Aerial view of campus with Williamsport, the Susquehanna River and Bald Eagle Mountain as a backdrop

American Studies (AMST)

Professor: Leiter (Coordinator)
Associate Professor: Pearl (Coordinator)

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. 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 (first-year 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 to 1877
             HIST 126        United States since 1877
             HIST 226        Era of the American Revolution
             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       Modern America
             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 Economics
            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 220         Public Policy in America
            PSCI 222         Political Parties and Interest Groups
            PSCI 224         Campaigns and Elections
            PSCI 229         Special Topics in American Politics and Public Policy
            PSCI 231         Law in America
            PSCI 316         Public Opinion and Polling
            PSCI 321         Congress
            PSCI 322         The Presidency  
            PSCI 331         Civil Rights and Liberties
            PSCI 339         Judicial Politics and Behavior
            SOC 220         Sociology of Family
            SOC 310         Medical Sociology
            SOC 334         American Immigration

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

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 courses satisfy either the Domestic or Global Diversity Requirement: HIST 242 and PHIL 334.  A list of courses that, when scheduled as W courses, count toward the Writing Requirement, can be found on the Registrar’s website and in the GENERAL EDUCATION REQUIREMENTS section of the catalog.

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, 220, 222, 224, 229, 231, 316, 321, 322, 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.



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