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The Major Program

American Studies explores the cultures of the United States, as well as their transnational exchanges and impact. The discipline's practitioners seek to understand the historical origins of particular cultures and practices held by individuals and groups within the United States and how those values and beliefs shape social and political realities within and beyond U.S. borders. The approach that American Studies takes is interdisciplinary, meaning that in American Studies we answer these questions using tools developed by numerous disciplines including history, sociology, anthropology, literary criticism, folklore, media and science and technology studies.

American Studies takes as its subject American cultures and provides an excellent, broad education in the liberal arts. Our aim is to make each student a culture critic, a person capable of bringing a thoughtful and humane approach to bear upon our understanding of the varieties of American experiences. Making connections is the way we like to characterize our work in American Studies. American Studies majors are good critical thinkers, develop excellent writing skills, and most importantly "learn how to learn," that is, you learn to figure out what intellectual tools and specialized knowledge you will need to perform a task or solve a problem. These intellectual and communication skills will prepare majors for a broad array of careers..

The Program. American Studies majors take five upper division courses devoted to close study of major issues crucial to the practice of American Studies. Advanced work in at least two other departments or programs allows each student to areas tailored to his or her own individual education goals. Sample emphases include: Culture and Consumption, Youth Education, Social Identities, Nature, Culture and Environment, Marketing, Advertising and Business, and Food and Health, for example. Students have the option of writing a senior thesis within this emphasis.

Career Alternatives. As an interdisciplinary program, American Studies provides a good liberal arts and sciences undergraduate education. American Studies maximizes a student's contact with a variety of subject matter and approaches. Graduates have moved into a broad range of career settings, including journalism, law, teaching, marketing, non-profit and community organizations, government, social work, environmental planning, library science, museum curatorship, and business. Students discover new career possibilities through their internships in American institutions.

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Updated: November 21, 2017 12:17 PM