American Studies (AMST)

Associate Professors: Leiter (Coordinator), Williamson (Coordinator)

  • Major: American Studies
  • Courses required for major: 11
  • Non-credit Colloquium: Every semester as a declared major, maximum 4 semesters
  • Capstone requirement: AMST 489
  • Minors: American Studies, Multiculturalism

The American Studies major offers a comprehensive program in American civilization which introduces students to the complexities underlying the development of America and its contemporary life. The program develops the skills of research, writing, and critical thinking that are central to a well-rounded, liberal arts education. The major requires eleven courses relevant to the interdisciplinary study of American civilization and the completion of the American Studies colloquium. Two minor tracks are also available in the American Studies program. The American Studies minor requires five courses in similar areas as the major.  The Multiculturalism minor requires five courses that concentrate on the issues of ethnic and racial diversity that define American society, art, and history.

Students should design their American Studies major in consultation with a program coordinator, and they must maintain at least a 2.5 GPA in order to complete the independent study requirement. With appropriate faculty approval, some special topics courses (ENGL 115, SOC 320, and so on) may fulfill American Studies requirements. Students pursuing another major or minor in addition to their American Studies major may count no more than three courses for credit toward both concentrations. Students may count no more than one course for credit toward both an American Studies minor and another major or minor.

Major Requirements

1. Three Core Courses:
The primary integrating units of the major, these courses teach students to consider ideas from different points of view and help them to correlate information and methods from various disciplines:

AMST 200 Perspectives on America (freshman or sophomore year)

HIST 449, PSCI 300, or SOC 330— Research and Methodology (junior or senior year; must be completed before or concurrently with AMST 489)

AMST 489 Independent Study (junior or senior year)

2. One course in the American arts:
FILM 212       Multicultural America on Screen
MUS 128        American Music
MUS 234        History of Jazz
MUS N80       Independent Study in American Music
THEA 210      Modern Drama
THEA N80     Independent Study in American Theatre

3. Three courses in American humanities, with at least one from history and one
from English:

ENGL 222      American Literature I
ENGL 223      American Literature II
ENGL 229      African American Literature
HIST 125        United States History 1601-1877
HIST 126        United States History 1877-Present
HIST 226        Colonial America and the Revolutionary Era
HIST 230        African American History
HIST 233        Civil War and Reconstruction
HIST 242        Vietnam War at Home and Abroad
HIST 324        Early American Law and Society
HIST 338        Rights, Reform, and Protest
HIST 342        Women and Reform
HIST 402        Revel, Riot, and Rebellion in Early America
HIST 404        U.S. Since 1945
PHIL 334        Contemporary Political Philosophy

4. Three courses in American social sciences, with at least one from Political Science and one from Sociology:
ECON 224      Urban Problems
ECON 236      American Economic History
ECON 332      Government and the Economy
ECON 335      Labor Economics
PSCI 110        U.S. Government and Politics
PSCI 130        The American Legal System
PSCI 211        State and Local Government
PSCI 212        Political Parties
PSCI 213        Congressional Politics
PSCI 214        The Presidency
PSCI 220        Public Policy in America
PSCI 231        Law in America
PSCI 316        Public Opinion and Polling
PSCI 330        Constitutional Law
PSCI 331        Civil Rights and Liberties
PSCI 339        Judicial Politics and Behavior
PSCI 369        American Foreign Policy
SOC 220         Sociology of Family
SOC 231         Sociology of War and the Military
SOC 310         Medical Sociology
SOC 334         American Immigration

5. An additional course numbered 300 or higher from those listed above or an internship

6. American Studies Colloquium: Juniors and seniors are required to complete AMST
348 & 448 each semester they are a declared major for a maximum of four semesters.

Capstone Requirement

All majors must successfully complete AMST 489.

Diversity and Writing Courses

The following courses satisfy the Domestic Cultural Diversity Requirement: ECON 335; ENGL 229; HIST 230, 338, 342, 402; MUS 128, 234; PSCI 331; SOC 334; THEA 210. The following course satisfies the Global Cultural Diversity Requirement: PSCI 369. The following courses satisfy either the Domestic or Global Diversity Requirement: HIST 242 and PHIL 334. The following courses, when scheduled as W courses, count toward the Writing Requirement: ECON 236; ENGL 229; HIST 402, 404, 449; PHIL 334; PSIC 220, 331; SOC 330.

Minor Requirements

The minor in American Studies requires five courses: AMST 200; one course from FILM 212, MUS 128, MUS 234; one course from ENGL 222, 223, 229, HIST 125, 126, 226, 230, 233, 242, 324, 338, 342, 402, 404; one course from ECON 224, 236, 332, 335, PSCI 110, 130, 211, 212, 213, 214, 220, 231, 316, 330, 331, SOC 220, 334; and one additional course numbered 200 or higher from any listed above.

The minor in Multiculturalism consists of five courses: AMST 200; SOC 334; and three courses from ECON 224, ENGL 229, FILM 212, HIST 230, HIST 338, MUS 234, and PSCI 331.

An analysis of the fundamental nature of American culture, society, and politics and the interdisciplinary means for studying it. The course explores what is distinctively American and introduces students to the range of approaches taken to better understand topics covered in American studies. Alternate years.

348 & 448
A non-credit seminar featuring guest, faculty, and student presentations on research, methodology, and related topics. Required of all junior and senior American Studies majors. Meets 2-4 times each semester. Pass/Fail. Non-credit seminar.



An intensive interdisciplinary research project designed by the student in consultation with a faculty advisor.