American Studies


Bachelor of Arts | College of Arts and Science

What is American Studies?

American Studies is the study of many cultures that come together in the United States. Teaching and research focus on America as a nation and an ideal. Drawing from a range of disciplines and approaches, you can study issues of political, social, and regional identity, cultural diversity, and national character, as well as public and popular culture as they have evolved from the colonial period to the present.

The American Studies major offers flexibility balanced with structure. You can create a course of study that suits your particular interests and goals. You can explore how you are shaped by American culture as well as how you can shape that culture. As an American Studies major, you benefit from small classes, close interaction with faculty, and individualized mentoring. The major fosters analytical thinking, good writing, and articulate presentation—skills that are essential for success at Miami and beyond.

What are the features of Miami’s program?

Top ranking

Established as a major in 1944, American Studies is one of the oldest existing interdisciplinary programs at Miami. The program was recently one of the 25 humanities departments across the nation to be awarded an NEH Humanities Focus Grant. It has also received a Program Excellence Award from the Office of the Provost at Miami University.

Diverse courses

With 10 core faculty members and 15 affiliated faculty members representing a range of disciplines from anthropology, architecture, communication, English, history, music, political science, religion, and theater, the program offers an array of courses. Students work closely with faculty members to develop their own intellectual focus.

Practical experience

The American Studies program is affiliated with a number of local, regional, and national institutions that offer opportunities for internships, including the McGuffey Museum, the Oxford Museum Association, the Butler County Historical Society, the Cincinnati Historical Society, Colonial Williamsburg, and the Smithsonian Institution. Students can sign up for an internship with a local or regional institution during the academic year or they can participate with national internship programs for credit during the summer sessions.

What are the special admission requirements, if any?

There are no additional admission requirements for this program.

What courses would I take?

Many students begin by taking AMS 205, Introduction to American Cultures, which is also a Miami Plan Foundation Class. AMS majors take 5 core courses and 18 hours of courses in their chosen area of concentration. The American Studies curriculum provides a critical perspective on "American" culture from a variety of vantage points, including global perspectives. Students are encouraged to make connections between a range of disciplinary fields including art, anthropology, architecture, communication, comparative religion, economics, English, geography, history, music, philosophy, political science, sociology, and theater.

In addition, students have the opportunity to explore alternative interdisciplinary approaches to American culture in global context including African American studies, Asian American studies, ethnic studies, film and media studies, gay and lesbian studies, gender studies, Latino/a studies, Native American Studies, material culture studies, popular culture studies, and urban studies.

American Studies majors with a 3.5 grade point average in their major may also undertake a research project in consultation with an American Studies adviser to receive departmental honors. Students work one-on-one with an adviser to develop and present independent research related to a topic of their choice.

What can I do with this major?

Graduate schools and employers consistently seek college graduates who can think critically and communicate effectively. A major in American Studies prepares you for many different fields and careers. Recent students have been accepted into graduate programs at Duke, Carnegie Melon, NYU, and Virginia. American Studies majors at Miami have gone on to careers in law, journalism, business, teaching, and the public sector.

Who can I contact for more information?

American Studies Program
Sandra Garner, Coordinator and CDA
127 MacMillan Hall
Oxford, OH 45056