The program's approach emphasizes interdisciplinary and comparative study. It offers students the opportunity to combine course offerings from faculty throughout the University in order to identify and solve matters related to the diversity in American cultural life within historical and contemporary terms. The program features intellectually challenging seminars, a flexible curriculum designed by each major, a close working relationship between students and faculty, a strong focus on writing, and the requirement that every senior must undertake a yearlong independent research project.

Major In American Studies Program Courses (5 Units)

  • 301-1 during the first year in the major 
  • 301-2 or 3 during the first year in the major
    • In place of 301-2 or 301-3, approved courses from AFAM, ASIANAM, or Latino/a Studies by the Program director may be substituted
  • 390-1, 2 during senior year

Related Courses (10 Units)

Must be at the 200 or 300 level

  • 2 of the following (preferably 1 History and 1 English):
    • History 210-1 or 210-2
      History of the United States. 1. Precolonial to the Civil War. 2.Reconstruction to the present.
    • English 270-1 or 270-2
      American Literary Traditions 1. Puritans to Moby Dick. 2. Mid-19thcentury to the present.
  • 8 additional courses chosen in consultation with the director. Concentration or theme of courses must have a strong U.S. dimension but with global or comparative implications. At least 1 of the courses must be a class relevant to the concentration but not centered on the U.S.

Honors in American Studies

In senior year all majors participate in the senior project seminar (390-1,2) and work on a research project on a topic of their choice. Students meet weekly with their project advisers, the seminar instructor, and fellow seniors to discuss their projects and common concerns. Students whose senior projects and grades are judged to meet program criteria are recommended to the College for graduation with Honors. For more information consult the program director.


  • AMER_ST 301-1, 2, 3: Seminar for Majors
    A set of required courses structured to share a broad comparativist or internationally oriented theme, integrating methods and materials from different disciplines. Change of instructor each quarter.  Change of theme every year. Limited to 20 students.
  • AMER_ST 310-0: Studies in American Culture
    Readings and discussion of topics in American cultural life-for example the law in 20th century America or television news in contemporary U.S. culture. Limited enrollment with emphasis on student participation. Prerequisites vary. May be repeated for credit with consent of program director.
  • AMER_ST 390-1, 2: Senior Project
    Thesis or field study. Required of majors.
  • AMER_ST 399-0: Independent Study
    Readings and conferences on special subjects for students pursuing their area of interest within the major.