Welcome to American Studies, undergraduates! We are one of the best majors at KU for those students seeking a critically engaged and socially relevant area studies program. As an interdisciplinary department, we take an integrative approach to the study of the United States in relationship to the broader world, using history, literature, philosophy, popular culture, psychology, religion and sociology. In our department, undergraduates study hipsters to hip hop, old and new media, labor movements and changing work habits, popular media and music as an expression of American identity, local communities and globalization, social justice movements and changing cultural mores in American politics on race, gender, religion and sexuality covering the gamut from conservatives to left wingers. Our aim as an interdisciplinary department is not to indoctrinate students. It is our goal to teach you to use analytical tools for understanding our country and world and assist you in articulating your vision of leadership in it.
Our department welcomes all undergraduate students, but we are particularly interested in those who are creative and wish to have a strong intellectual foundation and be civically engaged. I am fond of saying; AMS majors love to mix and re-mix about the American experience! Here are some of the creative projects students have done over the years—a study of Asian restaurants in Lawrence that asks whether there such thing as being Pan-Asian, jazz saxophonist John Coltrane and his religious impact through his recording "A Love Supreme," employee-based Child Care and the ideology of child care, and how political conventions market themselves. If you are one of these creative students who love mixing and re-mixing questions, then American Studies is the department you to need to call home.
The American Studies Department offers both Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) and Bachelor of General Studies (B.G.S.) degrees. Both degrees require a generous sampling of courses in the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences. Most majors in the department are working toward earning a B.A.
Requirements and Courses
American Studies requires prospective majors to have a cumulative GPA of 2.75 in ENGL 102, AMS 100 and AMS 110
When you have completed all three courses you may apply online to be an AMS program. Upon applications you will receive notice of an orientation with your cohort of new majors. If you have do not have the requisite 2.75 you may write a written petition directly to the undergraduate director. The petition should be a statement as to why you wish to be an AMS major and what is your academic plan of action for bettering your academic performance.
Visit the Course Offerings section to view this semester's undergraduate offerings. For a catalog of past courses and information on new or cross-listed courses, visit the Courses section of the website. For more information, visit the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences online Course Guide.
American Studies majors are encouraged to take a second major in a related field, such as History, English, Political Science, Sociology, Anthropology, Religion, African Studies, Economics, or Psychology. Because of the interdisciplinary nature of the American Studies major, a second major can be achieved reasonably within the usual four years of undergraduate study.
American Studies graduates have used their studies to prepare themselves for occupations in federal, state and local government, law, medicine, journalism, business, and education. Many also have entered graduate work in American Studies or in their areas of concentration. American Studies courses may be used to fulfill teaching certification requirements in the areas of history and social science. Consult an advisor for a listing of applicable courses.