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Undergraduate Catalog 2016-2017

American Studies (AMST)

College of Arts and Humanities
1328 Tawes Hall, 301-405-1354
Chair: P. Williams-Forson
Professors: J. Paoletti, N. Struna, J. Wong
Associate Professors: J. Farman, C. Hanhardt (Grad Prog Dir), N. Mirabal, S. Parks, M. Sies (Undergrad Prog Dir), P. Williams-Forson
Assistant Professors: L. Bruce, P. Guerrero, J. Padios
Instructors: M. Arnoldi (Res Assoc), M. Momaya, M. Salazar-Porzio
Lecturers: A. Ali, R. Chester, L. Gordon, C. LaRoche, S. Pramschufer
Affiliate Professors: J. Auerbach, I. Berlin (Dist Univ Prof), A. Bolles, A. Cabrera, C. Caramello, W. Cohen, B. Dill (Dean), J. Donawerth, W. Falk, M. Feldstein, J. Freidenberg, J. Greene, R. Grimm, R. Harrison, M. Howland, S. Kim, K. King, J. Klumpp, M. Leone, R. Levine, D. Linebaugh, S. Michel, B. Pearson, J. Quintero-Herencia, S. Ray, B. Richardson, G. Ritzer (Dist Univ Prof), D. Rosenfelt, P. Shackel, B. Shneiderman (Dist Univ Prof), S. Simpson, M. Smith, N. Stromquist, O. Wang, M. Washington, D. Wyatt, R. Zambrana, M. Zilfi
Affiliate Associate Professors: R. Ater, S. Barkin, E. Barkley Brown, R. Bauer, M. Bell, C. Eades, D. Freund, M. Geores, S. Giovacchini, I. Gournay, M. Graber, S. Harley, M. Kirschenbaum, M. Lindemann, S. Madhavan, R. Muncy, Z. Nunes, R. Ontiveros, J. Richardson, A. Rodriguez, L. Rowland, M. Rowley, D. Sicilia, J. Sullivan, O. Wang
Affiliate Assistant Professors: S. Balachandran Orihuela, F. Carpenter, A. Lothian, W. Lung Amam, V. MacDonald, P. Warfield
Adjunct Professors: B. Finn
Research Professor: J. Maffie
Professors Emeriti: J. Caughey (Prof Emeritus), R. Kelly (Prof Emeritus), M. Lounsbury (Assoc Prof Emeritus), L. Mintz (Assoc Prof Emeritus)

The Major

American Studies provides students with a flexible, coherent, and interdisciplinary program of study.  We focus on the cultures of everyday lives and cultural constructions of identity and difference in Americans' lives, past and present, in a transnational and global framework.  The B. A. degree prepares students for graduate work or careers in fields such as law, government and social policy, media, non-profit and social justice organizations, cultural institutions, education, and business.   The department provides opportunities for internships, research, study abroad, and departmental honors. Each student meets every semester with a faculty advisor to plan an individualized course of study tailored to each student's interests and goals. American studies is a small department with a friendly atmosphere, faculty dedicated to teaching, and an excellent national academic reputation.  Courses offered by the Department of American Studies may be found under the acronym AMST.

Program Learning Outcomes

Students are expected to engage fully with the curriculum, faculty, their fellow students, and the opportunities available for learning and research. Upon completion of the degree program, students will have demonstrated an understanding of multiple dimensions of diversity, possess the ability to answer research questions by using appropriate American Studies methodologies, and have acquired the following knowledge and skills: 

  • Understanding and applying interdisciplinary theories and methods.
  • Understanding American Studies as a field, including current and emerging issues.
  • Understanding of cultural literacy, including visual, textual and cybercultural literacies.
  • Understanding the political and historical dimensions of culture.
  • Understanding the importance of cultural diversity in American society.
  • An ability to connect classroom and extracurricular learning in fostering active, engaged citizenship.

Admission to the Major

Students interested in declaring the American Studies major should make an appointment with the Undergraduate Program Director.

Requirements for the Major

The major in American Studies requires a minimum of 42 credits distributed as follows:

  • AMST101 (required of all majors) - 3 credits
  • One AMST lower level course, e.g. AMST202, 203, 204, 205, 207, 212, 260, 298 - 3 credits
  • Two Americanist Foundation courses from a list of approved choices. Americanist Foundation courses are lower level courses in departments such as AASP, ARTH, ENGL, HIST, SOCY, and WMST. (The current list of courses approved for the requirement is posted on the department's web site: www.amst.umd.edu) - 6 credits

Some or all of the 200-level courses may also fulfill General Education Requirements.

  • Four upper level AMST courses - 12 credits
  • AMST340 - History, Theory and Methods in American Studies (required) - 3 credits
  • AMST450 - Seminar in American Studies (required) - 3 credits

AMST340 and AMST450 constitute a sequence emphasizing independent research based on original sources and culminating in a senior thesis. AMST340 is a prerequisite for AMST450 and must be completed before enrollment in the senior seminar. The sequence is usually taken in the student's senior year.

