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American Studies

Bachelor of Arts
School of Arts, Education, 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. American Studies majors who complete the teacher education option are eligible for Secondary Social Studies certification.

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

  • IHAMST 140 What is American Studies?
  • IHAMST 248 Cultures of Northern Plains Indians (Differing Culture Perspectives)
  • IIAMST 250 Interpreting American Cultures

Choose one of the following:

  • AMST 350 Perspectives on American Culture
  • AMST 390 Critical Approaches

Take both of the following in upper-level sequence:

  • AMST 490 Advanced Special Topics
  • AMST 495 Seminar

Area Courses

20 credits

Select two courses from American history:

  • HIST 360 Natives and Newcomers in North America: 1500-1766
  • HIST 361 The American Revolution
  • HIST 362 American Slavery/American Capitalism 1787-1848
  • HIST 363 The United States in Civil War Period: 1850-1876
  • HIST 364 19th-Century America
  • HIST 366 U.S. in Crisis: 1920-1950
  • HIST 367 Modern America: 1950-Present
  • HIST 373 Race, Disability, and Eugenics
  • IHHIST 161 American Encounters to 1877
  • IHHIST 162 American Encounters from 1877
  • IHHIST 211 The Worlds of Early America
  • IHHIST 310 Who is Benjamin Franklin?
  • IHHIST 358 American Empire I
  • IHHIST 359 American Empire II
  • IHHIST 368 Brahmins & Bosses: Boston History
  • IHHIST 371 Africans in the Colonial Atlantic World
  • IHHIST 372 Gender and Power in Early North America 1600-1800
  • IHHIST 375 War and Culture in Early America 1600-1865
  • IHHIST 376 Modern United States Military History 1865-Present
  • IHHIST 377 Sports and American History
  • IHHIST 378 Alcohol and American History

Select one course in American literature:

  • ENG 344 Studies in American Literature
  • ENG 345 Studies in African American Literature (Differing Cultural Perspectives)
  • 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 Survey
  • IAMU 216 History of Rock and Roll
  • IAMU 218 The History of Jazz
  • IAMU 242 Listening to America
  • ISPOSC 210 United States Politics
  • ISPOSC 211 State and Local Politics
  • ART 214 Modern Art
  • CJS 101 Introduction to Criminal Justice Studies
  • ECON 455 Topics in Economic History
  • POSC 316 Constitutional Law
  • POSC 321 U.S. Foreign Policy and Globalization
  • SOC 345 Sociology of Families
  • 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 Encounters to 1877
  • IHHIST 162 American Encounters from 1877
  • IHHIST 111 The Ancient and Medieval World
  • IHHIST 112 The Modern World
  • ISECON 104 Introduction to Macroeconomics
  • ISGEOG 101 World Regional Geography
  • ISPSYC 101 General Psychology

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 United States 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