Overview of the Major

About the Major

American Studies is a nine-course major that requires American Studies 100, a 200-level topics course, and a level three seminar (when subjects are different, the topics course and the seminar may be taken more than once), and up to six designated disciplinary courses, with at least one course in each of three departments (see list of courses that count toward the major on the American Studies website: http://wp.stolaf.edu/american-studies/). Of the nine courses, at least two must carry MCD general education credit, and at least two must be at level three. Completion of American Conversations counts for three courses, including AMST 100 and the level two topics requirement.

Unlike many majors, which prescribe sequences of courses for students, American Studies allows students to follow their own interests within various disciplines or about various subjects. Because courses in different departments count toward the American Studies major, many students complete a second major.

Why Major in American Studies?

An American Studies major equips students to engage in reflexive analysis and learning and to develop analytic and interpretive skills. American Studies majors frequently explore how culture shapes personal and group identities; seek out diverse perspectives, which means studying change over time; place the studies of cultures in relevant contexts; and examine how what we take as natural is almost always socially constructed. Students become comfortable with intellectual work that is interdisciplinary and that allows for the play of ideas and perspectives as a way of coming to know about a subject. Recent American Studies graduates have applied their majors in a variety of settings and responsibilities. Several have continued their learning and preparation in graduate, divinity, or law school. Others have become writers, or work in advertising and public relations, or communications of different kinds. Several have entered service occupations such as Lutheran Volunteer Corps.

For more information about the program or becoming an American Studies major, please email the director of the program, Mark Allister, at allister@stolaf.edu.