The American Studies Program at American University provides students with a unique learning experience in a diverse and intellectually stimulating environment. Committed to interdisciplinary learning, the program brings together faculty and students from many academic fields, including anthropology, art history, biology, education, environmental studies, history, literature, Jewish studies, North American studies, sociology and women's and gender studies. Using ideas from these and other disciplines, our courses examine the culture, values, institutions, and historical experiences of the diverse peoples who live and have lived in this place called "America."
Attuned to contested meanings of democracy and cultural citizenship in a globalized world, the American Studies Program draws on the resources of its extraordinary location in Washington, DC. With spectacles of nationalism at every turn, the city exemplifies a spirit and tradition of American exceptionalism. At the same time, the presence of foreign embassies and vibrant transnational communities evokes themes of migration, mixture, and cultural hybridity. Living and learning in a global city, students in the program explore the diverse forms in which national and transnational identities are presented in the culturally and socially dynamic settings that surround the university. Faculty take students on study-tours of Washington and adjacent sites, and many students become actively involved in community service organizations, recognizing that the nation’s capital is also a city marked by poverty and inequality and stratified along lines of race, class, gender, and sexuality. The program also helps students complement their education by applying for internships that fit their career goals, as well as to participate in study abroad programs that will allow them to experience another culture and examine American society from the outside-in.
The AMST-related courses and opportunities displayed on this site hint at the many areas of study open to an American Studies major or minor. Completing an American Studies degree prepares you to enter a range of graduate and professional programs, including law school. The skills acquired after finishing the degree are also useful for work in historic preservation, museums, civic institutions, non-profit organizations, activist groups, governmental bureaucracies, publishing, and a variety of cultural and artistic fields. Degree requirements coordinate with those in allied fields and offer interesting alternatives to undergraduate study as defined in traditional degree programs.