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Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of General Studies in American Studies

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Requirements for the B.A. or B.G.S. Major

American Studies Core Knowledge and Skills

Majors must complete a course in each of the following areas:

  • Introduction to American Studies. Satisfied by AMS 100 or AMS 101.
  • American Identitites. Satisfied by AMS 110 or AMS 112.
  • The United States in Global Context. Satisfied by AMS 332 or SOC 332.
  • Theory and Method. Satisfied by AMS 360 and 1 additional course that explores methodological and theoretical approaches used in American studies. See your adviser for appropriate options or choose from the following:

AAAS 560/WS 560 Race Gender and Postcolonial Discourse
ANTH 361 Third World Anthropological Approaches
ANTH 460 Theory in Anthropology
HIST 396 Historical Methods
POLS 301 Introduction to Political Theory
POLS 306 Political Science Methods of Inquiry
POLS 320 Introduction to Public Policy
POLS 600/WS 600 Contemporary Feminist Political Theory
HIST 649/WS 549 History of Feminist Theory
ENGL 508 Contemporary Literary Theory
POLS 609 Topics in Political Theory
PSYC 300 Statistics in Psych. Research
PSYC 310 Research Methods in Psychology
SOC 310 Introduction to Social Research
SOC 500 Sociological Theory
SOC 510 Elementary Statistics and Data Analysis
SOC 601 Introduction to Feminist Social Theory
TH&F 583 Film Theory
TH&F 584 Film Theory and Criticism, 1960-Present
WS 468/PSYC 468 Psychology of Women

American Studies Required Electives/Emphases

Majors must select 1 of 7 special emphases or design their own. Self-designed emphases must be approved in their entirety by an American studies adviser and the undergraduate studies director before implementation. Meet with your academic adviser to determine course options that best meet your interests in this option. Prepare for this advising session by completing a key word search in the Schedule of Classes.

  • American Cultural Studies. Satisfied by 4 courses, 3 of which are at the 300+ level (possible key words: American culture).

AMS 310 American Culture, 1600-1876 (3)
AMS 312 American Culture, 1877-Present (3)
AMS 576 Cultural Geography of the United States (3)
AMS 650 Jazz and American Culture (3)
AMS 652 Jazz I, Roots to 1955 (3)
AMS 653 Jazz II, 1955–Present (3)
AMS 678 The Modern American Novel (3)
AMS 680 Jazz Autobiography (3)
AMS 682 Jazz Narratives in Novels and Films (3)
AMS 690 Black Cultural Studies (3)
ENGL 316 Introduction to Major American Writers (3)
ENGL 320 American Literature I (3)
ENGL 322 American Literature II (3)
ENGL 336 Jewish American Literature and Culture (3)
ENGL 337 Introduction to U.S. Latino/a Literature (3)
ENGL 338 Introduction to African-American Literature (3)
ENGL 339 Introduction to Caribbean Literature (3)
FMS 380 American Popular Culture (3)
FMS 621 American Film Criticism (3)
HA 370 American Art (3)
HA 582 American Art 1860-1900 Gilded Age (3)
HIST 310 American Culture, 1600-1876 (3)
HIST 312 American Culture, 1877 to the Present (3)
HIST 313 Conspiracies and Paranoia in American History (3)
HIST 347 Environmental History of North America (3)
HIST 353 Indigenous Peoples of North America (3)
HIST 360 Science and Religion (3)
HIST 631 The Contemporary Afro-American Experience (3)
LAA 505 U.S. Latino and Latin American Film and Literature (3)
REL 339 History of Religion in America (3)
REL 372 Religion in American Society (3)
THR 327 African-American Theatre & Drama (3)
THR 380 Popular Culture (Various Topics) (3)

  • Race Ethnicity. Majors must complete the following (possible key words: race, ethnicity, stereotyping, cultural diversity, slavery, ethnic relations, black experience):

Race and Ethnicity Group A. Satisfied by 1 of the following courses from AAAS, AMS, ENGL, or HIST at the junior/senior level (300+).

AAAS 306 The Black Experience
AAAS 440 The Afro-American Family
AAAS 460 Topics in African and Afican-American Studies
AMS 522 American Racial and Ethnic Relations
AMS 534 Comparative Racial and Ethnic Relations
ENGL 336 Jewish American Literature & Culture
ENGL 337 Introduction to U.S. Latino/a Literature
ENGL 338 Introduction to African American Literature
ENGL 339 Topics in U.S. Ethnic Literature
ENGL 571 American Indian Literature
HIST 353 Indigenous Peoples of North America
HIST 574 Slavery in the New World
HIST 631 The Contemporary African American Experience

Race and Ethnicity Group B. Satisfied by 1 of the following courses from ANTH, PSYC, or SOC at the junior/senior level (300+).

