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American Studies

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Major Requirements

Twelve semester courses totaling 48 credits, as follows:

  1. AMS 201 and 202
  2. Eight courses in the American field. At least four must be related in a coherent manner; at least two courses must be in the humanities and two in the social sciences; at least two must be devoted primarily to the years before the 20th century; at least one must be a seminar, ideally in the theme selected. Students who write honors theses do not have to take a seminar.
  3. One course that will enable the student to make explicit comparisons between the United States and another society, culture or region. The purpose of this requirement is to encourage students to take at least one course in their major that enables them to think about what they have learned of the United States in comparative perspective. Students can fulfill this requirement by making such comparisons on their own but through their engagement with materials and ideas in a course whose focus is largely outside the United States—courses, for example, in anthropology or in non-U.S. history, literature or art.
  4. AMS 340/341


Students have chosen many different ways of giving their major in American studies a focus that builds on their own needs and on the college's rich curricular offerings.

Here are some samples of what they have chosen as the foci of their majors

Popular Culture/Mass Media

FLS 241 Genre/ Period

GOV 210 Public Opinion and Mass Media in the U.S.

SOC 318 Sociology of Popular Culture

FLS 200 Introduction to Film Studies

American Cities

SOC 213 Ethnic Minorities

HST 279 Urban History

EDC 200 Education in the City

GOV 204 Urban Politics

Racial and Ethnic Diversity in American Life

ENG 267 Introduction to Asian American Literature

GOV 310 Native Americans in American Law and Politics

AAS 248 Gender in the Afro-American Literary Tradition

SOC 214 Sociology of Hispanic Caribbean Communities in the U.S.

Public History and the World of Museums

AMS 302 The Material Culture of New England

AMS 410 Tutorial on Research Methods at the Smithsonian

AMS 412 Research Project at the Smithsonian

19th-Century American Culture and Politics

ENG 248 American Literature From 1865 to 1914

AAS 335 Free Blacks in the U.S. before 1865

HST 266 The Age of the American Civil War

ARH 264 Arts in North America