  • A Focus Area consisting of four upper level courses in another department or university approved minor. (A list of suggested Focus Areas can be found on the department's web site: www.amst.umd.edu .) - 12 credits

At least twelve of the upper level credits must be at the 400-level. A grade of "C-" or better is required in every course submitted in fulfillment of major requirements. An overall GPA of 2.0 in the major is required for graduation.

Total credits: 42

Requirements for the Minor

Minor in U.S. Latina/o Studies

College of Arts and Humanities
4114 Susquehanna, 301-405-1354

The minor, which requires a total of 15 credits, is intended for students who wish to develop a specialization in U.S. Latina/o Studies alongside their degree pursuits. It is optimal for students engaged in work with U.S. Latina/o communities in a variety of professions and academic fields including history, literature, education, urban studies and planning, health care, social services, business, government, public policy, among others.

Requirements (15 credits)

A. Two Lower-Level Foundation Courses (6 credits) - All students are required to take the two foundational courses:

USLT201 - U.S. Latina/o Studies I: An Historical Overview to 1960s
USLT202 - US. Latina/o Studies II: A Contemporary Overview, 1960s-Present.

B. One Upper-Level Course (3 credits)

All students are required to take the upper-level course: USLT 488/Senior Seminar in U.S.
Latina/o Studies

C. Two Upper Level Elective Courses (6 credits)

In addition to the three required foundational courses, students will select two elective courses in consultation with the USLT advisor.

The elective courses will come from two of the following categories: Humanities, Social Sciences, Languages, and Education.

For these electives, students can choose USLT498/Special Topics in U.S. Latina/o Studies and from a list of pre-approved courses offered through other departments or programs. Elective courses will explore the historical, cultural, political, economic, and sociological dimensions of U.S. Latina/o experiences. These courses will be approved by the faculty advisory committee. Additional courses that include comparative U.S. Latino content, such as in LASC or GVPT, would be eligible for inclusion in the minor with the approval of the USLT advisor.

No course grade below the grade of "C-" may count toward the minor. An overall GPA of 2.0 in the minor is required for graduation.

To make an appointment to explore or declare a minor, go to www.arhu.umd.edu/undergraduate/academics/minors


Advising in American Studies is mandatory every semester for all majors. Students pursuing the major should review the academic benchmarks established for this program. See: www.4yearplans.umd.edu. Students will be periodically reviewed to insure they are meeting benchmarks and progressing to the degree. Students who fall behind program benchmarks are subject to special advising requirements and other interventions.

Undergraduate Research Experiences

Majors in American Studies complete a research project for the senior seminars, AMST340 and 450. They are encouraged to gain additional research experience by working with individual faculty members and advanced graduate students or participating in one of the Department's Working Groups.  See the Department website for more information about research:  www.amst.umd.edu .


Juniors and seniors with a 2.5 GPA or better may apply 3 credits of internship (AMST386) to the 42 credits required for the major. Students must consult with a faculty advisor about a prospective internship prior to registration and complete and sign an internship contract.  All internships must have an approved academic component. For further information, contact the Undergraduate Studies Director.

Honors Program

The departmental honors program offers outstanding students an opportunity to add distinction to their academic records by undertaking an independent research project in an area of particular interest to them.

The program is intended to allow students preparing for graduate study or a professional career to apply and further develop their research, analytic, and writing skills in an independent project of their own design, in consultation with a faculty mentor. Students are encouraged to make use of the rich resources of the Washington-Baltimore area, including major research institutions such as the Smithsonian Institution, the Library of Congress, and the National Archives.

Students in the honors program take two honors-designated courses and two semesters of AMST388 Honors Thesis, a total of twelve credits. Students enrolled in honors are excused from AMST450 Senior Seminar.  These requirements fit within the 42 credits required to complete the major. Participation in honors does not require additional coursework beyond the required 42 credits.

Eligibility: Students must have at least a 3.0 cumulative GPA at the time of entry into the program, and must maintain a minimum 3.0 GPA overall to remain in good standing. To graduate with honors in American Studies, students must have a 3.0 cumulative GPA and a GPA of 3.2 or higher in their major coursework.

Application: Students who wish to pursue Honors work should contact the Director of Undergraduate Studies at (301) 405.1354 during their junior year to discuss the program and application procedures.

Scholarships and Financial Assistance

The department awards the David Ellis Memorial Scholarship annually.  For information and requirements, contact the American Studies office (301-405-1354).

In addition, the Office of Student Financial Aid (OFSA) administers all types of federal, state, and institutional financial assistance programs and, in cooperation with other University offices, participates in the awarding of scholarships to deserving students. For more information, visit: www.financialaid.umd.edu .

Awards and Recognition

The department recognizes outstanding accomplishments by undergraduates at its commencement ceremony.  Monetary prizes are awarded to the graduate with the highest cumulative GPA, to the author of the best Honors thesis, and to a graduate who has provided exceptional service to the campus or the community. The department also awards the Savneet Talwar Best Senior Paper Prize to an undergraduate who has authored an outstanding senior paper.

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