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American Studies Diploma Program

American Studies Diploma Class of 2017
The American Studies Diploma Program is a one year, one-of-a-kind opportunity for international students to study in the United States. This unique, competitive, interdisciplinary program includes a year of intensive coursework and research dedicated to the historical and critical study of American society and culture. This contributes to a deeper, more specialized understanding of American society. In keeping with the tradition of wide-ranging, interdisciplinary research in American studies, diploma students arrive at Smith with a diverse array of scholarly interests and work together to fashion an extraordinarily vibrant and creative intellectual community.


Candidates for the Diploma Program Must:

  • be foreign born
  • have completed three years of study or the equivalent in an approved foreign institution of higher learning by the time of entry
  • present evidence of English language proficiency in the form of TOEFL and TSE scores, or a certification of fluency and an essay in English on any chosen theme

How to Apply

This is a highly competitive one-year program open only to international men and women students of advanced undergraduate or graduate standing. Learn more about applying to the program.

The Diploma in American Studies Program at Smith College admits students of any age, sex, race, color, creed, handicap and national or ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs and activities generally accorded or made available to diploma program students at the college. Learn more.


American Studies Diploma students take a full course load throughout the academic year. AMS 555: Seminar in American Society and Culture is required. Students take five additional courses in American studies or in one or more of the related disciplines. Students who choose to write a thesis, and whose projects are approved, substitute AMS 570 Diploma Thesis for one of the additional courses. See the Smith Course Catalog for more information.

In addition to classes at Smith, students have the opportunity to study at the other Five College institutions.

Students can prepare a diploma research proposal (subject to approval) in their fall semester, and complete this project or equivalent research in the spring.


Our Students

More than 450 men and women from around the world have come to Smith College to participate in the American Studies Diploma Program. After completing the program, many graduates have continued their studies and research, started teaching, begun careers in journalism, or found work either in international commerce or with nongovernmental agencies.

Colleges and universities in many countries—China, Germany, India, Italy, the Netherlands, Taiwan and the United Kingdom—count our alumni among their ranks. Among our former students are a Smith professor, two university presidents, a Fulbright program director, several distinguished print journalists, radio and television anchors, and editors, publishers, civil servants and diplomats.

Alumni actively keep in touch to share their stories and tell about the ways in which their year at Smith helped shape the paths that their lives have taken. Keep in touch through the program's alumni newsletter:

Celebrating 50 Years

More than 50 graduates of Smith’s “foreign legion”—that is, international students who came to Smith for the one-year American Studies Diploma Program—traveled to campus in 2012 to celebrate the program’s 50th anniversary during All-Reunion weekend and to reminisce about what Smith meant—and continues to mean—in their lives.


American Studies Diploma Program

Lewis Global Studies Center
Wright Hall 122
Smith College
Northampton, MA 01063

Phone: 413-585-7598

Program Director: Lane Hall-Witt