ANTH 308 Introduction to Cultural Anthropology
ANTH 360 Varieties of Humam Experience
ANTH 378 Contemporary North American Indians
ANTH 563 Cultural Diversity in the U.S.
PSYC 465 Stereotyping/Prejudice Across Cultures
SOC 341 Urban Sociology
SOC 522 American Racial and Ethnic Relations
SOC 534 Comparative Racial and Ethnic Relations
SOC 536 Ethnicity in America
PSYC 440 The Afro-American Family

Race and Ethnicity Required Electives. Satisfied by 2 electives, at least 1 at the 300+ level, from the following related to race and ethnicity: AAAS, AMS, ANTH, ENGL, HIST, POLS, SOC, WS.

  • Visual Culture. Satisfied by 4 courses from at least 2 departments, 3 of which are at the 300+ level (possible key words: American documentary, American art, American theater, American film).

AMS 580 American Art (3)
AAAS 585 Race and the American Theatre (3)
AAAS 611 History of the Black Power Movement (3)
ANTH 301 Anthropology Through Films (3)
HA 370 American Art (3)
HA 525 Aegean Archaeology and Art (3)
HA 581 American Art to 1860: Inventing a Nation (3)
HA 582 American Art 1860-1900: Gilded Age (3)
FMS 310 History of the Silent Film (3)
FMS 311 History of the American Sound Film (3)
FMS 314 History of African-American Images in Film (3)
FMS 317 Race and the American Documentary (3)
FMS 380 American Popular Culture of: _____ (3)
FMS 414 Kansas Art and Popular Culture (3)
MUSC 303 The Film Musical (3)
THR 327 African-American Theatre and Drama (3)
THR 380 Popular Culture: _____ (3)
THR 528 History of U.S. Theatre and Drama (3)

  • Local and Global. Majors must complete the following:

Local and Global Group A. Satisfied by 1 of the following courses from AMS, ENGL, HIST, GEOG, SOC at the junior/senior level (300+).

AMS 534 Comparative Racial and Ethnic Relations
ENGL 339 Introduction to Caribbean Literature
ENGL 526 African Literature
ENGL 536 Readings in the Holocaust
GEOG 350 Physical Geography of Africa
GEOG 396 China’s Geography
GEOG 591 Geography of Latin America
GEOG 593 Middle American Geography
HIST 300 Modern African History
HIST 331 Atlantic Societies
HIST 343 The Holocaust in History
HIST 350 The Korean War, 1950-1953
HIST 365 Invention of the Tropics
HIST 371 Cultural History of Modern Latin America
HIST 397 China’s Red Revolution
HIST 398 Introduction to History of Japan
HIST 574 Slavery in the New World
HIST 581 Topics in Third World History
SOC 350 Sociology of Transnational Migration
SOC 536 Gender in Global Context
SOC 621 Cross-Cultural Sociology

Local and Global Group B. Satisfied by 1 of the following courses from EALC, LAA, AAAS at the junior/senior level (300+).

EALC 306 Living Religions of the East
EALC 332 Asian Literature in Translation
EALC 527 Asian Theatre and Film
EALC 563 Cultural Traditions in Japan
EALC 590 Topics in East Asian Literature and Culture
LAA 334 Indigenous Traditions of Latin America
LAA 503 Race/Gender/Ethnicity/Nation. in Latin America
LAA 505 U.S. Lat.-Latin American Film and Literature
AAAS 302 Contemporary Haiti
AAAS 310 Women of Africa Today
AAAS 320 African Studies in: _____
AAAS 360 Introduction to African History
AAAS 433 Islamic Literatures
AAAS 349 Islam 

Local and Global Required Electives. Satisfied by 2 electives, at least 1 at the 300+ level, from the following courses related to race and ethnicity: AAAS, AMS, EALC, ENGL, GEOG, HA, HIST, LAA, POLS, SPAN.

  • Popular Culture. Satisfied by 4 courses from at least 2 departments, 3 of which are at the 300+ level (possible key words: popular culture, American culture, popular literature, sport, conspiracies).

