Major Requirements

American Studies is an interdisciplinary major which a student constructs from offerings in two or more departments of instruction. Students take both core courses in the field of American Studies and additional courses from one of five broad thematic streams (listed below). This theme will both provide additional structure and points of comparison and a foundation for a comprehensive project.

Majors must complete 69 credits in the following general areas:

I.  Core Courses: Each student must complete all of these:

  • AMST 115 Introduction to American Studies OR AMST 287 California Art and Visual Culture [offered as part of “Visions of California” OCS program] (one or the other of these is a prerequisite for AMST 345 and AMST 396)
  • AMST 345 Theory and Practice of American Studies
  • AMST 396 Junior Research Seminar
  • AMST 399 Senior Seminar in American Studies 
  • AMST 400 Colloquium and Integrative Exercise in American Studies

II.  Survey Courses: Students must take three survey courses. Two of these courses must come from a single department. Students will also take a one-term survey course from a different department. Because the entire range of these survey courses is not offered every year, students should consult the online catalog and plan accordingly.

  • HIST 120 Rethinking the American Experience: American History, 1607- 1865
  • HIST 121 Rethinking the American Experience: American Social History, 1865-1945 
  • HIST 122 U.S. Women's History to 1877
  • HIST 123 U.S. Women's History Since 1877
  • HIST 125 African American History I
  • HIST 126 African American History II
  • POSC 271 Constitutional Law I
  • POSC 272 Constitutional Law II 

Students may also, at the discretion of the Director, substitute other American history classes for the history survey, so long as one class focuses on American history up to and including the Civil War and the other class focuses on American history after 1765. These classes may not include History 100 (A and I seminars).

      One-term survey courses:

  • ECON 232 American Economic History: A Cliometric Approach
  • ENGL 212 Nineteenth-Century American Literature
  • ENGL 215 Modern American Literature 
  • MUSC 126 America's Music
  • POSC 122 Politics in America: Liberty and Equality
  • RELG 140 Religion and American Culture
  • RELG 289 Global Religions in Minnesota

III.  Topical Courses: Each student must take twenty-four credits that deal with elements of the American experience from one of the thematic streams. Courses that will fulfill this requirement are listed under five groups. No more than 6 of these credits may be from 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.) Students must take courses from at least two departments. In order that majors acquire the research skills necessary to complete the major, six of these twenty- four credits  must be at the 300-level.