Courses & Requirements

The requirements below apply to those students with a 2021-2022 catalog year. Students are required by college policy to follow the major (and minor) requirements found in the catalog in effect at the time they declared their first major. To find your catalog year, please visit your Grades and Academic Records found in myOxy and access the catalog that matches your catalog year.

American Studies

Overview

American Studies is the interdisciplinary exploration of American culture. Situated at the intersection of historical and cultural analyses, students in American Studies interrogate the multiple voices and visions that have shaped American culture both past and present, and analyze debates over the meaning of American identity and culture in the United States and in transnational contexts.

The courses in Oxy’s American studies major offer multiple perspectives on American culture, history, literature, arts, and American domestic and international politics. The curriculum draws upon courses in these subjects plus media arts and culture, psychology, religion, and more. Several American Studies courses are cross-listed with courses in Black Studies, East Asian Studies, Diplomacy & World Affairs, and Latino/a & Latin American Studies. We highly encourage our majors to apply for international and domestic off-campus study, and Oxy’s Los Angeles location offers myriad opportunities for community-based learning and community engagement.

The knowledge you will develop as an American studies major is not only an integral part of the education promised by the College's mission statement, but also prepares students for citizenship in American society and an increasingly globalized world. The major prepares you for a wide range of careers in business, education, law, media, entertainment, public affairs, and non-governmental organizations.

Major Requirements

The American Studies major consists of a minimum of 10 courses (40 units).  Students must complete three required courses: one introductory course in American Studies (AMST 101); a junior seminar in American Studies Theory and Methods (AMST 390); and the capstone senior seminar (AMST 490). In addition to these courses, students will take seven electives.  These will consist of two courses from each of the two thematic clusters ("cultural productions" and "historical perspectives"); and three additional electives.  Three of the seven electives must be 300-level courses.

REQUIRED COURSEWORK

Core Required Courses

All majors must take these three courses.

AMST 101Introduction to American Studies

4 units

AMST 390Theories and Methods of American Studies

4 units

AMST 490Senior Seminar

4 units

Please note: AMST 101 is a prerequisite for AMST 390 and AMST 490.

Cultural Productions

Students must select two courses from the list below:

AMST 215Discipline and Desire: The History of Sexuality in the United States

4 units

AMST 220Race, Gender, and Sexuality in American Film and Media

4 units

AMST 233American Queer Novel

4 units

AMST 260/LLAS 260United States Latino Literature and Cultural Studies

4 units

AMST 265/WRD 265Feminist Rhetorics and Social Change

4 units

AMST 270Asian American Literature

4 units

AMST 320Graphic Narratives: From Pulp Fiction to Comix Literature

4 units

AMST 335Queer of Color Critique

4 units

ENGL 289The American Experience in Literature

4 units

ENGL 346/BLST 34619th Century African American Literature

4 units

Students may also apply AMST 295 to the Cultural Productions cluster if they have enrolled in the "Dis/Ability and Care Cultures in the U.S." section of the course.

Historical Perspectives

Students must select two courses from the list below:

AMST 202/LLAS 202Latina/o Cultural and Intellectual History

4 units

AMST 242/BLST 242The Great Migration

4 units

AMST 256/BLST 256Race Women: African American Women's Protest Culture

4 units

AMST 268/BLST 268Style Politics: Beauty and Fashion in Black Women's History

4 units

AMST 272/EASN 272Asian Immigrants in American Society

4 units

AMST 280/DWA 246The United States and East Asia

4 units

AMST 376/BLST 376Slavery, Freedom, and American Memory

4 units

HIST 101United States Culture and Society I

4 units

HIST 102United States Culture and Society II

4 units

HIST 207/BLST 207African American History

4 units

HIST 309Slavery in the Antebellum South

4 units

Students may also apply AMST 295 to the Historical Perspectives cluster if they have enrolled in the "Origins of the New Right" section of the course.

Additional Electives

Students must take three additional elective chosen either from the list of approved electives below, or one of the thematic clusters above. 

AMST 200/POLS 200Democratic Socialism, American Style

4 units

AMST 295Topics in American Studies

4 units

AMST 332Psychic Life of Violence in the United States

4 units

ARTH 285Nineteenth Century Art: Culture, Politics, and National Identity

4 units

BLST 101Introduction to Black Studies

4 units

ENGL 142Joyful Noise! On Black Literature and Musicality

4 units

HIST 312/BLST 312Race, Rights, and Revolution in the Atlantic World

4 units

LLAS 385/PSYC 385Chicanx Identities and Social Institutions: Education, Health, Politics

4 units

POLS 208Movements for Social Justice

4 units

RELS 145Introduction to American Religion

4 units

RELS 245/BLST 245African American Religious Traditions

4 units

UEP 230Climate Justice: Theory and Practice

4 units

Second-Stage Writing Requirement

Students majoring in American Studies will satisfy the Second-Stage Writing Requirement by successfully completing the methodology research paper with a grade of B-. Should a student not successfully complete the requirement in AMST 390 during their junior year, they will be required to revise the essay until it meets the passing specifications, which must be done no later than the fourth week of their senior year fall semester.

Comprehensive Requirement

Students fulfill the Senior Comprehensive Requirement by successful completion of a paper and a presentation on a topic in the student's area of emphasis, as partial fulfillment of the requirements for the senior seminar (AMST 490).

College Honors

Students meeting college requirements for honors may apply for admission to the program by submitting a written proposal for an honors thesis by October 1 of their senior year. Those accepted may register for honors independent study (AMST 499) during the fall or spring semester of the senior year; the thesis should be completed no later than the beginning of April of the senior year.


Coursework

In general, it is expected that honors students will take both:
AMST 490Senior Seminar

4 units

AMST 499Honors

2 or 4 units

For further information see the Honors Program and the department chair.

Transfer Credit Policies

The American Studies Program accepts online courses for general elective credit, but will not accept online courses for major or minor credit. Students should reference the Transfer Credit section for more details.

Information that can be included in this section include:
  • specific policies for majors/minors
  • AP/IB Exam credit - course equivalencies?
  • Online courses
  • Policies specifically for matriculating frosh, transfer students, returning students after a leave of absence
Information that can be included in this section include:
  • specific policies for majors/minors
  • AP/IB Exam credit - course equivalencies?
  • Online courses
  • Policies specifically for matriculating frosh, transfer students, returning students after a leave of absence
Information that can be included in this section include:
  • specific policies for majors/minors
  • AP/IB Exam credit - course equivalencies?
  • Online courses
  • Policies specifically for matriculating frosh, transfer students, returning students after a leave of absence

Minor Requirements

The American Studies Minor consists of five courses for a total of 20 units.  AMST 101 is required along with one elective in the "Cultural Productions" category and one elective in the "Historical Perspectives" category and two additional electives from any category. 

Courses

American Studies Courses