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 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, and 2) the senior seminar, taken in the fall of senior year. 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 the 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 Deanna Malvesti Danforth.

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 2019-2020 academic year, the seminar will be offered in Spring 2020 and taught by Christina Klein of the English Department. The course is required for completion of the minor; admissions will be by permission of the instructor or the director of the American Studies Program.

ENGL 551301: American Studies Senior Seminar: Visual & Material Culture (Spring 2020)

This course will examine selected subjects in American culture, with a focus on visual and material artifacts, including movies, photographs, painting, material objects, and museum exhibitions. It will culminate in a seminar paper, a substantial research project due at the end of the semester, on which students will work throughout the semester.