Bachelor of Arts and Minor in American Studies

American Studies is an interdisciplinary approach to the study of American culture and society that draws upon courses from departments and programs in the humanities and social sciences. American Studies majors are prepared for a number of different career paths that value interdisciplinary knowledge, critical and creative thinking, and writing skills.

American Studies Mission Statement

The purpose of the American Studies major and minor is to study the unity and diversity, the consensus and conflict, the continuity and change, that characterize the many cultures and social structures of past and present United States. Building on a core that introduces major disciplinary perspectives in American Studies, students draw upon courses from throughout the University to create an elective program that will both further an understanding of the United States as a whole and allow them to pursue their specific areas of interests.

Two students sitting outside talking and laughing

Upon completing the American Studies major, students should be able to:

  • Demonstrate understanding of and facility with research methods and analytical skills from several disciplines, including history, geography, humanities, and cultural studies;
  • Integrate disciplinary methods and perspectives to explore significant questions about American society, culture, and history;
  • Articulate the relationships between regional, ethnic, racial, or subcultural  histories, peoples, experiences or conditions and larger, national narratives, events and trends.

Note: The core requirements of the American Studies major and minor changed in Spring 2018. Those who declared the major/minor before then can use either the old or the new program requirements.

Requirements for the B.A. in American Studies (39 units)

Required Core Courses (15 units)

  1. Introductory course (choose one):

    • AMST/LS 200 Self, Place, and Knowing: Introduction to Interdisciplinary Study
    • AMST/HUM 250 Values in American Life
  2. HUM 300GW Reading and Writing Across Creative Forms
  3. Arts and Culture in the US (choose one):
    • AMST 310/HUM 485 Arts and American Culture
    • HUM 490 American Images
  4. AMST 410/HUM 450 California Culture
  5. US Geographies (choose one):
    • GEOG 421 Future Environments
    • GEOG 433 Urban Transportation
    • GEOG 455 Geography of Ethnic Communities
    • GEOG 552 Geography of California

Electives (24 units)

Students choose 24 additional units (8 courses) that focus on a topic or question developed by the student on advisement with the American Studies coordinator. Courses must be drawn from at least two different disciplines, and only up to 6 units (2 courses) can be lower division. Students with a GPA of 3.0 or higher are encouraged to write a senior thesis in their final semester, signing up for 3 units of Independent Study (699), which will count as an elective.

Requirements for the Minor in American Studies (15 units)

Required Core Courses (9 units)

HUM 225/AMST 225 Values in American Life

HUM 450/AMST 410 California Culture

Choose one:

  • HUM 485/AMST 310 Arts and American Culture
  • HUM 490 American Images: Photography and Literature

Electives (6 units)

These courses, chosen upon advisement from throughout the appropriate departments and programs of the University, allow the student to further explore a particular theme or topic in American Studies.