The American Studies B.A. frames and develops each student’s individual interests, and allows students to include courses from any program and department that sustain a student’s engagement with their particular emphasis. Individual programs of study are as varied as our students.
We value each student as a person, and understand that an education is much more than a list of courses. Our advising is central in supporting each student’s path and success through the major and beyond the degree.
Examples of concentrations that draw on courses outside American Studies - interests which we then integrate in our independent studies, internships, and the senior seminar - include sports studies, popular music history, comparative ethnic studies, marketing, military history, sustainability, disability advocacy, museum studies, philosophy of science, environmental studies, public health and social justice, and the U.S. in international perspectives. Each student develops a concentration of study with their American Studies advisor with ample room to combine courses and interests into a coherent undergraduate education.
The American Studies B.A. can be an attractive second major for students in any UW degree program where cultural context enriches and expands work in their professional or scholarly field. The flexible nature of our B.A. allows us to work effectively with students changing majors at any point in their undergraduate experience as well as transfer students.
Program Learning Outcomes
Students graduating with a B.A. in American Studies integrate study from several fields with their study in American Studies courses, in individual programs of study. The American Studies B.A. prepares students to enter graduate and professional programs, enter education certification programs, and work in community organizations and other public professional settings. Coursework in American Studies prepares students to:
- Interpret American experiences and creative expressions by applying appropriate approaches to words, narratives, images, material objects, communities, built environments, cross-cultural comparison, continuities and discontinuities with the past in a range of American cultural settings.
- Understand the processes of diversity experience including their own, through study of identity formation, performance of identity, stereotyping, contact, memory, and national identity.
- Demonstrate critical analysis, interpretation, or insight, through effective communication primarily in writing but also in speaking (when appropriate, performance or display may embody these as well), as demonstrated in analytically coherent interpretive writing, authoritative, informed oral presentation, and well-documented, visually effective performance or display (where appropriate).
- Apply American Studies methods field-based courses and/or internships, through use of Studies approaches and competencies in non-classroom settings, as demonstrated in field course or internship evaluations and students’ final reports.
The internship experience is essential for students specializing in public sector American studies. The American Studies program has an active program of scholarship-supported internships that can place students in work environments in Wyoming, other parts of the U.S., or in selected foreign countries.
Because American Studies is both an international field with scholars all over the world, and the U.S. has transnational significance, we strongly encourage students to take 2 years of language study to achieve meaningful access to skills as readers, scholars, and travelers, and consider participating in an international exchange. Some languages currently in demand by American Studies students include Spanish, Arabic, and Japanese.
Through the following curriculum, students develop individual programs of study, with their advisers, to understand and engage American cultures.
Students pursuing Program Honors should also write an undergraduate thesis. Contact the Program Director for more details.
Foundation (12 credit hours)
- AMST 2010 - Introduction to American Studies (3 credit hours)
- One course at the 1000- or 2000-level in an interdisciplinary field, including American History, or from departments and programs such as AADS, ENR, INST, GWST, LTST, NAIS, RELI, or appropriate courses transferred from other institutions, to be named in the program of study in consultation with an American Studies advisor. (3 credit hours)
- Two courses at any level from programs in The School of Culture, Gender, and Social Justice or appropriate substitutes in consultation with an American Studies advisor. (6 credit hours)
Concentration (27 credit hours)
Core (9 credit hours)
Each student must take three AMST courses at the 3000-4000 level, excluding the senior seminar. These seminars are designed to maintain an interdisciplinary view of American culture and to foster an American Studies community. (9 credit hours)
Theme (18 credit hours)
An American Studies theme is devised, in consultation with the student’s adviser, and is presented to the American Studies core faculty in writing as a proposed course of study. This proposal is usually made at the end of the second year of study (or upon completion of 60 hours of course work toward graduation), since the document guides the student through an exploration of American culture. Typical themes include: American diversity, environment and society, material culture and everyday life, visual culture and media, American cultural history, American institutions and public culture, the United States in international perspective. The theme must include a minimum of 6 credit hours and a maximum of 9 credit hours in a single discipline. Up to 3 credits can be granted for courses at the 1000-2000 level. (18 credit hours)
Capstone (6 Credits)
As part of the 6 credit hours of senior capstone requirements, each student must complete 3 credit hours of Senior Seminar. The additional 3 credit hours can be through either Independent Study or Internship.