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Requirements & Courses

Course Offerings:

The courses offered below meet the American Studies requirements.

Course Categories:

American Studies requirements may be fulfilled by a variety of courses offered by both the American Studies Program and other departments and programs. American Studies courses are categorized as follows:

Foundation Courses (numbered AMER 10-20)
Foundation courses are introductory surveys that examine the promise of equality and inclusion and contradictory systems of power, difference and inequality in the United States. They may include some discussion of transnational issues (e.g. migration flows) but emphasis is on the United States. Foundation Courses often serve as gateways to the American Studies major and may therefore introduce interdisciplinary concepts and the methodologies of American Studies; if department based, they may introduce concepts and methodologies of the course's discipline. Foundation Courses also familiarize students with the program goals of American Studies at Tufts. Students who wish to take more than one Foundation Course may be allowed to count a second foundation course towards their cluster but they cannot double count the required foundation course for their cluster as well.

American Studies majors must take at least one Foundation Course. If a student has not taken a Foundation course prior to declaring the major, s/he should take it as soon as possible upon declaring the major.

Mid-level Courses (numbered AMER 30-69 or AMER94 Special Topics)
Mid-level courses have a defined thematic focus but are also appropriate for entry-level students and have no or minimal pre-requisites. Mid-Level courses may be grounded in a discipline or may expose students to different methodologies. Course requirements may include exams and/or written work including response papers and/or short essays but they do not typically require a substantive research paper. These courses may be designed primarily for American Studies majors or may be cross-listed departmental courses.

Upper-Level Courses (numbered AMER 130-169; or AMER194 Special Topics)
Upper-level courses have a defined thematic focus and require more advanced level work (including pre-requisites). Upper-Level courses may be grounded in a discipline or may expose students to different methodologies. Course requirements may include exams but generally emphasize written work (response papers, building-block writing assignments, moderate-length research papers). These courses may be designed primarily for American Studies majors or may be cross-listed departmental courses.

Integrative Seminars (numbered AMER170-189; or AMER 170 for Special Topics)
Integrative Seminars are upper-level courses with a defined thematic focus. They require substantial written work (in the range of 20 pages or more) that may take the form of either a research paper or an analytical essay. For a research paper, the student will construct a research question, gather primary or secondary material, and perform original analysis. An annotated bibliography and literature review may also be required. For an analytical essay, students should synthesize the materials covered in the course, and bring their original ideas and analysis to bear on these materials. As appropriate, Integrative Seminars may include a substantial creative work in place of a research paper or analytical essay. Finally, these courses may also include exams in addition to written work.

Integrative Seminars introduce students to different methodologies and research methods, and allow for discussion and collaborative learning. Integrative Seminars are often small, but courses with larger enrollments that meet the writing requirements outlines above may also be listed under this category.

The American Studies major requires that students take at least one Integrative Seminar. Students who take additional integrative seminars, may count these courses toward the cluster requirement of two courses at the 100+ level. A student cannot double count their required Integrative Seminar for their cluster as well.

Internships for Credit (AMER99)
The American Studies Program at Tufts encourages its students to learn from and become engaged in their community, including the Greater Boston metropolitan area. Students wishing to pursue an American Studies internship for academic credit must:
  • find an organization willing to accept an intern, to provide an on-site professional-level supervisor, to offer the student a minimum of 120 hours of work per semester, and to offer the student opportunities to undertake meaningful academic work (such as research, archival work, writing reports, analyzing data)
  • find an American Studies faculty member willing to serve as the on-campus academic advisor for the internship
  • prepare a concise (1-2 page) proposal explaining the nature of the internship, the academic work that will be undertaken as part of the internship, as well as the student’s goals and motives. Internships proposals must be approved by the Director of American Studies prior to registration and must be completed no later than the add/drop deadline for the semester. If approved, students will be granted permission to register for AMER 99.
  • write a 10-page paper at the end of the semester analyzing the student's experience in the internship in relation to their academic program at Tufts. This paper will be submitted to and graded by the American Studies faculty advisor.

Students may register for the internship pass/fail or for a letter grade. American Studies majors who wish to count the internship for credit toward their major requirements (either for the cluster or as an elective) must receive approval from their advisor and the Director, and must receive a letter grade, not pass/fail. Only one internship may be counted toward the American Studies major.

Study Abroad Courses
We encourage American Studies majors to study abroad because international travel offers rich opportunities for reflecting upon US society and culture from different vantage points; for example, how the US has exerted its influence in other parts of the world, or how the US is perceived by the citizens of other countries. Students studying abroad are encouraged to give careful thought to how the experience can enhance their understanding of American society. Nevertheless, students majoring in American Studies must work carefully with their advisers prior to going abroad in order to ensure that they can complete their major requirements if courses they take abroad do not transfer into American Studies. Study abroad courses may count toward the cluster, elective and history requirement, but not towards the Foundation course or Integrative Seminar. No more than three courses taken abroad can count toward the major. Study abroad courses must be pre-approved for American Studies credit by the American Studies Transfer-of Credit representative.