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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 several American Studies foundation courses 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 (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.