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

American Studies Learning Goals

Students who major in American Studies can expect to achieve the following learning goals:

  • Develop historical perspective, that is, to gain insight on how modern conditions relate to and can be better understood with deeper knowledge of the past
  • Identify arguments in secondary sources and evaluate their effectiveness
  • Formulate good research questions
  • Identify secondary sources that address those questions and evaluate their quality
  • Grasp the concept of historiography and articulate historiographical issues, patterns, and trends on chosen subjects
  • Find appropriate primary sources and evaluate their strengths and weaknesses
  • Interpret primary sources accurately
  • Articulate a clear thesis statement
  • Build an argument principally on evidence obtained through working with primary sources
  • Organize a large paper and sustain the argument throughout
  • Use Standard Written English effectively
  • Consistently cite and annotate information that is not common knowledge
  • Use proper citation form (i.e., according to the Chicago/Turabian style)
  • Develop and correctly construct a bibliography