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Requirements & Courses

Major Requirements

Requirements Overview
The American Studies major provides for the interdisciplinary study of the history, culture and society of the United States. The program offers several American Studies foundation courses and a robust assortment of American Studies classes. In addition, the major encourages students to draw from the courses offered by other departments and programs.

Majors concentrate their studies in one of four interdisciplinary clusters: Comparative Race and Ethnicity; Institutions and Power in the United States; Representation and Performance in the Arts and Humanities; and Community Based Studies. The program also offers the option of an individually designed cluster, for students who propose a coherent, compelling course of study that does not fit into one of the existing clusters.

Before the senior year, majors should plan to take a class in theory and methods (for example AMER100), as well as at least one integrative seminar for which the completion of a research-length paper (approx. 20pp) is required. Learning the fundamentals of research and writing will serve students well if they opt to propose and are approved to pursue senior capstone projects or honors theses.

In the senior year, all majors will complete one of three options, a fall-semester capstone Senior Special Project (SSP), a two-semester Honors Thesis (HT) or an additional integrative seminar and an elective pertinent to their interdisciplinary cluster.

Requirements
Requirements for the Bachelor of Arts degree in American Studies include the completion of ten courses, as follows:

  • One Foundation course AMER 10-20
     
  • One Integrative Seminar AMER 170-189
     
  • One History course with at least two-thirds of course content focused on some aspect of the U.S.
    (With the approval of a student's advisor, and the program director as needed, a student may substitute a course that focuses on the relationship between the United States and other parts of the globe. A student may also petition to substitute a course from/or cross listed with the History department with a course from another program/department (e.g. art history, music, drama, etc.) that looks at a particular issue in historical perspective. Such petitions may be favorably considered if the course in question may better support a student's focus in the major). Transfer students may petition to have relevant courses from history departments at other colleges or universities count towards this requirement. AP courses will not satisfy this requirement. Students who take a History class relevant to the major while studying abroad must receive approval from the History Department at Tufts in order for the course to fulfill the American Studies history requirement.
     
  • Five credits that form a coherent interdisciplinary cluster, including at least two courses at the 100+ level. The cluster provides students the opportunity to select relevant courses from at least two different departments/programs throughout the university. American Studies faculty assist students in selecting the contents of their cluster. Courses are approved by your advisor, in consultation with the program director as needed. Please refer to additional policies and to the individual interdisciplinary cluster for more specific information on the cluster requirement.
     
  • Three Capstone options to complete the major:
    1. *American Studies 198 (Senior Special Project), taken only in the fall semester of the senior year, plus one elective course. The Senior Special Project must integrate or expand some aspect of the student's interdisciplinary cluster.
       
    2. *American Studies 199 (Senior Honors Thesis), taken in both semesters of the senior year. The Senior Honors Thesis must integrate or expand some aspect of the student's interdisciplinary cluster.
       
    3. In substitution of a Senior Special Project or Honors Thesis, a student may opt or be advised to complete the major requirements by taking an additional integrative seminar (AMER 170-189) and an elective pertinent to their interdisciplinary cluster.
Additional Policies on Major Requirements
  • AP Courses may not count toward the American Studies major
     
  • A grade of C- or better is required for a course to count toward the major
     
  • Courses taken pass-fail may not count toward the major
     
  • A major in American Studies who is also a major in another department or program may count up to five courses from those major(s) toward the requirements in American Studies
     
  • Transfer Courses: Transfer courses may count towards the cluster, elective, and history requirements, but not towards the foundation course or integrative seminar. No more than three transfer courses may count toward the American Studies major. Approval to count transfer of credit courses toward the American Studies major must be granted by the major advisor and the American Studies program director via petition.
     
  • Study Abroad: Study abroad courses may count toward the cluster, elective, and history requirements, but not towards the foundation course or integrative seminar. No more than three courses taken abroad can count toward the American Studies major. Study abroad courses must be pre-approved for American Studies credit by the American Studies Transfer-of Credit representative through SIS. Study abroad courses approved for American Studies credit must also be approved to count toward specific major requirements by the major advisor and American Studies program director via petition.
     
  • Internships: American Studies majors may apply to undertake an internship for credit toward their major requirements (either for the cluster or as an elective). Internships must be supervised by an American Studies core or affiliated faculty in order to count toward the major. No more than ONE internship may be counted toward the American Studies major. Approval to count an internship toward the American Studies major must be granted by the major advisor and American Studies program director via petition. Students wishing to undertake an internship for credit toward their American Studies major must apply in advance. Please complete the application instructions.
     
  • Independent Study: Independent Study courses may count towards the cluster or elective requirements, but not towards the foundation, history, integrative seminar requirements. Independent studies must be completed under the direction of an American Studies core or affiliated faculty in order to count toward the major. No more than ONE independent study course will count toward the American Studies major. Approval to count an Independent Study toward the American Studies major must be granted by the major advisor and American Studies program director via petition.
     
  • ExCollege: ExCollege courses may count, only with the approval of the major advisor and by petition of the American Studies program director, towards the cluster, elective, or history requirements, but not towards the foundation course or integrative Seminar. No more than ONE ExCollege course will count toward the American Studies major.