Requirements & Regulations for the American Studies Major

A concentration, consisting of four 201-level or above courses, is an individualized program, developed in consultation with an advisor, that explores in detail an aspect of the culture(s) and society of the United States. It may be built around a discipline such as history or literary criticism, or it may combine work across disciplines to constitute a field of study such as cultural studies, race and ethnicity, material/visual culture, or queer studies, or it may focus on a “problematic” such as ecology and culture or politics and culture. (Note that courses need not be cross-listed as AMST courses so long as they focus on the United States.) A single course may count both as part of the concentration and as a Comparative Americas course, if the nature of the concentration makes that appropriate. Similarly, the concentration may, with the advisor’s approval, include a course outside the Americas that is relevant to the specific concentration.

Electives may be chosen from among any 201-level or above courses in the Wesleyan curriculum that focus on American culture(s), not just from courses listed as AMST. Courses used to meet the Junior core, Concentration, and Senior requirements may not be counted among the electives. Studio and basic language courses do not count toward the major. In selecting electives, make certain the requirements specified below for Comparative Americas and pre-Twentieth Century are included either here or within your Concentration or Senior requirement. SENIOR REQUIREMENT: Majors must elect one senior seminar from among AMST seminars numbered 300 and above. Or they can substitute a senior essay (AMST 403 or 404) or senior honors thesis (AMST 409 and 410) for the senior requirement. Candidates for Honors must submit a senior honors thesis.

Pre-1900 Requirement
To ensure chronological breadth, majors must take at least one course, among concentration, electives and senior requirement categories, that focuses on American culture(s) in the period before 1900.

Hemispheric Americas and Transnational American Studies
Majors must integrate a hemispheric/transnational frame of reference into their major by taking two courses that build on the comparative foundation supplied by Colonialism and Its Consequences in the Americas (AMST200). Hemispheric Americas courses may be chosen from among Latin American Studies offerings, courses on Canadian or Caribbean cultures, and courses that treat the United States within a hemispheric context. Transnational American Studies courses may also be used to meet this requirement. Lists of Hemispheric Americas and Transnational American Studies courses offered each year are available on the AMST website. Courses used to meet this requirement may also, as appropriate, be counted toward concentration, elective, or senior seminar requirements. A senior essay or thesis that utilizes a hemispheric or transnational American studies approach may count toward this requirement. TRANSFER CREDITS: No more than 2 transfer credits (from study abroad or U.S. institutions) may be counted toward the major, except in the case transfer students. Courses should be approved in advance by the faculty advisor or department chair. GROUP TUTORIALS: Only one group tutorial may be counted toward the major. Group tutorial forms including a detailed syllabus must be submitted to the AMST office by the end of Add/Drop. Group tutorials are not student led courses; faculty tutors are responsible for content, instruction, and evaluation.

Student Forums
No student forum course may count toward the major, unless a special exemption is granted by the AMST curriculum committee. The content of proposed courses must fall clearly within American Studies, and the course shall not be less substantial and demanding than a regular course.