American Studies

American Studies introduces students to the interdisciplinary study of America as a place, a political and social idea, a set of values and traditions, and a people. The major provides students with the opportunity to examine America through the diversity of its ideas, texts, objects, institutions, practices, and histories as well as the complex social and political relationships that have shaped and continue to shape the world to which they belong. The major in American Studies strives toward a balance of flexibility and structure. Students are allowed a great deal of freedom in their course selection within a basic framework of required course types and a declared area of concentration. The flexibility and small size of the major permits undergraduates to devise an interdisciplinary academic program best suited to their individual needs and academic interests. The American Studies major can often be completed with a second liberal arts major such as English, History, Sociology, or Political Science.

Points of Pride

  • Founded in 1964, Purdue’s American Studies program is one of the oldest in the country.  Graduates of the program currently teach at Harvard University, University of New Orleans, Sam Houston State University and University of Wisconsin-Platteville, among others.
  • With over 130 courses from which to choose, the American Studies major offers self-directed students the chance to integrate theories, practices, and content from over sixteen disciplines on the Purdue campus.
  • Thirty affiliated faculty members from over ten departments and programs share a focus and commitment to the American Studies program and its students.
  • Purdue American Studies has a strong international tie and focus: four current faculty have held Fulbright Scholarships and the program has an ongoing partnership with The American Studies program at East China Normal University in Shanghai, China
  • The American Studies program offers study across and between colleges.


  • Law
  • Journalism/Mass Communication
  • Teaching & Education
  • Marketing and Advertising
  • Community Service
  • Management
  • Public Policy
  • Material Culture, Museum and Archival Studies
  • Professional or Graduate School
  • Many other positions in business/management, not necessarily related to the major but based on graduate's global awareness and broad-based liberal arts skill set

Plan of Study

Students must earn a "C-" or better in a course in order for it to count towards the major.

Category: Courses

A. American Studies Foundation Courses(12)

AMST 20100 Introduction to American Studies (Variable Topic Course)
AMST 30100 Perspectives on America (Variable Topic/Title Course). May be repeated ONCE either in place of AMST 49000 or to help fulfill Requirement B.
AMST 49000 Interdisciplinary Senior Capstone Project in American Studies. The capstone requirement may also be fulfilled through an additional AMST 30100 plus one additional course from the courses listed below in Requirement B

B. Eighteen additional hours (18)

Nine of the eighteen hours MUST constitute an area of concentration designed in consultation with and approved by the Director of Undergraduate Studies for American Studies. The Director of Undergraduate Studies for American Studies may approve courses not listed below to be counted for the major's Area of Concentration if the student proposes a compelling and rigorous plan of study.

No more than THREE CLA Core Curriculum courses may be used toward requirement B unless approved by the Director of Undergraduate Studies for American Studies.
All 50000 level and variable title/credit courses require the permission of the faculty offering the course and the Director of Undergraduate Studies for American Studies before they can be applied to the American Studies Major.

At least twelve (12) credit hours MUST be at the 30000 level or above.

See print plan of study for the list of courses that come from the following categories:

Art and Design
African American Studies
Education: Curriculum and Instruction & Educational Studies
Landscaping Architecture
Political Science
Women's Studies

University Core Requirements

Courses selected above must meet the following University Core Requirements:

Human Cultures Humanities
Human Cultures Behavioral/Social Science
Information Literacy
Science Selective
Science Selective
Science Technology Society Selective
Written Communication
Oral Communication
Quantitative Reasoning

For more information, visit

Print Plan of Study

American Studies

School of Interdisciplinary Studies

Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907 (765) 494-4600

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