We ask students who are going to major in American Studies to work out the structure of their major in advance by filling out the Planning Form for an American Studies Major at the time of declaration. Majors must complete 66 credits (eleven courses) in the following general areas. The courses under I. are required, and therefore self-explanatory. The requirements under II. allow for some discretion on the part of the student, and we are interested in learning how you plan to fulfill this part of the major. III. is, of course, at the discretion of the student, and that is where it is most important that we see how you plan to design your major.
I. Core Courses
AS 115, Introduction to American Studies
AS 345, Theory and Practice of American Studies
AS 396, Rotating Single Topic Course: for example, The Sublime in America, Race and Beauty, Suburbanization of America, and American Empire
AS 399: Senior Seminar in American Studies
AS 400, Comprehensive Exercise
**American Studies 115 is a prerequisite for 345 and 396.
The American Studies faculty has decided that 345, 396, 399, and 400, which are the real heart of the major, should be taken in succession. 345, therefore, is scheduled as a winter term course to be taken in the junior year, 396 a spring term course for juniors, 399 a winter term course for seniors, and 400 a senior year exercise in which students, if approved, either a) write an extensive essay; b) write a more modest essay paired with a creative or project comps; or c) take two graduate-school style comprehensive examinations. Students should not plan to be off campus in the winter or spring terms of Junior year, nor the winter of Senior year.
II. Survey Courses
Students must take three survey courses. Two of these courses will be a two-term sequence in a single department. Students will also take a one-term survey course from a different department. The intention of this requirement is that students gain an idea of the chronological development of at least two aspects of American culture. It is important that students select the survey courses that are most relevant to the kind of major they are constructing within American Studies, so that the topical courses under III. will have some foundation upon which to build.
One-term survey courses:
English 113: American Voices
English 212: 19th Century American Literature
Political Science 122: Politics in America: Liberty and Equality
Economics 232:American Economic History
Art History 160:American Art to 1940
Religion 140: Religion and American Culture
Religion 289: Global Religions in Minnesota
Two-term survey courses:
History 120-121: Rethinking the American Experience
History 125 and 221: African-American History I and II
History 122-123: U. S. Women's History
Political Science 271-272: Constitutional Law I and II
III. Topical Courses
Each student must take four courses that deal with elements of the American experience that he or she has determined are central to a particular focus within the major. Courses that will fulfill this requirement are listed under three groups on the Courses page of this site. No more than one of these courses may be a 100-level course. (Survey courses above and beyond those used to satisfy the required one-term and two-term sequences may count as a Topical Course.) No more than two Topical Courses may be from the same group. In order that majors acquire the research skills necessary to complete the major, one of these courses must be a 300-level course.
Majors, please print the Planning Form for an American Studies Major, fill it out and send it to Professor Melinda Russell, Director of American Studies, mail stop: 2-Music.