American Studies

Program Type: Minor
Program Level: Undergraduate
Department: Minors

A total of 18 hours are required to earn the American studies minor. Having a minor in American Studies can add a valuable dimension to both professional and liberal arts degrees.

American Studies takes an interdisciplinary approach to culture and identity, particularly that of the United States, but also including other countries, indigenous peoples, diverse sexualities, ethnic minorities and regions of the North and South American continents.

American Studies emerged during the middle of the 20th century out of the work of scholars such as Vernon Parrington, Henry Nash Smith and Leo Marx, who applied techniques of literary criticism to the field of history. The intellectual scope has since expanded to encompass other academic disciplines and ideas. The American Studies Association was founded in 1950 and produces a journal titled American Quarterly.

Students who complete a minor in American Studies will emerge with a deeper understanding of American culture and a broader perspective on the questions and methods that various disciplines bring to the subject. Besides taking specialized American Studies courses, they will choose selected courses offered by other departments. The wide array of subjects allows students to tailor their minor to specific needs and interests.