine (childrearing and family, the domestic sphere, helping professions). I am also interested in theories of gender and sexuality, which will help to guide my analysis of American culture. The classes I have identified look at women and gender issues through a variety of disciplinary lenses, including history, economics, and literature. Within the emphasis, I am particularly interested in studying minority women, so I have chosen one English class, and two Women's Studies classes that are about women of color. When I have completed this program of study, I expect to have deepened my knowledge of the history and culture of women in the United States.

COURSES
—  HIST BC3567 American Women in the 20th Century
—  ECON BC2010 The Economics of Gender
—  ENGL BC3144 Minority Women Writers in U.S.
—  WMST BC3121 Black Women In America
—  WMST BC3136 Asian American Women's Literature


OTHER EXAMPLES


CULTURES OF NEW YORK CITY

—  AHHS 4403 Robert Moses and the Modern City
—  AHIS BC3948 The Visual Culture of the Harlem Renaissance
—  DNCE BC2570 Dance In New York City
—  HIST W3535 History of the City of New York
—  ANTH V3960 The Culture of Public Art and Display in New York City

ETHNICITY AND RACE IN AMERICAN CULTURE
—  CSER W1012 History of Racialization in the United States
—  ENGL W3271 American Lit and Culture: U.S. Latino Literature
—  ENGL W3401 Asian American Literature and Culture
—  AFAS C3500 African-American Intellectual History: 20th Century - Malcolm X
—  ECON W4438 Economics of Race In the U.S.

JAZZ IN AMERICAN LIFE
—  HIST W3449 American Urban History
—  JAZZ W3100 American Culture: Gender, Race, Jazz
—  MUSI V2016 Jazz
—  AHIS C3643 American City: Urban Form
—  HIST W3407 America since 1960
—  ANTH V3932 Anthropology of Jazz


Degree Requirements for the Concentration in American Studies
   

A minimum of 21 points is required to complete the concentration.

  • AMST W1010. Introduction to American Studies: Major Themes in the American Experience (3 pts)
  • Two American Studies Core courses (6 pts): The following two courses are ordinarily required:
  • ENGL W3267. Foundations of American Literature I: American Literature from the Puritans to the Civil War (3 pts)
  • HIST W3478. U.S. Intellectual History, 1865-Present (3 pts)
  • Four additional courses (12 pts). In consultation with the advisor, the student will choose a set of four courses. These courses must be drawn from at least two departments, one of which must be History.


The links below will connect you to worksheets (pdf format) to help you keep track of your courses and requirements.

Major Planner (Class of 2009)
Major Planner (Class of 2010 and above)
Concentration Planner
(all classes)