Major Requirements

Total Units: 32 credits, at least 24 of which must be 300-level or above.

Requirements (Class of 2026 and beyond):

  • "Introductory Course" (3 credits), as designated by American Culture Studies, which recently have included AMCS 220 Topics in American Culture Studies: Introduction to American Culture Studies, AMCS 206 "Reading" Culture: The Cultural Lives of Things, and AMCS 202 The Immigrant Experience. See our Course Listings webpage for the full listing by semester.
  • Subject Focus Area Coursework (9 credits): 3 courses in a single Focus Area, 2 of which must be at the upper level.
  • Methods Focus Area Coursework (9 credits): 3 courses in a single Focus Area, 2 of which must be at the upper level.
  • Fieldwork (3 credits): Enrollment in an approved Fieldwork course "On Location: Exploring America," "The Race for Criticism: African American Culture and Its Critics," or "Fashioning America: A Cultural History of Fashion, Shopping, and Advertising."
  • AMCS 375A: "Methods and Visions" (3 credits): Must be at Junior standing to enroll in this Writing-Intensive methods seminar, which is offered each Fall semester
  • Senior Capstone Project (3 credits): a multidisciplinary project culminating the coursework in the Major (6 credits if the project is an honors thesis). See the Capstone page for additional information.
  • Two 1-credit workshops, L98 490A: Senior Workshop: Academic Citizenship and L98 490B: AMCS Senior Workshop: Connections and Explorations, taken in the senior fall and spring, respectively.
  • At least two (2) multidisciplinary (MD) courses, taken as part of the above major requirements and designated by AMCS . L98 375A and courses that count towards the Fieldwork requirement may not also count towards the MD requirement. Students are encouraged to take MD courses that connect to the subjects or issues in their focus areas. See the AMCS Course Listings for a complete list of general and MD courses that count toward the AMCS major.

AMCS gives majors considerable freedom in defining their course of study, allowing them to learn how cultural study is done in multiple fields and periods even as they define focus areas in ways that suit their specific interests. Pairing the AMCS major with a second major in a complementary discipline is an especially enriching model of cultural study, and AMCS will work closely with students to ensure that double-majoring works well.

Focus Areas

Focus areas are the locus of special strength and long-standing student interest in the AMCS curriculum. In general, they provide meaningful concentration for the students with regard to their interest in particular subjects and encourage them to be deliberate about their methods within AMCS or any complementary programs / departments.

Focus areas are designed to be flexible and to encompass a range of fields. Majors are welcome to propose new focus areas or to tailor an established one to suit their interests (for example, focusing their work in the "Race & Ethnicity" Subject Focus Area on the intersection of gender and race in the Civil Rights period).

To fulfill the requirement, students must take at least three courses, two of them above the 300-level, in their chosen Subject and Methods Focus areas.

AMCS currently has eleven established Focus Areas:

Subject Focus Areas

1.    Race & Ethnicity
2.    Gender & Sexuality
3.    Ability & the Body
4.    Place, Space, & the Environment
5.    Popular Culture
6.    Citizenship, Nationhood, & Identity

Methods Focus Areas

1.    Archives & Texts
2.    Audio, Visual, & Material Studies
3.    Journalism & Ethnography
4.    Law, Politics, & Policy Studies
5.    Digital Methods

Contact Dr. Karen Skinner with questions about AMCS courses.

Honors Thesis

Writing an AMCS honors thesis is one way to fulfill the capstone requirement; it allows students to complete an extended study of a cultural topic with the input of faculty from more than one discipline, and it provides both a support system and an audience of peers for that study. To qualify for honors thesis work, AMCS majors need to have met both the Capstone Project qualifications and also complete the following before proposing their Honors Thesis:

  • Earned an overall GPA of 3.65 at the start of Fall semester of Senior Year (and they must have a 3.65 or higher at the end of the Senior Year to maintain Latin Honors eligibility - for more on the Arts & Sciences policy, see appropriate Bulletin pages);
  • Completed AMCS 375A in their Junior Year. This course serves to solidify students' understanding of what it means to study culture and prepares them to design a multidisciplinary framework for their project, and is essential groundwork for a thesis-length project.