Flexibility and choice lie at the heart of this major. All students take an introduction and two advanced courses that teach and apply its core interdisciplinary methods; other courses are selected from three out of four subject areas (literature, history, arts and humanities, social sciences). A pre-law background could be developed by emphasizing social sciences and history, or one might instead pursue literature, arts and media. Designing a small cluster of courses would allow the student to focus on politics, African American tradition, or women and the American experience. Often students transferring from another field or university find that substantial coursework will count toward the major.
Core skills developed while majoring in American Studies include:
- critical reading and writing, especially across boundaries of discipline and perspective
- digital scholarship
- speaking and discussion
- field observation and research
Internships and Research
Students majoring in American Studies are offered opportunities to apply their knowledge through internships, whether in a historical museum, non-profit organization, political or law office or business setting. Philadelphia and the Delaware Valley offer rich opportunities for work-place experience, as well as for original research and practice within other courses.