2016-2017 Undergraduate Catalog 
    Feb 26, 2024  
2016-2017 Undergraduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

American Studies, A.B.

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Programs of Study

Program Director:  Dr. Christopher Borick, Professor of Political Science

The discipline of American Studies is aimed at exploring American society and culture(s) from multiple disciplinary perspectives.  Students are invited to shape their majors by choosing, based on their interests and strengths, among courses in a variety of fields, for example history, literature, political science, anthropology, sociology, art, music, theatre, economics, religion, philosophy, communication, and women’s and gender studies.

Honors in American Studies

The honors program in American Studies is designed for majors who are interested in doing graduate work in American Studies or in another cognate field.  Students must be especially motivated and committed to the interdisciplinary intellectual work that this concentrated, intensely focused experience demands.  Students are invited by a faculty member during the spring semester of junior year to participate in the American Studies Honors Program.  The course work includes two semesters of independent study in the senior year devoted to the development and completion of an honors thesis.  Students submit a prospectus for their honors program by the end of the spring semester of junior year.  The prospectus should describe a year-long independent study that engages approximately two different academic disciplines and a thesis that, in its final draft, will consist of at least 40 pages.

Major Requirements

Majors complete eleven courses, including the core requirements, the senior seminar, and six electives.  To remain an American studies major, a student must maintain a 2.00 grade point average in all courses designated as meeting the major requirements.

Required Courses:

  • 1 course unit
  • 1 course unit
  • 1 course unit
  • 1 course unit (topic with American history focus)
  • CUE: Senior Seminar (chosen in consultation with faculty advisor from seminars on topics in American culture(s) offered by the American Studies Program and by other participating departments). For students seeking Pre K-4 or 4-8 teacher certification this requirement may be met through EDU 101 - History & Politics of American Education .
  • Six electives focusing on American cultural issues in any discipline, spread over at least two different disciplinary areas with at least three of them numbered 300 or above. No 100 level courses can be counted among the electives. The program offers special topic courses, including sophomore seminars, that, while not required, can be taken as electives for the major.
  • Major designated writing intensive courses will be determined in consultation with the Director of American Studies.


Students are encouraged (but not required) to use the courses in the elective field to build a concentration in such areas as ethnic studies, gender studies, or a field that reflects the particular student’s interests, for example law and literature, art and politics, or media and society.

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Programs of Study