Franklin & Marshall College Franklin & Marshall College

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Curriculum Overview


American Studies is a major for students who want to carve out their own path in the eclectic terrain of American culture. Unlike traditional majors, American Studies asks students to combine and cross disciplines in their study of American culture, past and present. American Studies explores the core narratives of the United States as well as the diversity of American social and cultural life. The American Studies Department teaches students to read critically, to articulate ideas clearly, to conduct research and to write effectively. It expects students to develop these abilities within an interdisciplinary curricular framework that requires them to encounter diverse peoples, types of cultural expression and patterns of social interaction. Students are involved in research and internship opportunities in the local community as well as in more traditional scholarship. The American Studies Department is committed to the advancement of these goals through effective teaching and active scholarship by its faculty. American Studies prepares students for a wide range of careers, including education, museums, media and public relations.

A major in American Studies consists of 11 courses: AMS 100; three courses chosen from AMS 150, 203, 300, 320 and 330; AMS 350; AMS 489; five AMS courses or other courses from the approved list. Of these five courses, one must be in American arts and literature.

For the classes of 2017 and 2018 a major in American Studies consists of 11 courses: AMS 100, AMS 350 and AMS 489; one class in global AMS— either AMS 236 or AMS 305; a thematic concentration of three courses, to be approved by the student’s AMS adviser by the fall of the junior year; four AMS electives or other courses from the list of approved courses. Of these four electives, one course must be in American arts and literature and five courses in the major must be at or above the 300 level.

The writing requirement in the American Studies major is met by completion of the normal courses required to complete the major. Majors intending to enter graduate or professional studies should see the chairperson for particular courses necessary or desirable to prepare for advanced study. Other courses, such as foreign languages and/or quantitative skills, may be required for students wishing to pursue graduate work.

Majors in American Studies have studied in the following programs in recent years: Advanced Studies in England, Bath IFSA Butler University of Edinburgh; Internships in Francophone Europe; Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia; SIT Human Rights: Foundations, Challenges, and Advocacy; and SU Abroad Strasbourg, France; . See the International Programs section of the Catalog for further information.