Since American Studies exists at the intersection of disciplines, the undergraduate major culminates with an interdisciplinary senior capstone project (AMST 49000). In their senior year, majors enrolled in AMST 49000 will develop a senior thesis or project on a subject of their choice. Ideally, this thesis or project will emerge from and provide the capstone to the student's self-directed area of concentration within American Studies. The senior thesis or project is intended to provide students with the opportunity to develop an extended analysis of a significant problem, and to shape the essay into a finished piece of scholarly work. AMST 490 is designed to give students a sense of competence and confidence in framing, exploring, and completing an explicitly interdisciplinary project.
AMST 49000 will be similar in format to undergraduate independent studies in CLA. Students will select individual project advisers on the basis of their academic interests and their familiarity with the faculty members. Individual project advisers should be familiar with the student and qualified to oversee and evaluate the student's senior thesis or project. Students in AMST 49000 will arrange to meet regularly with individual project advisers who will specify the precise requirements for the course. All project advisers and capstone projects must be approved by the Director of Undergraduate Studies before they can be applied toward the major.
Students in AMST 49000 will work with individual project advisers who will assign the final course grade upon completion of the capstone project or thesis. AMST 49000 may not be taken before students have completed the American Studies foundation requirements (AMST 20100 and AMST 30100) and most of their area of concentration classes. Although students will be strongly encouraged to fulfill their AMST 49000 requirement through the completion of a senior thesis or project, students may also substitute an additional AMST 30100 AND one additional elective from Requirement B in place of AMST 49000. The option to substitute coursework for the capstone will provide seniors who have difficulty identifying individual project advisers with an alternative path to graduation.