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Academics for Majors

Overview

The American Studies major provides for the interdisciplinary study of the history, culture and society of the United States. While the program offers an American Studies foundation course and a robust assortment of American Studies classes, the major encourages students to draw from the courses offered by other departments – Anthropology, Art History, Drama, English, History, Music, Religion, and Sociology – as well as other interdisciplinary fields such as Africana Studies, Asian American Studies, Latino Studies, Community Health, Education, International Studies, Peace and Justice Studies, Women's Gender and Sexuality Studies or Environmental Studies. Majors concentrate their studies in one of six interdisciplinary clusters: Comparative Race and Ethnicity; Health, Environment and Society; Institutions and Power in the United States; Issues in U.S. Education; 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, as well as at least one integrative seminar for which the completion of a research paper is required. Learning the fundamentals of research and writing will serve students well before they begin their senior capstone projects.

In the senior year, all majors will complete either a capstone Senior Special Project (SSP) or an Honors Thesis (HT) which integrates or expands upon their course of study in the interdisciplinary cluster. Students enroll in American Studies Senior Seminars, AMER 198 and AMER 199, as they complete their SSPs or HTs.