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College of Liberal Arts

American Studies

The American Studies program introduces students to the interdisciplinary study of America as a place, a political and social idea, a set of values and traditions and a people. The major provides students with the opportunity to examine America through the diversity of its ideas, texts, objects, institutions, practices and histories as well as through the complex social and political relationships that have shaped and continue to shape the world to which they belong.

By drawing on a broad range of knowledge from the humanities and social sciences, students learn to think critically across disciplines as they study America in its national and global contexts. The flexibility and small size of the program permits undergraduates to devise an interdisciplinary academic program best suited to their individual needs and academic interests. The American Studies major can often be completed with a second liberal arts major such as English, History, Sociology or Political Science. Students who major in American Studies have pursued careers in law, business, public policy, government, communications, journalism and education.

The minor requires two foundation courses (six credit hours) and three additional courses from a selection. At least two courses must be at the 30000 level or higher.

The major requires three foundation courses (12 credit hours) and six additional courses (18 credit hours) from a selection. Three of the six courses must constitute an area of concentration designed in consultation with, and approved by, the director of American Studies. At least four courses must be at the 30000 level or higher. See www.cla.purdue.edu/american-studies for further details.

Suggested Arrangement of Courses

Freshman Year

First Semester Second Semester
(3) COM 11400 (Fundamentals of Speech Communication)* (3) Mathematics and Statistics*
(4) ENGL 10600 (First-Year Composition) or (3) ENGL 10800 (Accelerated First-Year Composition)* (3) Western Heritage*
(3) Mathematics and Statistics* (3) Elective
(3) Other Languages (Level IV)*† (3) Elective
(3) Racial and Ethnic Diversity* (3) Elective
(15-16) (15)


Sophomore Year

Third Semester Fourth Semester
(3) AMST 20100 (Introduction to American Studies) (3) AMST 30100 (Perspectives on America)
(3) Aesthetic Awareness* (3) Natural Sciences*
(3) Individual and Society* (3) Other Cultures*
(3) Natural Sciences* (3) United States Tradition*
(3) Elective (3) Elective
(15)   (15)  


Junior Year

Fifth Semester Sixth Semester
(3) American Studies requirement, Note A (3) American Studies requirement, Note A
(3) American Studies requirement, Note A (3) American Studies requirement, Note A
(3) Gender Issues* (3) Social Ethics*
(3) Global Perspective* (3) Elective
(3) Elective (3) Elective
(15)   (15)  


Senior Year

Seventh Semester Eighth Semester
(3) AMST 49000 (Senior Capstone in American Studies) (3) AMST 49000 (Senior Capstone in American Studies)
(3) American Studies requirement, Note A (3) American Studies requirement, Note A
(3) Elective (3) Elective
(3) Elective (3) Elective
(3) Elective (3) Elective
(15)   (15)  

American Studies Notes

* See "Core."

† Some students may need to begin language courses at a lower level.

  1. American Studies requirements: Select 18 hours from the following subject areas: art and design, African American Studies, anthropology, communication, economics, education, English, history, Italian, landscape architecture, philosophy, political science, psychology, sociology, Spanish or women's studies. Nine of the 18 hours must constitute an area of concentration designed in consultation with, and approved by, the director of American Studies.
  2. In planning your four-year program, please note that several of the courses for the American Studies major may be used to fulfill core requirements. Please consult your core plan of study sheet. No more than three CLA core curriculum courses may be used toward Requirement B unless approved by the director of American Studies.