Frequently Asked Questions

About the Undergraduate Program in American Studies


Q: do you have to be an English Major in order to participate in this Program?

Not really. Usually 35%-60% of the students are English majors, with a strong component of History majors, and, over the years, majors from Religion, Anthropology, Art, Architecture, Government and even from some of the Sciences. For majors outside English and History, some negotiation between the major department and the American Studies Program is usually necessary, but these have always gone well and we anticipate no serious problems.

Q: What do you consider the strongest attributes of the program?

It has many but, year in and year out, two things stand out. First, the students themselves -- a varied group but invariably smart, interesting, capable people. Second, the synergy which the program creates between courses. In any one semester, the students' knowledge and power builds as they move from class; what they learn in ENAM 311 (American Literaturer to 1865)is carried into HIUS 357 (American Intellectual and Cultural History I)and then moved again into ENAM 483 (Introduction to American Studies), and then on again to a course in Anthropology, perhaps, or Music or Art of Government. And the same principle works through time, each semester adding incrementally to the knowledge and skill base a student brings to classes.

Q: What do American Studies students do after graduation?

They've gone on to further training in graduate school, occasionaly in English or History, but more usually in Law or Business or Medicine; and they've gone directly into business or public service -- in teaching, in publishing and public relations, in government service, in small business and large corporations. In short, they've gone all the usual places for which an excellent undergraduate humanities education is required.