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American Studies Program

What You Will Learn

Our Mission

Armed with the investigative tools of disciplines that range from literature to economics, the contemporary American Studies scholar takes as a given the need to place the United States in conversation with neighboring nations, the Western hemisphere, and the world as a whole.

Global Citizenship

Global Citizenship

Courses throughout the AMST program develop five key themes: the drivers of social and cultural change in the United States; notions of equality and inequality; major divisions in US society; core and conflicting principles in American society and polity; and American exceptionalism and global perspectives. As you learn the role of ideas, discourse, and events in creating American culture, you will also examine the interplay of race, regional identity, politics, capitalism, globalization, and popular culture in developing an American identity. These themes help to ground and unite the program of study as well as providing a vehicle for an extended discussion of global citizenship.

Responsible Leadership

Responsible Leadership

You will work with a faculty member to craft an interdisciplinary research project that satisfies your senior seminar requirement. These projects—which have ranged from studies of contemporary media to the role post-secondary education plays in the development of millennials—will allow you to do extended self-directed work. This will build on your experiences throughout the major and provide an excellent opportunity for you to demonstrate responsible leadership. 

Productive Careers

Productive Careers

The major will hone your critical thinking and writing skills, which are vital to success in a wide variety of careers. Our classes encourage ethical engagement with the issues raised by scholarly interrogation of received wisdom and platitudes about American culture.

You will be well positioned to embark on a career in business, law, medicine, or philanthropy. American Studies embodies the interdisciplinarity that is one of the strongest traditions of a liberal arts education. This represents a holistic, wide-ranging way of thinking and expression that is increasingly valued by graduate schools and employers. 

Meaningful Lives

Meaningful Lives

American Studies will encourage you to use multiple academic disciplines and perspectives to explore the complexity and diversity of this nation’s history, literature, and culture. You will look intentionally and critically at the United States and its cultural history; in doing so, you will become a more informed national citizen who recognizes the country’s unique place in the world. We feel confident that this perspective—along with the methods of learning you will acquire in our program—naturally translates into a life full of meaning.