College of Arts and Sciences
General Information  |  Academic Information  |  Departments and Programs  |  Faculty
Course Descriptions

American Studies Interdisciplinary Major


Overview The first goal for the small group of American Studies majors at the University of Virginia will be to realize a sense of intellectual community that enables its members, both students and faculty, to look beyond their personal interests as they pursue studies in common. A second, related goal will be for each student to demonstrate an ability to transcend disciplinary boundaries. Although we affirm the necessity and integrity of individual disciplines, we want our American Studies students to understand the assumptions and methods of several of them. Our third goal is to teach students to think of the United States as a country held together in argumentation about different stories of nationhood, as well as in discussion of ways in which these stories have been told. In working toward this last goal, the American Studies major encourages in its students a self-consciousness about their own theories and practices, a comparative perspective on national narratives as they have emerged over the last five centuries, and an aptitude for describing those narratives in different modes, whether written or electronic, verbal or nonverbal, visual or auditory.

Requirements for Major

  1. 30 hours
  2. 10 courses
  3. AMST 201 (Major Texts in American Studies) recommended but not required
  4. AMST 301-302 (Introduction to the American Studies Major)
  5. AMST 401 (Fourth-Year Seminar in American Studies)
  6. Seven additional courses from the list of 180 courses available from the Director of American Studies. These courses represent Afro-American Studies, Anthropology, Architectural History, Art, Economics, English, Environmental Sciences, Drama, Government, History, Music, Philosophy, Psychology, Religious Studies, Sociology, Studies in Women and Gender, and Technology, Culture and Communication. Each student will design a program of courses in consultation with the Director.
  7. General guideline for these seven courses: a minimum of at least three (3) courses in a single department and courses in at least three (3) departments. Of these seven additional courses, at least four (4) must be at the 300-level or above.
  8. GPA Info: In order to graduate with an American Studies major, a student must have taken AMST 301 and 302 and earned a grade of C or better in each course. Majors must have at least a 2.0 grade point average in American Studies approved courses to complete the major.

Sample program:

Second year AMST 201
Third year AMST 301-302


ARTH 258 (American Art)
  ECON 206 (American Economic History)


ENAM 315 (American Renaissance)
  DRAM 360 (Modern American Theatre and Drama)
Fourth year AMST 401


GFAP 331 (American Presidency)
  ARTH 280 (Art since 1945)


HIUS 317 (United States Society and Politics, 1945-1990)
  ARTH 358 (Material Life in Early America)

(This student has taken the required AMST courses; three courses in Art History; and five other courses in five departments, one more than he or she actually needs.)

Additional Information For more information about American Studies, please call the Director at 924-6676 or write americanstudies@virginia.edu.

Course Descriptions


AMST 201 - (3) (IR)
Major Works for American Studies

A small lecture course enrolling between 35 and 60 students, AMST 201 offers students significant texts or works of American culture, texts or works that are printed, graphic, artifactual, material or oral. Although one faculty member will teach the course, guest lecturers from various disciplines may contribute as well. The goal of this course is to show students what kinds of insights and syntheses result from juxtaposing works across disciplinary boundaries and from different methodological perspectives.

AMST 301,302 - (3) (Y)
Introduction to the American Studies Major

A year-long sequence of two small seminars, this course will introduce majors both to the history of American Studies and to various theories and methods for the practice of American Studies. The three goals of these seminars are (1) to make students aware of their own interpretive practices; (2) to equip them with information and conceptual tools they will need for advanced work in American Studies; and (3) to provide them comparative approaches to the study of various aspects of the United States.

AMST 401 - (3) (Y)
Fourth-Year Seminar in American Studies

This seminar is intended to focus study, research, and discussion on a single period, topic, or issue, such as the Great Awakening, the Civil War, the Harlem Renaissance, the Great Depression, or the 1960s.

Undergraduate Record Home  |  College of Arts & Sciences