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American Studies

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The Major

The major in American studies enables a student to pursue a liberal arts education by focusing on American society and culture in the past and present. Instead of specializing in one of the traditional disciplines, the major combines several disciplines (e.g., history, art history, literature, economics) in the sequence of courses to fulfill major requirements

Because of the wide-ranging interests and methods included within the interdisciplinary American Studies Program, careful consultation between a student and adviser is crucial to the planning of the major.

In order to structure the studies of American society and culture, majors will select a focus— such as an era (e.g., antebellum America, the 20th century) or a topical concentration (e.g., ethnicity and race, urban life, social policy, material culture, the family, industrialization, the arts, the media, popular culture, comparative American cultures) which they will explore in at least four courses. It is expected that several courses in the major will explore issues outside the theme.

Double Majors

Students who double major in American studies and another field normally can count toward the American studies requirements up to four courses used to fulfill the requirements of another major.

Study Abroad

Many American studies majors have studied abroad either for a year or a semester. Some thought must be given, of course, to meeting the major requirements.

Senior Certification Form

When indicating on the Senior Certification Form which 64 credits they have taken outside the major, an American studies student can list American subject courses that she does not need to fulfill the program's requirements but not American studies courses themselves.

Teaching Certification

American studies majors can become licensed, as undergraduates, to teach in public schools throughout the country. Licensure is available on the elementary, middle or secondary levels. Gaining undergraduate licensure, however, requires careful planning. Students interested in doing this should decide fairly early in their undergraduate careers, usually by the end of sophomore year.

Students who are considering obtaining a teaching license should contact the Department of Education and Child Study.