Career Opportunities

Graduates have prepared for occupations in federal, state, and local government, law, medicine, politics, journalism, business, and education. Many have entered graduate work in American studies or disciplines in their concentrations. See an advisor for a list of American studies courses that may meet teacher licensure requirements in history and social sciences.

Undergraduate Admission

Admission to KU

All students applying for admission must send high school and college transcripts to the Office of Admissions. Unless they are college transfer students with at least 24 hours of credit, prospective students must send ACT or SAT scores to the Office of Admissions. Prospective first-year students should be aware that KU has qualified admission requirements that all new first-year students must meet to be admitted. Consult the Office of Admissions for application deadlines and specific admission requirements.

Visit the Office of International Student and Scholar Services for information about international admissions.

Students considering transferring to KU may see how their college-level course work will transfer on the Office of Admissions website.

Admission to the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Admission to the College is a different process from admission to a major field. Some CLAS departments have admission requirements. See individual department/program sections for departmental admission requirements.

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 (3)
Satisfied by the following:
AMS 100Introduction to American Studies3
or AMS 101 Introduction to American Studies, Honors
American Identities (3)
Satisfied by the following:
AMS 110American Identities3
or AMS 112 American Identities, Honors
The United States in Global Context (3)
Satisfied by the following:
AMS 332The United States in Global Context3
or SOC 332 The United States in Global Context
Theory and Method (18-19)
Satisfied by the following:
AMS 360Theory and Method3
Select one additional course that explores methodological and theoretical approaches used in American studies. See your advisor for appropriate options or select from the following:3-4
Race, Gender, and Post-Colonial Discourses
The Third World: Anthropological Approaches
Theory in Anthropology
HIST 301The Historian's Craft3
Introduction to Political Theory
Political Science Methods of Inquiry
Introduction to Public Policy
Contemporary Feminist Political Theory
History of Feminist Theory
Contemporary Literary Theory
Topics in Political Theory: _____
PSYC 210Statistics in Psychological Research3
PSYC 200Research Methods in Psychology3
Introduction to Social Research
Sociological Theory
Elementary Statistics and Data Analysis
Introduction to Feminist Social Theory
PSYC/WGSS 468Psychology of Women3
 

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 advisor and the undergraduate studies director before implementation. Meet with your academic advisor 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 300+ level (possible key words: American culture).
    AMS 310American Culture, 1600-18763
    AMS 312American Culture, 1877 to the Present3
    AMS 576Cultural Geography of the United States3
    AMS 650Jazz and American Culture3
    AMS 652Jazz I, Roots to 19553
    AMS 653Jazz II, 1955-Present3
    AMS 680Jazz Autobiography3
    AMS 682Jazz Narratives in Novels and Films3
    AMS 690Black Cultural Studies3
    ENGL 316Introduction to Major American Writers3
    ENGL 320American Literature I3
    ENGL 322American Literature II3
    ENGL 336Jewish American Literature and Culture3
    ENGL 337Introduction to U.S. Latino/a Literature3
    ENGL 338Introduction to African-American Literature3
    ENGL 339Introduction to Caribbean Literature3
    FMS 380American Popular Culture of: _____3
    FMS 621American Film Criticism3
    HA 370American Art3
    HA 582American Art 1860-1900: Gilded Age3
    HIST 310American Culture, 1600-18763
    HIST 312American Culture, 1877 to the Present3
    HIST 313Conspiracies and Paranoia in American History3
    HIST 347Environmental History of North America3
    HIST 353Indigenous Peoples of North America3
    HIST 360Science and Religion3
    HIST 631The Contemporary Afro-American Experience3
    LAA 505U.S. Latino and Latin American Film and Literature3
    REL 339History of Religion in America3
    THR 327African-American Theatre and Drama3
    THR 380Popular Culture: _____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 (3)
    Select one of the following from AAAS, AMS, ENGL, or HIST at the junior/senior level (300+):3
    The Black Experience in the U.S. Since Emancipation
    The Afro-American Family: A Psychological Approach
    Topics and Problems in African and African-American Studies
    American Racial and Ethnic Relations
    Global Ethnic and Racial Relations
    Jewish American Literature and Culture
    Introduction to U.S. Latino/a Literature
    Introduction to African-American Literature
    Introduction to Caribbean Literature
    American Indian Literature: _____
    Indigenous Peoples of North America
    Slavery in the New World
    The Contemporary Afro-American Experience
    Race and Ethnicity Group B (3)
    Select one of the following from ANTH, PSYC, or SOC at the junior/senior level (300+):3
    Introduction to Cultural Anthropology
    The Varieties of Human Experience
    Cultural Diversity in the United States
    Stereotyping and Prejudice Across Cultures
    Urban Sociology
    American Racial and Ethnic Relations
    Global Ethnic and Racial Relations
    Ethnicity in the United States: _____
    Race and Ethnicity Required Electives (0)
    Satisifed 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. Satisifed 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 580American Art3
    AAAS 585Race and the American Theatre3
    AAAS 611History of the Black Power Movement3
    ANTH 301Anthropology Through Films3
    HA 370American Art3
    HA 525Aegean Archaeology and Art3
    HA 581American Art to 1860: Inventing a Nation3
    HA 582American Art 1860-1900: Gilded Age3
    FMS 310History of the Silent Film3
    FMS 311History of the American Sound Film3
    FMS 314History of African-American Images in Film3
    FMS 317Race and the American Documentary3
    FMS 380American Popular Culture of: _____3
    FMS 414Kansas Art, History, and Popular Culture3
    MUSC 303The Film Musical3
    THR 327African-American Theatre and Drama3
    THR 380Popular Culture: _____3
    THR 528History of U.S. Theatre and Drama3
  • Local and Global. Majors must complete the following:

    Local and Global Group A (3)
    Satisfied by 1 of the following courses from AMS, ENGL, HIST, GEOG, SOC at the junior/senior level (300+):3
    Global Ethnic and Racial Relations
    Introduction to Caribbean Literature
    Readings in the Holocaust
    Physical Geography of Africa
    East Asia
    Geography of Latin America
    Central American Peoples and Lands
    Modern Africa
    Atlantic Societies, 1450-1800: A Comparative History of European Colonization
    The Holocaust in History
    The Korean War, 1950-1953
    Invention of the Tropics
    Tequila, Tango, Carnival, City
    From Mao to Now: China's Red Revolution
    Introduction to History of Japan: Anime to Zen
    Slavery in the New World
    Ethnicity in the United States: _____
    Cross-Cultural Sociology
    Local and Global Group B (3)
    Satisifed by 1 of the following courses from EALC, LAA, AAAS at the junior/senior level (300+):3
    Asian Literature in Translation: _____
    Asian Theatre and Performance
    Cultural History of Korea
    Topics in East Asian Languages and Cultures: _____
    Indigenous Traditions of Latin America
    Race, Gender, Ethnicity, and Nationalism in Latin America
    U.S. Latino and Latin American Film and Literature
    Contemporary Haiti
    African Studies In: _____
    Islamic Literature
    Islam
    Local and Global Required Electives (0)
    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 344Case Study in American Studies: _____3
    EALC 365Japanese People through Films3
    EALC 565Popular Images in Japanese Culture, Literatures, and Films3
    ENGL 325Recent Popular Literature3
    ENGL 506Science Fiction3
    HIST 310American Culture, 1600-18763
    HIST 312American Culture, 1877 to the Present3
    HIST 313Conspiracies and Paranoia in American History3
    HIST 470Popular Culture in Latin America and Africa3
    FMS 380American Popular Culture of: _____3
    MUSC 299American Popular Song3
    MUSC 303The Film Musical3
    SOC 364Society, Popular Culture, and the Media3
    SOC 365Society, Popular Culture, and the Media, Honors3
    SOC 629Sociology of Sport3
    SOC 634The Sociology of Culture3
    THR 327African-American Theatre and Drama3
    THR 380Popular Culture: _____3
    WGSS 513Modern American Women in Film and Literature3
  • 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 650Jazz and American Culture3
    AMS 652Jazz I, Roots to 19553
    AMS 653Jazz II, 1955-Present3
    AMS 680Jazz Autobiography3
    AMS 682Jazz Narratives in Novels and Films3
    MUSC 298Introduction to Jazz3
    MUSC 299American Popular Song3
    MUSC 300Jazz Styles, 1920-19803
  • 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 511History of American Women--1870 to Present3
    ANTH 359Anthropology of Sex3
    HIST 531History of American Women--1870 to Present3
    PHIL 504Philosophy of Sex and Love3
    PSYC 410Intimate Relationships3
    REL 374Religious Perspectives on Selfhood and Sexuality3
    SOC 522American Racial and Ethnic Relations3
    SOC 352Sociology of Sex Roles3
    SOC 617Women and Health Care3
    WGSS 333The Politics of Physical Appearance3
    WGSS 440Communication and Gender3
    WGSS 468Psychology of Women3
    WGSS 562Women and Politics3
    WGSS 563Gender, Sexuality and the Law3
    WGSS 653Gender, War, and Peace3
    WGSS 660Human Reproduction: Culture, Power, and Politics3
  • Religion. Satisfied by 4 courses from at least 2 departments, 3 of which are at the 300+ level (possible key words: American religion):

    AAAS 300African Traditional Religion and Thought3
    AAAS 522African and African-American Religion:_____3
    AMS 290Religion in American Society3
    ANTH 484Magic, Science, and Religion3
    ANTH 666Anthropology of Religion3
    HIST 360Science and Religion3
    HIST 373The Supreme Court and Religious Issues in the United States3
    PHIL 350Philosophical Issues in Religion3
    PSYC 581Psychology of Religion3
    REL 330Native American Religions3
    REL 339History of Religion in America3
    REL 671American Communes3
    SOC 626Religion and Society3

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

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.

A sample 4-year plan for the BA degree in American Studies can be found here: American Studies, or by using the left-side navigation.

A sample 4-year plan for the BGS degree in American Studies can by found by using the left-side navigation.

Departmental Honors

An honors program allows seniors with overall grade-point averages of 3.25 to do independent work under faculty direction toward completion of an honors thesis. Enrollment in AMS 553 is required. By special arrangement, students may design independent study programs to meet concentration requirements. Graduation with honors is awarded to students who meet College honors requirements, which, in addition to the above overall KU GPA and course requirements includes a major GPA of 3.5.