BA in American Studies

American Studies student speaking from her desk in a class

The Bachelor of Arts in American Studies explores an array of topics ranging from music, advertising and film to government policy, science and religion.

Majors also complete elective courses and small, discussion-oriented seminars, culminating in a final senior research project on a topic of their choosing.

Undergraduate Research

The sign outside the Smithsonian Center for folklore & cultural heritage

American Studies majors must complete a senior seminar course, AMST 4500, during which they produce a substantial capstone paper based on independent, primary-source research. Recent graduates have examined the racial politics of contemporary hip-hop, the political fight against "Donʼt Ask, Donʼt Tell" and the sustainable food movement in the American Christian community. Note: This seminar is offered only in the fall semester. Students planning to study abroad in the fall of their senior year should take the course in their junior year.

Students also may enroll in an undergraduate research course, AMST 4400, to pursue research interests of their own. In this course, students are supervised by our faculty who have ample research experience of their own.

Questions? Contact the Director of Undergraduate Studies. 

Undergraduate Departmental Honors

Two students in an American Studies classroom

Graduating majors may be awarded special honors in American Studies. Majors must receive a grade of A on the senior research essay written for AMST 4500W, maintain a GPA of 3.7 or higher in the major and meet GW’s special honors requirements.

Course Requirements

The following requirements must be fulfilled:

The general requirements stated under Columbian College of Arts and Sciences, Undergraduate Programs.

The program-specific curriculum.

AMST 2010Early American Cultural History
AMST 2011Modern American Cultural History
AMST 3900Critiquing Culture
AMST 3901Examining America
AMST 4500WProseminar in American Studies
Five courses (15 credits) selected from the following. No more than two of these courses may be at the 1000 level.
AMST 1000Dean's Seminar
AMST 1050Explorations in American Culture
AMST 1070The American Cinema
AMST 1100Politics and Film
AMST 1160Race, Gender, and Law
AMST 1200The Sixties in America
AMST 2000Sophomore Colloquium
AMST 2020Washington, DC: History, Culture, and Politics
or AMST 2020W Washington, DC: History, Culture, and Politics
AMST 2071Introduction to the Arts in America
AMST 2120WFreedom in American Thought and Popular Culture
AMST 2125Varieties of Feminist Theory
AMST 2144Explorations in Historical Geography
AMST 2210The African American Experience
AMST 2320U.S. Media and Cultural History
AMST 2350U.S. Religion and Politics
AMST 2380Sexuality in U.S. History
AMST 2385Sex and Citizenship
or AMST 2385W Sex and Citizenship
AMST 2410Modern U.S. Immigration
or AMST 2410W Modern U.S. Immigration
AMST 2430Capitalism and Culture
AMST 2440The American City
or AMST 2440W The American City
AMST 2490Themes in U.S. Cultural History
or AMST 2490W Themes in U.S. Cultural History
AMST 2495Special Topics in African American History
AMST 2520American Architecture I
AMST 2521American Architecture II
AMST 2533Material Culture in America
AMST 2600U.S. Popular Music and Culture
AMST 2610Science, Technology, and Politics in Modern America
or AMST 2610W Science, Technology, and Politics in Modern America
AMST 2620Human Mind and Artificial Intelligence
AMST 2630Discovering the Mind
AMST 2680WHashtag America
AMST 2710The United States in the World
AMST 2730World War II in History and Memory
or AMST 2730W World War II in History and Memory
AMST 2750WLatinos in the United States
AMST 3324U.S. Urban History
AMST 3351U.S. Social History
AMST 3352U.S. Women's History to 1865
or AMST 3352W U.S. Women's History to 1865
AMST 3353U.S. Women's History II
AMST 3360African American History to 1865
AMST 3361African American History Since 1865
AMST 3362African American Women's History
or AMST 3362W African American Women's History
AMST 3367The American Jewish Experience
AMST 3600Popular Music and Politics
AMST 3625Ethnographic and Historical Perspectives on Data Ethics
AMST 3810Planning Cities
AMST 3811Historical Archaeology
AMST 3835Historical Archaeology Field Program
AMST 3950Special Topics
or AMST 3950W Special Topics
AMST 4701WEpidemics in American History
AMST 4702WRace, Medicine, and Public Health