American Studies is a multidisciplinary major that examines the American
experience in all its rich diversity. It includes the study of American
history, literature, and arts and the countrys social, economic, political,
and philosophical development. As an interdisciplinary major, it crosses
the boundaries of several disciplines in the humanities and social sciences,
yet depends on the subject matter, insights, and techniques from those
disciplines to help students understand the complex social, political,
and cultural American experience.
American Studies offers students, in consultation with an adviser, the
opportunity to design an individual course of study which is clearly coordinated
with their future plans. The major requires 24 units of core courses in
American literature, history, and cultural study. The core courses are
followed by 12 units, chosen by the student, for in-depth study of themes,
areas, or aspects of American culture.
Because of the multidisciplinary character of American Studies, most students
easily complete at least one minor in one of the allied disciplines, and
many graduate with a double major. For example, previous students have
double-majored in history or political science or have minored in English,
history, or anthropology. Students also use electives to pick up courses
in communications, computer science, and business. Upper-division majors
have the opportunity of gaining on-the-job experience by applying for internships
in such fields as journalism, radio and television, historical research,
and public relations. This flexibility is one of the advantages of American
Studies. The goals and career plans of our students are diverse.
American studies faculty are chosen from the academic departments participating
in the program. These faculty, selected for their understanding of American
culture, will help you widen your interdisciplinary perspectives. Because
American Studies is an interdepartmental major, you have the opportunity
of studying with top scholars from across campus.
American Studies graduates have a number of advantages in the job market.
In addition to having a broadly based liberal education, they read and
think critically, synthesize information insightfully, and write fluently.
These are qualities that every employer looks for in job applicants. Moreover,
with their broad background, American Studies graduates are also flexible
and versatile, so they find jobs everywhere. Our graduates have gone into
business and banking, industry, teaching, government, museum work, law,
public services, and the media.
Although you may not apply your American Studies course work directly on
the job, you will have the advantage of a humanities/social science background
and rigorous intellectual training. In every career, knowledge of American
society will be of use.
As you think about choice of a major, remember that your college degree
should be more than a vocational certificate. In a few years you may well
be working in a career that is just being created today. Youll learn work
skills on the job, but youll get your intellectual experience here.