Major in American Studies

The American Studies major leading to a bachelor’s degree consists of 36 credits: 15 credits of American Studies core courses, 18 credits of course work distributed across 3 Core Themes, and 3 credits of applied experience (internship, student teaching, service learning, applied/action research). A minor program is available for students majoring in other fields who wish to complete a concentration in American Studies. All courses applicable to the major or minor, excluding the applied experience, must carry a grade of C or above. A maximum of 9 credits from related disciplines may be applied to the Core Themes with the approval of the department. A maximum of 6 credits in independent study may be counted toward the major.

For a complete list of American Studies course descriptions, please consult the university catalog. GEP designations: Arts and Humanities [AH], Culture [C], Social Science [SS], and Writing Intensive [WI].

American Studies Foundational Core (15 credits). The American Studies Foundational Core provides a foundation in the key research and writing practices of the discipline. Two lower-level courses introduce students to fundamental American Studies concepts. Students build knowledge and engage in professional writing and research practices in an upper-level gateway course, two advanced seminars, and a capstone research seminar.

  • AMST 100 Introduction to American Studies [AH]
  • AMST 200 What is an American? [AH]
  • AMST 300 Approaches in American Studies [WI]
  • AMST 400-level Seminar
  • AMST 490 Senior Seminar [WI]

Core Themes (Six upper-level courses, two in each of the core themes listed below, for a total of 18 credits). One 200-level course may be applied to the core themes. We suggest that one course in the core themes should be a 400-level seminar. Students select two courses exploring each theme from the following lists.

A. U.S. Social Structures: American Regions, Institutions, and Communities. Courses in this category focus on particular institutional structures and practices that shape and are shaped by the experiences of individuals and social groups in American society.

  • AMST 210 Introduction to Gay and Lesbian Studies [SS]
  • AMST 310 Gender and Inequality in U.S. Society [AH]
  • AMST 317 Nonviolence and American Social Movements [SS]
  • AMST 320 Television in American Culture [AH]
  • AMST 321 Radio in American Culture [AH]
  • AMST 326 On the Move: Public Transportation in Baltimore
  • AMST 327 Sports and Media
  • AMST 350 Critical Decades
  • AMST 356 Special topics in U.S. Social Structures
  • AMST 380 Community in America [AH]
  • AMST 382 Perspectives on the Family [AH]
  • AMST 384 Perspectives on Childhood [SS]
  • AMST 388 American Environments [AH]
  • AMST 410 Seminar U.S. Social Structures
  • AMST 413 Policing & Prisons in U.S. Society
  • AMST 422 Preserving Places, Making Spaces in Baltimore
  • AMST 424 Theories of Space and Place
  • AMST 480 Community Research Seminar

B. Global America: The U.S. in the World, The World in the United States. Courses in this category explore the relationships of America with other countries and cultures, including globalization, migrations, immigration, diasporic experiences in America, and transnational cultures.

  • AMST 245 Arab and Muslim Experiences in the U.S. [AH or C]
  • AMST 324 The Road Movie in America and Abroad
  • AMST 345 Indigenous Heritage: Issues of Representation and Ownership [AH or C]
  • AMST 352 American Culture in Global Perspective [AH or C]
  • AMST 357 Special Topics in Global America
  • AMST 372 American Food
  • AMST 375 Studies in Asian American Culture [AH or C]
  • AMST 403 Ethnography in America
  • AMST 420 Seminar in Global America

C. American Signs: United States Literary, Visual, and Material Culture. Courses in this category provide interdisciplinary analysis of oral, written, visual, and material representations of American life and culture and the historical and social contexts in which they are produced and consumed.

  • AMST 230 The Arts in America [AH]
  • AMST 322 American Culture in Film [AH]
  • AMST 323 Baltimore in Film
  • AMST 325 Popular Culture [AH]
  • AMST 344 Made in America: Material Culture in the United States
  • AMST 358 Special topics in American Signs
  • AMST 365 Asian American Fictions [AH or C]
  • AMST 374 Things to Come: Perspectives on the Future [AH]
  • AMST 376 The American Dream [AH]
  • AMST 385 Teachers in American Culture
  • AMST 391 Studies in American Culture
  • AMST 395 American Music and Culture [C or SS]
  • AMST 430 Seminar in American Signs
  • AMST 464 Immigration Nation: Examining Narratives of Immigration to the U.S.

Applied Experience (3 credits: P/F or Regular Credit) includes internships, service learning, undergraduate research, student teacher praxis, and AMST courses designed as applied research. Students in dual programs may fulfill this requirement by taking an approved applied experience course in the second department.

American Studies Major / Education Certification

There is a dual major/certificate program for students seeking teaching certification in early childhood, elementary, and secondary education. Students in this program whose certification requirements include supplementary courses in social sciences or history may substitute 9 credits of those courses for 9 credits of the Core Themes. Students making this substitution must select one course exploring each theme from the lists below for the remaining 9 credits in the Core Themes. Students seeking education certification may count student teaching as their applied experience.