Requirements of the Major

The American Studies Program offers one of the most flexible majors in the College, enabling students to pursue innovative research that crosses disciplinary boundaries. Unlike other majors at Georgetown, American Studies takes 6 semesters to complete. This means that students begin their coursework for the major in the fall of their sophomore year. This early start helps to build an intellectual community among majors and prepares students for a year-long senior thesis project—two unique and important aspects of the American Studies major. To complete the major, students will take the following required and elective courses:

Note: Effective Fall 2023, all main campus courses have been renumbered using a new 4-digit numbering system.

The American Studies major consists of 14 courses:

Sophomore year, two core courses:

These foundational courses foster a common language and set of methodological approaches to interdisciplinary work.  Students engage critically with a variety of texts that expose cultural dispositions towards race, religion, gender, class, and diversity throughout various periods of American history.

Junior year, two core courses:

Junior core courses are designed by American Studies core faculty to allow juniors to continie learning about the field of American Studies in more specialized wars. In these courses juniors will have the opportunity to do assignments that will help prepare for the development of a senior thesis proposal. Examples include AMST 3027: Workers in the American Food System, AMST 3073: Crime & Punishment in America, ENGL 4110: US Culture: The Depression Era, AMST 3074: Women, Domesticity & American Culture, and MUSC 1170: Rock History.

Senior year, two core courses:

During this year-long sequence, students develop expertise that complements the broad and interdisciplinary approaches of the major. They hone their skills in project and time management; design a research project; collect and analyze primary and secondary sources; and build confidence as they articulate and present their conclusions.  Students may write an original essay of approximately 60-80 pages, or they may present their research in an alternative form, such as a short documentary film, website, or a digital story. This process of producing a substantive piece of scholarship helps students prepare to move from college to the professional world.

At any time during the three-year major:

2 American history courses: 
History courses help students develop an understanding of how social, economic, and political forces have shaped ideas, conflicts, policies, and everyday life in the U.S. over time. We recommend filling this requirement with HIST 1801: U.S. History Until 1865 and HIST 1802: U.S. History Since 1865, but students may choose from other pre-approved alternatives that are provided by the program each semester. Examples include: HIST 1501: The Americas, HIST 2815: Black History & Culture, and HIST 4812: Genealogy and U.S. History. We encourage students to choose one history course that covers pre-1865 and one that covers post-1865 America. We recommend that students fulfill the history requirement during their first or second year of undergraduate study.

6 electives chosen from an extensive list provided each semester, with courses from art history, American history, literature and media studies, sociology, and other fields

Electives enable students to explore American cultures in both deep and wide ways. Students are encouraged to select electives intentionally, with an eye to developing significant knowledge of a central theme, cultural form, or period. This can help students prepare for the senior thesis as well as for future careers.

One elective can be taken prior to beginning AMST 2003 in the Fall of sophomore year. Five must be taken concurrently with or after AMST 2003.

A Note on Reserved Seats for American Studies Majors
Live registration no longer allows students to prioritize certain classes, but we have reserved seats for declared American Studies majors in our junior-level core classes. If you have not declared American Studies prior to registering for your junior year classes, you will not be able to access these seats.