The United States as a complex and diverse nation with a storied history of institutions, values, identities, and interactions with other countries and cultures.

The interdisciplinary nature of American Studies allows for a broad and nuanced understanding of American society and its complexities. Our major allows you to explore different facets of the history, culture, society, politics, literature and art of the United States, including key events figures, the development of cultural identities, the impact of popular culture, activism and social justice, and a global perspective of our interactions with other nations.

The Curriculum

View the 2023-2024 Academic Catalog to find course titles, numbers and descriptions.

Requirements for B.A. in American Studies

The major in American Studies is a 12-course interdisciplinary program.

Foundations in American Studies:

  1. AMST1101 Introduction to American Studies (AI-L) (LI) (DM)
  2. POLSC1201 Introduction to American Politics and Government (SA) (SS)  
  3. SOC1105 Major Institutions in U.S. Society (SA) (SS) (DM)
  4. HIST2106 A History of New England: 1500-Present (H) (HI) 

5-6.  Democracy: Two Courses from the following: 

  • ART1203 Art of Resistance:Social Justice & the Visual Arts (AI-A) (VCI) (SJ) 
  • POLSC2225 The 1960s and Political Activism
  • POLSC2232 Parties and Interests in American Politics: Polarized America
  • POLSC2602 Introduction to Law and the Judicial System
  • POLSC3160 American Political Thought
  • POLSC3201 Congress, Representation and the Legislative Process
  • POLSC3202 The American Presidency

7-8. Power, Inequality, and Society: Two courses from the following:

  • CCJ1203 Crime & Justice (SS)
  • ENGL2309 The Haves and the Have-Nots: American Authors on Money, Class and Power (AI-L) (LI) 
  • SOC2105 Race, Ethnicity & Group Relations (SA) (SS) (DM)
  • SOC2127 Social Class & Inequality (SA) (SS) 
  • SOC3201 Worlds in Motion: The Causes & Consequences of Migration

9-11. American Stories: Three courses from the following:

  • ART2217 American Art: An Anti-Racist Progressive History (AI-A) (VCI) (DM)
  • ENGL2413 African American Literature: A Tradition of Resistance (AI-L) (LI) (DM) 
  • ENGL2604 American Voices II: US Literature Since 1865 (AI-L) (DM)
  • ENGL3601 Crime Stories & American Culture
  • HIST2130 African American History: 1865-Present (H) (HI)
  • HIST2205 Women in American History (H) (HI) 
  • HIST3121 Surviving Columbus: 500 Years of Indigenous History (DM)
  • HIST3205 Themes in the History of the American West

12. Capstone

  • AMST4178 Directed Research in American Studies OR AMST4995 Internship

View the 2023-2024 Academic Catalog to find course titles, numbers and descriptions.

Requirements for a minor in American Studies

The American Studies minor offers students an introduction to the rigors of interdisciplinary study while serving as an excellent complement to traditional arts and sciences disciplines, such as History, English, Art, Political Science and Sociology for students who chose have a particular interest in the study of U.S. society.

Requirements for Minor:

  1. AMST1101 Introduction to American Studies (AI-L) (LI) (DM) 
  2. POLSC1201 Introduction to American Politics and Government (SA) (SS) OR SOC1105 Major Institutions in US Society (SA) (SS)
  3. HIST2106 History of New England: 1500 to Present (H) (HI) 
  4. One 2000-level course from American Studies catalog 
  5. One 3000-level course from American Studies catalog 
  • To understand and apply a range of methods for analyzing American culture across the disciplines, including historical, sociological and literary or aesthetic analysis
  • To understand the significance of diversity in the U.S. through the analysis of race, ethnicity, gender, class, sexuality or other group identity formulations in a U.S. cultural context
  • To understand how major U.S. institutions and structures, including governmental and cultural institutions, reflect and shape American society
  • To construct and communicate arguments in written and oral forms addressing the significance of primary texts or material artifacts from American culture, such as works of literature, painting, photography, historical records and music
  • To conduct scholarly research on American Studies related topics
Where Essential Values and Skills Meet the Real World

Where Essential Values and Skills Meet the Real World

Along with areas of knowledge and major requirements, you will cultivate essential values in the classroom and complete two courses in each area:

  • Social Justice (SJ): Develop knowledge, skills, values and motivation to participate beneficially in activities of personal and public concern.
  • Diversity & Multiculturalism (DM): Understand the complexity of identity the historical truths of different cultural perspectives to address bias and examine contemporary social issues. 

One hundred percent of Emmanuel students complete an internship as part of the core curriculum. In a city as dynamic as Boston, your options are bound only by the limits of your curiosity.

As an American Studies student, your internship options are as diverse as the field itself. You can find Boston-based internships in academia, cultural institutions, government, media, public policy, nonprofit organizations, and other fields where a deep understanding of American society and culture is valuable.

In all majors, the Capstone Experience involves completing a significant piece of work that requires the integration and application of learning from multiple courses.

For your Capstone Experience, American Studies majors may choose to complete a major research project on an American Studies-related topic or intern at a cooperating institution, while participating in regular discussion sessions in the AMST4995 course.