American Studies is an interdisciplinary field where students learn to understand America, including history, culture, society and institutions, while at the same time learning critical thinking, interdisciplinary thinking, research, writing and oral communication skills.
Students will begin with introductory courses in American history, sociology and English. In their sophomore year they will take American Perspectives, which will provide an overview of various perceptions of America and begin to expose students to forming the many and varied components of America into a whole. Students will take two electives in each of the following areas: American History, American Institutions, and American Culture, Race and Gender. They will also take three additional courses in one of those areas to create a “concentration.” Finally, they will participate in a senior capstone experience. Students must take at least one 300-level history course. This may be taken as the history requirement, the history concentration (if selected), the 300-level requirement or as an open elective.
Career and Graduate Study Options
American Studies is the perfect degree for those individuals who understand that grounding in the skills of a solid liberal arts degree coupled with the understanding about America – its history, culture, society, people and institutions – provides for continued flexibility of career choice after undergraduate work. Indeed, the greatest value of an American Studies degree is this flexibility provided by broad-based knowledge and skills. The degree provides the basis for graduate work in American Studies, history, law, political science, education, English, journalism, business, library science, public history, historical preservation and museum studies, and higher education administration. It is an excellent preparation for immediate employment in government, politics and public service, writing or editing, or information management.
In addition to the All College Curriculum skills and perspective, students who successfully complete this program will:
- Have knowledge of American history, culture, society and institutions;
- Have awareness and appreciation of diversity and differences in people and opinions in America;
- Employ critical thinking skills (including the ability to formulate questions, analyze situations, evaluate information, and examine underlying issues);
- Demonstrate an appreciation of an interdisciplinary approach (the ability to think about an issue in a variety of ways and from a multitude of perspectives);
- Demonstrate research skills (including the ability to trace the roots of issues, find new information and incorporate that information into the final analysis);
- Demonstrate effective writing skills;
- Demonstrate oral communication skills.