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Major in American Studies

The major offers a broad grounding in the study of the United States by integrating a rich array of materials, themes, and approaches from many fields. It encourages students to view the U.S. from international, cross-cultural, and comparativist perspectives. The program provides students with rigorous training in the methods of interdisciplinary work while also allowing them the flexibility to pursue their own intellectual interests and goals. Our program encourages students to engage in experiential learning through research, volunteer opportunities, and internships.

The Major in American Studies consists of 30 hours of course work:

1. Core Requirements (9 hours)
  • AMER 1002, Introduction to American Studies (3 hours)
  • AMER 4000, Research Methods Workshop (3 hours)
  • AMER 4960, Senior Project (3 hours)
    Every year, American Studies seniors do a collaborative capstone project for the major. This project is not simply a senior thesis. The final product may take the form of a written document but it also may be a website, an online museum exhibit, a grant proposal, a documentary film, etc. Students are required to go public with their research by presenting it to other students, faculty, and the wider community.
2. International Requirement (3 hours)

One of the following:

a) AMER 3200, Global Perspectives on the U.S. (3 credit hours)

b) With approval of the director of undergraduate studies, a 3 credit-hour course that explicitly addresses a global perspective on the U.S.

3. Interdisciplinary Requirement (6 hours)

Two courses from at least two different interdisciplinary programs: African American and Diaspora Studies; American Studies; Asian Studies; Cinema and Media Arts; Earth and Environmental Sciences; Jewish Studies; Latin American Studies; Latino and Latina Studies; Medicine, Health, and Society; Women’s and Gender Studies.

4. Electives (12 hours)
Four courses pre-approved to form a study of concentration.
Honors Track

The Honors Program in American Studies offers excelling students a more intensive concentration within their major field. The program requires:

  1. Completion of the requirements of the major.
  2. A 3.25 cumulative grade point average.
  3. A 3.5 cumulative grade point average in American Studies.
  4. 6 hours in the fall and spring semesters of the senior year in AMER 4998/4999 devoted to a major research project leading to an honors thesis. 4999 counts as the Senior Project (4960) and 4998 counts as elective credit for the requirements of the major.
  5. An honors thesis to be completed by the spring of the senior year.
  6. Successful completion of an oral examination focusing on the topic of the thesis.

Exceptional achievement on the thesis will earn high honors. Applications are accepted in March of the junior year. Additional information is available from Gabriel A. Torres, Assistant Director of American Studies.


Want to find out more about our major? Ready to declare the major? 

Contact Prof. Gabriel A. Torres Colón to set up an appointment:
gabriel.a.torres.colon@vanderbilt.edu