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American Studies

Bachelor of Arts
School of Arts and Humanities

The American Studies program offers students an interdisciplinary liberal arts education. Students in American Studies engage in a challenging exploration of historical and contemporary American culture and the American multicultural identity, including its past and present values, conflicts, and experiences. Working closely with an advisor who is a core faculty member in American Studies, students design their course of study around three core courses; an individualized set of area requirements in American history, literature, and Arts and/or Social Sciences; and a thesis requirement. American Studies prepares students for career opportunities in elementary and secondary education; graduate school; law school; business; work in libraries, museums, and historic preservation; newspaper, magazine, broadcast journalism; film or media work; work in federal, state, and local agencies, both public and private; government and politics; nonprofit organizations; writing, editing, and publishing; international relations and diplomacy; public relations and advertising; and social services.


Each student must demonstrate proficiency in a language other than English as specified by the Language Requirement for Students with Majors in the School of Arts and Humanities.


40 credits minimum


40 credits

At least one American Studies or English course must meet a Differing Cultural Perspectives Requirement. Differing Cultural Perspectives courses investigate discursive traditions that have been historically marginalized. All course substitutions must be approved by the coordinator of American Studies.

Core Courses

20 credits

IIAMST 210 Introduction to American Studies
IIAMST 250 Interpreting American Cultures
AMST 350 Perspectives on American Culture
AMST 495 Seminar
Select one of the following:

  • AMST 390 Critical Approaches
  • AMST 490 Advanced Special Topics

Area Courses

20 credits

Select two courses from American history:

  • HIST 261 U.S. Social History I: 1603-1865
  • HIST 265 Military in U.S. Society I
  • HIST 266 Military in U.S. Society II
  • HIST 338 European Encounters in the New World
  • HIST 360 The American Colonies to 1763
  • HIST 361 The American Revolution
  • HIST 362 The Early American Republic: 1789-1850
  • HIST 363 The United States in the Civil War Period: 1850-1876
  • HIST 364 19th-Century America
  • HIST 365 Gilded Age and Progressive Era America
  • HIST 366 U.S. in Crisis: 1920-1950
  • HIST 367 Modern America: 1950-Present

Select one course in American literature:

  • ENG 280 Cultural Studies
  • ENG 341 Early American Literature
  • ENG 344 Studies in American Literature
  • ENG 345 Studies in African American Literature (Differing Cultural Perspectives)
  • ENG 346 Transcendentalism
  • ENG 347 American Indian Writers and their Cultures (Differing Cultural Perspectives)
  • ENG 370 Studies in Literatures of the Americas (Differing Cultural Perspectives when appropriate)

Select two courses from Arts and Humanities and/or Social Sciences:

  • IHAMST 248 Cultures of Northern Plains Indians
  • IAMU 112 Latin American Music
  • IAMU 216 History of Rock and Roll
  • IAMU 218 History of Jazz
  • IAMU 242 Listening to America
  • IHENG 240 Readings in American Literature
  • IIENG 245 Readings in African American Literature and Culture
  • ISPOSC 210 U.S. Politics
  • ISPOSC 211 State and Local Politics
  • ART 214 Modern Art
  • CJS 101 Introduction to Criminal Justice Studies
  • ECON 455 U.S. Economic History
  • PHIL 304 American Philosophy
  • POSC 316 Constitutional Law
  • POSC 321 U.S. Foreign Policy and Globalization
  • SOC 270 Urban Society
  • SOC 345 Sociology of Families
  • SOC 472 Sociology of Health and Medicine
  • SOC 475 Social Stratification


Select courses to reach a total of 120 credits for the degree.


120 credits