University of Minnesota
American Studies
amstdy@umn.edu
612-624-4190


American Studies' Home Page

Undergraduate Program

Chinh Truong
Undergraduate Advisor

102 Scott Hall
E-mail: amstadv@umn.edu
Phone: 612-626-0972

Explore the Major

American Studies Major

The Major in American Studies is an interdisciplinary and comparative Program of Study that addresses the U.S. as the outcome of historical processes that are both national in contour and also global in scope. Such processes include migration, labor accumulation, land acquisition, cultural dissemination, implications of U.S. laws and policies, and identity formations around gender, sexuality, and race.

As an interdisciplinary enterprise, American Studies is not merely characterized by the accumulation of knowledge from different disciplines. It is the arena within which fields in the social sciences and humanities are re-imagined in coherent interrelationships. Students and faculty study within a variety of academic settings, which might include literature, history, sociology, anthropology, geography, cultural studies, art history, urban studies, political science and women’s studies. As a comparative enterprise, we study the U.S. in relation to other nations and cultures around the globe.

The Department of American Studies also includes the minor in Asian American Studies and cooperates with the Departments of African American and African Studies, American Indian Studies, Chicano Studies and Jewish Studies to make it possible for students to concentrate their work in one of those cultural areas.

What Can I Do With a Degree in American Studies?

The American Studies major is part of the liberal arts curriculum at the University. Like other liberal arts majors, it educates students to think globally, critically, and multiculturally. In American Studies, specifically, "thinking globally, critically, and multiculturally" means situating the United States within transnational processes around culture, migration, work, and commerce. The Department's policy of requiring students to take several courses in diverse fields also allows them to pursue their professional and intellectual interests without disciplinary restrictions. Consequently, our alumni apply the knowledge gained from American Studies to many different fields. Some are teachers in secondary or post-secondary education. Others pursue careers in business, law or medicine. Still others work in the world of museums as curators or consultants; or in government as administrators, researchers, or social workers, or in politics. We count among our alumni musicians, visual artists, historians, American studies scholars, writers and entertainers. American Studies provides a solid foundation for post-graduate study and for careers in many fields. The Department of American Studies can include minors in Asian American Studies and cooperates with the Departments of African American and African Studies, American Indian Studies, Chicano Studies and Jewish Studies to make it possible for students to concentrate their work in one of those cultural areas.

Major Requirements

A major in American Studies requires a minimum of 33 credit hours that together comprise a coherent focus in American cultural studies. Requirements include:

  1. Two foundation courses chosen from 1xxx- or 2xxx-level American Studies courses. (6-8 credits)
  2. A two-sequence proseminar course. The first semester of this sequence is an historical examination of the field and its methodologies. The second semester of the sequence focuses on the completion of the senior paper. (6 credits)
  3. Twenty-one additional credits taken as breadth requirements at the 3xxx-level (or above). Four courses must carry an American Studies designator. One course that makes up these 21 credits must involve world cultures.