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American Studies

Bachelor of Arts
School of Arts, Education, and Culture

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. American Studies majors who complete the teacher education option are eligible for Secondary Social Studies certification.

Language Requirement

Each student must demonstrate proficiency in a language other than English as specified by the Language Requirement.

Integrative Studies Requirements

40 credits minimum

Major Requirements

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

Choose two of the following courses

  • IIAMST 210 Introduction to American Studies
  • IHAMST 248 Cultures of Plains Indians (Differing Culture Perspectives)
  • 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:

  • IAMU 112 Latin American Music
  • IHAMST 140 What is American Studies?
  • 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 Topics in 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

Certification as a Social Studies Teacher

American Studies is an approved major for students seeking Secondary Social Studies certification. Students will need to take the following certification requirements:

Dual Major in Education

  • Secondary Education

Requirements for Certification

IHHIST 161 American Perspectives to 1877 or HIST 161 Topics in United States History I
IHHIST 162 American Perspectives from 1877 or HIST 162 Topics in United States History II
IHHIST 111 The Ancient and Medieval World or HIST 111 Traditional World Civilization
IHHIST 112 The Modern World or HIST 112 Modern World Civilization
ISECON 104 Introduction to Macroeconomics
PSYC 101 General Psychology

Select one of the following:

  • ISGEOG 101 World Regional Geography
  • ISGEOG 201 Geography for Teachers

Select one of the following:

  • ISANTH 110 Cultural Anthropology
  • 100- to 200-level course in Sociology (SOC 270 also applies to the A&H and/or Social Studies area of the American Studies major)

Select one of the following:

  • ISPOSC 210 U.S. Politics (This course also applies to the A&H and/or Social Studies area of the American Studies major)
  • ISPOSC 220 Global Politics


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

Degree Requirements

120 credits