American Studies Program
Requirements for a B.A. in American Studies
To graduate with a Bachelor of Arts degree in American Studies, a student must complete ten distinct courses, as follows:
- One Foundation course AMER10-20
- One Integrative Seminar AMER 180-190
- One History course with at least two-thirds of course content focused on some aspect of the U.S.
- Five credits that form a thematic interdisciplinary cluster, including at least two courses at the 100+ level
- American Studies 198 (Senior Special Project), taken in either the fall or spring semester of the senior year, plus one elective course (content to coordinate with coursework of interdisciplinary cluster-in consultation with your advisor); OR American Studies 199 (Senior Honors Thesis), taken in both semesters of the senior year. The Senior Special Project or Honors Thesis must integrate or expand some aspect of the interdisciplinary cluster’s theme.
Interdisciplinary clusters: The major themes of the American Studies Program can be explored in depth through interdisciplinary clusters. Students select five courses from departments throughout the university which will relate to a cluster's theme. (Students may also design their own cluster by writing a proposal describing the theme, intellectual rationale and course content for the proposed cluster.) The capstone SSP or HT must expand on some aspect of the cluster. More about Interdisciplinary Clusters...
Students must submit a completed major concentration checklist along with their degree sheets to Dowling Hall. A copy of both documents must also be submitted to the American Studies Office—110 Eaton Hall.
Requirements for a Minor in Asian American Studies
Asian American Studies is an interdisciplinary academic field dedicated to the examination of the historical and contemporary experiences of Asian Americans, which includes the diasporic East Asian, Southeast Asian, South Asian, and Pacific Islander populations whose lives and labor shape and are shaped by the United States and the Americas. It applies the methods and perspectives of traditional academic disciplines, including but not limited to history, sociology, anthropology, education, psychology, and literature, to understanding the histories, communities, cultures, and experiences of Asian Americans. Asian American Studies was founded jointly with Black Studies and Ethnic Studies as a result of efforts for curricular transformation that were part of the national movements for racial and social justice of the 1960s and 1970s. Though the field has grown and expanded since it was initiated over four decades ago, it retains a focus on addressing social disparities in the U.S. and the world as they relate to Asian Americans.
A minor in Asian American Studies provides a coherent program of study for students who wish to critically examine Asian American experiences and wish to develop a specialization in Asian American Studies alongside their degree pursuits. The AAS minor requires six credits:
- One introductory survey/foundation course on Asian American experiences and with at least a third of its content on Asian American history
- At least one course focused on race in which Asian American experiences are addressed in a U.S. sociopolitical context; these courses should include at least one major module/unit on Asian American histories, experiences, and/or cultures
- At least one course with full or partial focus on Asian American experiences beyond the foundation
- Up to two elective courses that while they may not have direct Asian American content, must address issues or topics relevant to the historical and/or contemporary experiences of Asian Americans. Examples of these types of topics include but are not limited to immigration, educational access, bilingualism, health disparities, labor relations, environmental justice, media representations, cultural resistance productions, comparative race and ethnic studies, etc. Students wishing to count these courses towards the minor in Asian American Studies must consult with the course instructor for permission to focus independent work (e.g. a paper) on an appropriate Asian American topic; all elective courses must be approved by Asian American Studies Committee.
- An integrative capstone course or project that focuses on an Asian American community. The capstone project must be approved by AAS committee
and may be fulfilled in one of three ways:
- A faculty-supervised internship in an Asian American organization or organization that significantly services Asian American communities. Students must produce a final paper analyzing their experience.
- A community-based research course in which the research focus is on an Asian American community.
- An independent research paper or project on the Asian American experience with AAS faculty or other AAS-approved faculty advisor.
Minors in Asian American Studies may take up to two courses as independent study or as transfer courses from other institutions or that are counted towards a major or a foundation requirement. Courses with grades lower than C- will not be accepted towards the minor.
Special note on languages
The minor does not require proficiency in Asian languages because the language of the field of Asian American Studies (i.e. the scholarly literature) is English. Moreover, we do not want to discourage students from other majors, especially students with pre-professional plans, from taking the minor because of a language requirement that would require them to add additional credits to their program of study. A student who decides to pursue proficiency in an Asian language may count one course at the advanced level (e.g., JPN 21, CHNS 21 or above, or equivalent in another Asian language) towards one of the elective courses in the minor. We also encourage students interested in strengthening their knowledge of one or more Asian languages to seek an internship or project as their capstone experience that will allow them to interact with newer immigrants, who will be less likely than more established Asian Americans to speak English.