Planning Your Minor

How Do I Get Started?

In fact, you may have already started. That is, you may have already enrolled in one or more courses which you might be able to “grandfather” into the minor. See the list under Courses. We now offer an interdisciplinary "Introduction to American Studies" course (ENGL 2277), required for American Studies minors.

To officially register for the minor, E-mail the Assistant Program Director Lauren Crockett-Girard at

The Overall Plan

Like other minors, American Studies consists of six courses (18 or more credits). There are two required courses: 1) ENGL 2277, the Introduction to American Studies OR ENGL 2278,  American Culture: Engaging Difference and Justice  and 2) the senior seminar, taken in the fall or spring of senior year. Students cannot count both ENGL 2277 and ENGL 2278, but either may be taken to fulfill the intro course requirement. Five of the six courses counting toward the minor must come from departments outside your major, and from at least two different departments. Three of your five other courses leading up to the senior seminar must be clustered around a common theme in an area of concentration (see below), while the remaining course just must qualify for cross listing in American Studies. The courses listed on this website are merely a sample of offerings; in any given year there will be other courses offered by various departments that may qualify. You will need to have it approved by the director of American Studies.

Note: Only one course that satisfies a core requirement can be counted for the minor; in addition, if the senior seminar for your final year is offered by your major department, it can be counted for your minor, but not for your major as well.

Areas of Concentration

By your junior year, at the latest, you should start to select three courses from your total that can be clustered around a common theme, your area of concentration. Usually it means choosing one or two courses you’ve already taken, and then adding one or two to make a thematic concentration. These are the most common themes, which conform to the program's strengths:

  • Race and Ethnicity
  • Gender, Sexuality and culture
  • Cultures of Cities
  • Society and Subcultures
  • Popular Culture and Media
  • Law, Politics and Culture
  • America and the World

Many other areas of concentration are possible. If you want to pursue one that's not on the list above, you'll need to have it approved by Professor Christina Klein or Assistant Director Lauren Crockett-Girard.

Introduction to American Studies

Introduction to American Studies (ENGL 2277) offers an introduction to topics, approaches, and methods in the field of American Studies. Although you can take ENGL 2277 any time before the senior seminar (it's not a prerequisite for taking other courses in the minor), if you are considering registering for the minor you are strongly urged to take it as soon as is possible. Some seats will be set aside for American Studies minors; if you can't get into the course by registering online, you can secure them by permission of the instructor.

The Senior Seminar

In your senior year, you must enroll in the course designated as the American Studies Senior Seminar. The topic of the seminar, an interdisciplinary course housed in one of the major cooperating departments, varies every year. For the 2021-2022 academic year, the seminar will be offered in Spring 2022 and taught by Christina Klein of the English Department. The course is required for completion of the minor.

ENGL 5513: Senior Seminar: Transnational American Studies: The US and Asia (Spring 2022)
This seminar offers a deep dive into the transnational wing of American Studies. Instead of taking America’s borders as the limit of inquiry, we will explore the cultural history of America’s relationship with the world beyond its borders – specifically Asia – from the 18th century to the present. Our focus will be on the relationship between the material conditions of American and Asian life (political, military, economic, social) and the production of diverse forms of culture (household goods, dance, movies, performance, propaganda, etc.). The seminar culminates in a substantial research paper about a cultural artifact of your choosing.