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American Studies

College of Liberal Arts

CSULB students walk on campus

American Studies - Programs

Bachelor of Arts in American Studies (code AMSTBA01) (120 units)

American Studies is an interdisciplinary study of American culture. The American Studies Program offers a major leading to the bachelor’s degree and a minor. The program also offers a variety of general education and interdisciplinary courses. Most students majoring or minoring in American Studies are interested in both (1) studying American culture as a whole from several disciplinary perspectives and (2) studying in depth a problem or theme according to individual choice. Reflecting these two interests, the major consists of a 5-course core sequence and a 7-course elective pattern that centers on one theme or problem.

The American Studies Program is governed by a committee of faculty from various departments and schools who also serve as advisors. Students majoring in American Studies confer with the program director to plan their programs, which are recorded on official advising forms.

In addition to providing a broad liberal education focusing on American culture, traditions and institutions, the major in American Studies offers a useful background for careers in law, journalism, public service, government, business and teaching. The program also provides the foundation for graduate work in American Studies and related fields.

In preparation for the upper division major in American Studies, students are expected to have completed lower division courses appropriate as background to the study of American culture. Students planning to major in American Studies should consult the program director early in their academic careers for general education and preparatory course recommendations and for teaching credential information.


A minimum of 36 units distributed as follows:

Core courses (21 units): AMST 300, 350I, 498 plus 6 additional units in AMST-designated courses. Students also need to take 3 units in American Cultural History (chosen from HIST 477A and 477B) and 3 units in American Literature (chosen from ENGL 375 and 372I).

Elective pattern (15 units): Students choose a five-course elective pattern in consultation with the program advisor in one of the following areas of concentration: (A) American Institutions, Ideas, and Experiences; (B) Diversity and Difference; (C) Popular Culture, Media, and Consumerism; (D) Public Culture and Civic Engagement; (E) Student Designed Area of Concentration. No more than two courses in this elective pattern can come from any one academic department.

Minor in American Studies (code AMSTUM01)

Minimum of 18 units consisting of AMST 300, AMST350I, HIST477A or HIST477B, and 9 more units chosen in consultation with the faculty advisor.