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Group Major in American Studies
Established in fall 1993, the American studies major offers students the opportunity to study American society using a broad range of methods drawn from a variety of disciplines in the College of Letters and Science and the professional schools and colleges. "American society" refers primarily to the geographical regions of the United States, from pre-colonial times to the contemporary period, but recognizes that political, cultural, and economic patterns do not stop at national borders. Therefore, American studies courses will attempt to see this region within larger world systems, taking into account how the cultures of America have been continually reshaped by movements of people, commerce, and ideas which cross borders. As an interdisciplinary program, American studies draws on faculty resources and research in literature, history, economics, architecture, material culture, media studies, ethnic studies, and urban and regional studies.
Prerequisites to the Major. In order to declare the major, students must complete two of the four lower division requirements before their Petition to Declare can be accepted.
Lower Division Requirements. A minimum grade of "C" is required in all lower division courses taken for the major. Lower division requirements consist of American Studies 10, Introduction to American Studies (4 units), plus three courses from the following list of courses, with no more than two courses from any one department.
Note: This list is subject to annual review and revision. New courses, particularly those that fulfill the American Cultures requirement, can be substituted for those on the list with adviser approval. Transfer students should check with an AS adviser to have their lower division courses approved to fulfill this requirement.
Lower Division Course List:
African American Studies 5A, 5B, 27AC, 28AC; Agricultural and Resource Economics 1; American Studies 39; Anthropology 2, 2AC, 3AC; Art 8, 23AC; Asian American Studies 2A, 2B, 20A, 20B; UGBA 10, 39AC; Chicano Studies 20, 40, 50, 70; Comparative Literature 60AC; Education 40AC, 75AC; English 31AC; Environmental Design 1, 4; Environmental Economics and Policy 1; ESPM 10, 11, 50AC, 60; Environmental Sciences 10; Ethnic Studies 10AC, 21AC, 41AC; Film and Media 25A, 25B; Gender and Women's Studies 14, 20, 20W, 23AC, 50AC; Geography 20, 50AC, 70AC; History 7A, 7B, 16AC, 30B; ISF 60, 61; LGBT 20AC; Letters and Science 40B; Linguistics 55AC; Media Studies 10; Music 26AC; Native American Studies 20A, 20B, 71, 72, 90; Political Science 1, 1AC, 60AC; Psychology 14; Public Health 14; Rhetoric 41AC, 42AC; Sociology 1, 3AC, 5; Theater, Dance, and Performance Studies 25AC, 26, 52AC.
Upper Division Requirements. 30-36 units distributed among the following:
(1) Core Methods Courses. (8 units) Students are required to take one course each from the two methods series, "Examining U.S. Cultures in Time" and "Examining U.S. Cultures in Place." See department listings for available courses every semester.
(2) Area of Concentration. At least 20 units of upper division coursework drawn from the College of Letters and Science and the professional schools and colleges, in the student's individually articulated area of concentration. Areas of concentration may be highly individualized, depending on the student's intellectual focus, prior preparation, and the availability of courses. Therefore, students planning to declare the major should meet with a faculty adviser early in their junior year, at the latest, to plan their upper division program. Subsequently, this program can be revised only with the approval of the faculty adviser.
(3) Thesis Requirement. All majors are required to satisfy a senior thesis requirement in American Studies in which they write a substantial research paper.
(4) Historical Requirement. One of the courses taken to complete the American studies major (either upper or lower division) must focus on U.S. history, culture, and/or politics before 1900. Students should check with an American studies student affairs officer to ensure that the course they take meets this requirement.
Honors Program. Students who wish to be eligible to graduate with honors must enroll in American Studies H195. For admission to H195, students must have senior standing, an overall GPA of 3.51, and a GPA of 3.65 in the major.
For further information, please contact the student affairs officer at 231 Evans Hall, (510) 642-9320.
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