American Studies

Set against the backdrop of New England’s rich history and culture, the American Studies program at RWU encourages students to examine the entirety of the American experience through various lenses like music, race, religion, politics and more. You’ll craft your own interdisciplinary program of study as you prepare for a career in fields such as activism, education and community engagement.

Degree Requirements

The American Studies Major

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Majors must satisfy University Core Curriculum requirements and the College speech requirement, COMM 210. Students should formulate a specific program of study in consultation with the American Studies faculty. Students must complete the following fourteen (14) courses (42 credits) and sufficient electives to total at least 120 credits. Majors are encouraged to apply electives toward a minor or second major.

Foundation Courses (15 Credits)

SubjectNumberTitle
AMST100Approaches to the Study of American Society and Culture
AMST201Research Methods
AMST301Junior Community Colloquium 
AMST420Senior Seminar I
AMST421Senior Seminar II

Five courses selected from the following topical areas:

*Note: These are variable content courses and may be repeated for credit, but students may study a single topic only once.

SubjectNumberTitle
AMST370Topics in Race, Gender and Sexuality in America
AMST371Topics in Ethnicity, Class and Region in America
AMST372Topics in American Material and Popular Culture
AMST373Topics in American Ideas and Institutions

Four interdisciplinary electives:

At least two at the 200 level or above from offerings on United States life and culture from related disciplines such as Art and Architectural History, Architecture, English, History, Music, Philosophy, Political Science.

The American Studies Minor

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SubjectNumberTitle
AMST100Approaches to the Study of American Society and Culture
AMST201Research Methods
AMST420Senior Seminar I

and

three courses selected from the following topical areas:

*Note: These are variable content courses and may be repeated for credit, but students may study a single topic only once.

SubjectNumberTitle
AMST370Topics in Race, Gender and Sexuality in America
AMST371Topics in Ethnicity, Class and Region in America
AMST372Topics in American Material and Popular Culture
AMST373Topics in American Ideas and Institutions

To read more about our academic offerings, or to view full course descriptions, please refer to our University Catalog.

Student Learning Outcomes

  1. To teach students to locate, analyze, and interpret a variety of resources with logic, clarity, and efficiency.
  2. To teach students to recognize and respect the legitimacy of a variety of academic disciplines.
  3. To offer students practice in selecting interpretive tools and strategies most appropriate to the tasks which they define for themselves.
  4. To help students develop a sophisticated appreciation of the complexities and ambiguities in the culture, and to resist the temptation to settle for simplistic and pat solutions to complex problems.
  5. To connect students to the American tradition of global and transnational heritage, and to recognize and appreciate diversity in all categories of identity.
  6. To encourage students to develop their rhetorical skills: to write and speak confidently and persuasively.