American Studies, Bachelor of Arts College of Letters & Science

The Major

American Studies provides an excellent, broad education in the liberal arts. American Studies majors create an emphasis devoted to the close study of social and cultural issues crucial to the practice of American Studies. Advanced work in at least two other departments or programs allows each student to study areas tailored to their own individual education goals. Sample emphases include Youth Education, Social Justice and Social Movements; Popular Culture; Comparative Racial and Ethnic Studies; Nature, Culture and the Environment; Militarism and Incarceration; Queer and Trans Studies; Disability, Health, and Illness; and Food and Culture. Students have the option of writing a senior thesis or completing a creative capstone project, are encouraged to study abroad or participate in other forms of global education, and are encouraged to explore new career possibilities through internships—all of which can count toward the major units with permission of the advisor.

Career Alternatives

As an interdisciplinary major, American Studies offers students the choice of a variety of subject matter and approaches. This flexibility means that graduates are prepared to move into a broad range of career settings. Our alumni have become lawyers, teachers, social workers, urban planners, software engineers, filmmakers, professors, professional writers and comedians, marketing and communications professionals, librarians, museum curators, community organizers, and non-profit staff and leaders.

Global Education & Study Abroad

Majors are encouraged to study abroad or engage in domestic opportunities off-campus; such as the UC Washington Program, internships, and many other opportunities. Major requirements can be fulfilled with up to eight units from study abroad or other domestic off-campus opportunities with the permission of the undergraduate advisor.

Faculty Advisor

G. Wang

Major Advisor

American Studies Advising; or 530-752-6429.

The major requirements below are in addition to meeting University Requirements & College Requirements; unless otherwise noted.

The major requirements below are in addition to meeting University Degree Requirements & College Degree Requirements; unless otherwise noted. The minimum number of units required for the American Studies Bachelor of Arts is 64.

Preparatory Subject Matter
AMS 010Introduction to American Studies4
One additional lower division American Studies course.4
Choose one:4
African-American Culture & Society
Historical Experience of Asian Americans
Introduction to Chicana/o Studies
Introduction to Native American Studies
Or an equivalent course in racial and ethnic diversity.
Choose one:4-5
Cultural Anthropology
Introduction to Critical Gender Studies
Self & Society
Or an equivalent course in social science approaches to culture.
Choose one:4
History of the United States
History of the United States
Women & Gender in America, to 1865
Women & Gender in America, 1865-Present
Choose one:4
Introduction to Film Studies
Introduction to Literature
Introduction to Literature
Literatures in English I: To 1700
Literatures in English II: 1700-1900
Literatures in English III: 1900 to Present
Or an equivalent course introducing critical approaches to literary and visual texts in the humanities.
Preparatory Subject Matter Subtotal24-25
Depth Subject Matter
AMS 100Methods in American Studies4
AMS 160Undergraduate Seminar in American Studies4
American Studies Elective
Three additional upper division American Studies courses.12
In consultation with the American Studies Undergraduate Advisor, the student designs a program of 20 units (typically five courses) of upper division course work around a unifying theme, period, or subject matter in American cultures. The courses should come from two or more departments or programs and may include up to 8 units of American Studies courses. Only 4 units of AMS 192 (internship) can be included in the emphasis. Students may choose the senior thesis option (AMS 190A & AMS 190B) for 8 units of the emphasis and take the remaining 12 units outside the department.20
College requirement in English composition. 1
Depth Subject Matter Subtotal40
Total Units64-65

Completion of the college requirement in English composition before enrollment in AMS 190A.