The American Studies Diploma Program at Smith College—a one–year, one–of–a–kind opportunity for international students to study in the United States—was inaugurated over forty years ago, in 1961. Since that time, this unique interdisciplinary program has allowed hundreds of foreign students, both male and female, to complete a year of intensive work in the study of American society and culture.
In a period where increased misunderstanding and fear, as well as more overt and brutal demonstrations of militancy, characterize far too much of the reciprocal relations between the U.S. and the rest of the planet, the AMS Diploma Program is more essential than ever. We are dedicated to a study of American society and culture which is both historical and critical; our program contributes to a deeper, more specialized understanding of American society, one which moves beyond flag–waving and provides life–long lessons, and friendships, both for our graduates—affectionately termed Smith's "foreign legion"—and for the rest of Smith's student body as well.
Participants in the American Studies Diploma Program take one required graduate seminar -- AMS 555: The Unexceptional US -- and at least five additional courses in American Studies or related disciplines. In addition to classes at Smith College, students have the opportunity to study at each of the other Five College institutions (Amherst College, Hampshire College, Mt. Holyoke College, and the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. The Diploma program is open to students from a wide range of related disciplines, as well as American Studies. All students also prepare a Diploma thesis proposal in their fall semester, subject to approval, and complete this project or equivalent research in the spring.
In addition to coursework, the American Studies Diploma Program takes full advantage of its New England location. A number of excursions are planned throughout the year, in New England, to New York City or Boston, and elsewhere. In recent years, the group has celebrated their success with a year-end trip to the nation's capital, Washington D.C.