The American Studies major is the perfect blend of History and English that will allow you think critically and make comparisons between the past and the present. The program takes a broad, interdisciplinary approach to the meaning and nature of culture in the United States. Literature is the core of the program, but you will position your literary study in a comparative analysis of visual media and history to supplement your understanding of the relationship between cultural expressions and their context in social, political, and economic change.
Why Choose American Studies?
Combining a specialization in American culture with emphasis on critical reading, writing, and thinking throughout the course of study offers you a unique perspective in the study of history through literature. If you are interested in a career specifically focused on American literature or culture, you will be able to present yourself as a specialist in the field. Not only will you discover a more detailed understanding of our society, you will be able to consider the implications of past events in the shaping of our culture today.
What Will You Study?
The curriculum crosses boundaries from American literature (including major African American and ethnic authors), to American history, film, and other visual media. It includes an in-depth study of the major texts in American Literature, as well as courses from the University’s programs in History, Communication, and Film and Media Studies.
Graduates of this major will earn a degree that offers many of the opportunities of a traditional English major, but with a specialization in American culture that will be recognizable by graduate programs and employers. Experience in media other than literature will prepare you to link your expertise to contemporary expressions of specifically American cultural issues. Our graduates have gone on to graduate work in professional writing and are well prepared for the fields of teaching, law, technical writing, editing, publishing, journalism, and public relations.
Clubs & Organizations
American Studies students may have interests in: Sigma Tau Delta (English Honor Society), tutoring at the Writing Center , The Review of Art and Literature (literary magazine) , The Westerner (the University newspaper), and The Cupola (yearbook) . Many of our students also participate in varsity and intramural sports, special interest groups, and student government.
The American Studies faculty includes scholars with expertise in the cultural studies approach emphasized by this major. Small classes ensure that your professors will not only get to know you, but will also have opportunities to develop your specific interests. The full-time faculty have produced a broad range of scholarship, including literary and film criticism in American and African American literature, American history, film, and communication.
Unique Learning Opportunities
Internships and Fieldwork
As an American Studies student, you'll gain professional skills and experience through internships, fieldwork, or student teaching. These experiential learning opportunities will allow you to take a test drive of your future career in a practical setting. Our students have interned and written for the Daily Hampshire Gazette, Springfield's The Republican, Bleacher Report, FamilyFun, and BusinessWest. Others have worked at Baystate and Mercy Medical Centers in public relations and fundraising, at ESPN, The United Way, and for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
Study Abroad: Become a Global Citizen
Our shrinking world requires students to think from a global perspective. The College of Arts and Sciences will help you to become a citizen of the world while making valuable contributions in your explorations. Whether you participate in the Freshman Semester in London, a short seminar course abroad, or in another semester-long trip, the experience will broaden your horizons and help you compete in the global landscape.