AMS 344 Case Study in American Studies: _____ (3)
EALC 365 Japanese People through Films (3)
EALC 565 Popular Images in Japanese Culture, Literatures, and Films (3)
ENGL 325 Recent Popular Literature (3)
ENGL 506 Science Fiction (3)
HIST 310 American Culture, 1600-1876 (3)
HIST 312 American Culture, 1877 to the Present (3)
HIST 313 Conspiracies and Paranoia in American History (3)
HIST 470 Popular Culture in Latin America and Africa (3)
FMS 380 American Popular Culture of: _____ (3)
MUSC 299 American Popular Song (3)
MUSC 303 The Film Musical (3)
SOC 364 Society, Popular Culture, and the Media (3)
SOC 365 Society, Popular Culture, and the Media, Honors (3)
SOC 629 Sociology of Sport (3)
SOC 634 The Sociology of Culture (3)
THR 327 African-American Theatre and Drama (3)
THR 380 Popular Culture: _____ (3)
WGSS 513 Modern American Women in Film and Literature (3)

  • Jazz Studies. Satisfied by 4 courses from at least 2 departments, 3 of which are at the 300+ level (possible key words: jazz, music, American poetry, American pop culture):

AMS 650 Jazz and American Culture (3)
AMS 652 Jazz I, Roots to 1955 (3)
AMS 653 Jazz II, 1955-Present (3)
AMS 680 Jazz Autobiography (3)
AMS 682 Jazz Narratives in Novels and Films (3)
MUSC 298 Introduction to Jazz (3)
MUSC 299 American Popular Song (3)
MUSC 300 Jazz Styles, 1920-1980 (3)

  • Gender and Sexuality. Satisfied by 4 courses from at least 2 departments, 3 of which are at the 300+ level (possible key words: gender, sexuality, body image, sex roles, intimate relationships):

AMS 511 History of American Women: 1870-Present (3)
ANTH 358 Anthropology of Sex, Honors (3)
ANTH 359 Anthropology of Sex (3)
HIST 531 History of American Women: 1870-Present (3)
PHIL 504 Philosophy of Sex and Love (3)
PSYC 410 Intimate Relationships (3)
REL 374 Religious Perspectives on Selfhood and Sexuality (3)
SOC 522 American Racial and Ethnic Relations (3)
SOC 352 Sociology of Sex Roles (3)
SOC 617 Women and Health Care (3)
WGSS 333 The Politics of Physical Appearance (3)
WGSS 440 Communication and Gender (3)
WGSS 468 Psychology of Women (3)
WGSS 562 Women and Politics (3)
WGSS 563 Gender, Sexuality, and the Law (3)
WGSS 653 Gender, War, and Peace (3)
WGSS 660 Human Reproduction: Culture, Power, and Politics (3)

  • Religion. Satisfied by 4 courses from at least 2 departments, 3 of which are at the 300+ level (possible key words: American religion):

AAAS 300 African Traditional Religion
AAAS 522 African and African-American Religion
AMS 290 Religion in American Society
ANTH 484 Magic, Science, and Religion
ANTH 666 Anthropology of Religion
HIST 360 Science and Religion
HIST 373 The Supreme Court and Religion in the U.S.
PHIL 350 Philosophical Issues in Religion
PSYC 581 Psychology of Religion
REL 330 Native American Religions
REL 339 History of Religion in America
REL 372 Religion in American Society
REL 441 Myth, Symbol, and Ritual in Religion
REL 671 American Communes
SOC 626 Religion and Society

Students considering graduate study should take at least 2 courses beyond major requirements. These should be selected in consultation with a faculty adviser.

Capstone experience

Majors must complete 1 of the following:

  • Research Seminar in: _____. Satisfied by AMS 550.
  • By application, advanced students may pursue a focused project of research or service under the supervision of a faculty member. Satisfied by AMS 551, AMS 552, or AMS 553.

American Studies Major Hours & Major GPA

While completing all required courses, majors must also meet each of the following hour and grade-point average minimum standards:

Major Hours
Satisfied by 30 hours of major courses.

Major Hours in Residence
Satisfied by a minimum of 15 hours of KU resident credit in the major. 

Major Junior/Senior (300+) Hours
Satisfied by a minimum of 18 hours from junior/senior courses (300+) in the major.

Major Junior/Senior (300+) Graduation GPA
Satisfied by a minimum of a 2.0 KU GPA in junior/senior courses (300+) in the major. GPA calculations include all junior/senior courses in the field of study including F’s and repeated courses. See the Semester/Cumulative GPA Calculator.

Major Junior/Senior Major Attempts
Summary includes American Studies junior/senior (300+) hours attempted, including F's and incompletes.

Graduation Plan

With careful planning and commitment to a full-time course load, you can graduate in 4 years. Download a sample 4-year plan for American studies.

Double Majors

American studies majors are encouraged to take a second major in a related field, such as history, English, political science, sociology, anthropology, religious studies, African and African-American studies, economics, or art history. Because the major is interdisciplinary, a second major is relatively easy to achieve during the usual 4 years of undergraduate study.

Opportunities for Original Projects

By application, advanced students may pursue a focused project of research or service under the supervision of a faculty member. AMS 551, AMS 552, and AMS 553 function as independent research and service project electives.

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