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[College of Arts and Sciences]

DEPARTMENT OF AMERICAN STUDIES (AMS)

Professor James M. Salem, Chairperson
Office: 101 ten Hoor Hall

Every culture has its characteristic patterns of diversity and homogeneity, stability and change, continuity and conflict. American studies is the organized pursuit of knowledge about the national culture of the United States. The purpose of this effort is to gain a comprehensive understanding of the American people—their ideals and values as well as their patterns of behavior—over time. By the very nature of its subject, American studies is broadly interdisciplinary. It is based upon insights and methodologies of such liberal arts disciplines as literature and history, as well as the arts, anthropology, geography, and religious studies. American studies is also receptive to new perspectives and methods of inquiry (gender studies, media studies, comparative culture, etc.) that challenge older explanations. Ultimately, the goal of American studies is inclusive and synthetic; it is an unending inquiry. For Americans, the study of American culture also contributes to self-knowledge and self-understanding.

American studies students will acquire some knowledge of American institutional structures, collective and group behavior, creative expression, demographic composition, regional identity, and characteristic attitudes and values. Students may also focus their studies on a particular area of interest (the South, gender, popular culture, or artistic expression, for example). Graduates have pursued successful careers in the media, government service, business, and professions (law, journalism), as well as advanced academic work in American studies or in any of the contributing disciplines. The University of Alabama School of Law considers the four-year curriculum in American studies excellent preparation for the study of law. The department has prepared a memorandum titled "What Can You Do with an American Studies Major?" that is available upon request.

Requirements for the major. The major requires 30 hours, including AMS 150; AMS 151; AMS 203, AMS 204, or AMS 205; AMS 231; AMS 485; AMS 486; AMS 491 or AMS 492; and 9 elective hours in American studies, 3 of which must be at the 300 or 400 level. A minimum of 12 hours at the 300 or 400 level must be earned on this campus. In addition, majors must complete 6 hours of U.S. history (HY) and 6 hours of American literature (EN).

Requirements for the minor. The minor requires 21 hours, including AMS 150; AMS 151; AMS 203, AMS 204, or AMS 205; AMS 231; AMS 485 or AMS 486; and 6 hours of American studies electives, 3 of which must be at the 300 or 400 level. A minimum of 6 hours at the 300 or 400 level must be earned on this campus. In addition, American studies minors must complete 3 hours of U.S. history (HY) and 3 hours of American literature (EN).

A Suggested Sequence of Courses for the American Studies Major
 
FRESHMAN YEAR
First Semester
Course Hours
AMS 150 3
EN 101 3
MATH3 3-4
Natural science 4
Foreign language or computer science 3-4
___
14-17
Second Semester
Course Hours
AMS 151 3
EN 102 3
Fine arts1 3
Natural science 4
Foreign language or computer science 3-4
___
16-17
 
SOPHOMORE YEAR
First Semester
Course Hours
AMS 231 3
EN 205 or EN 206 3
HY 203 3
AMS/Americanist elective 3
Computer science or elective 3
___
15
Second Semester
Course Hours
AMS 203, AMS 204, or AMS 205 3
HY 204 3
Minor 3
Social and behavioral sciences1 3
Elective 3
___
15
 
JUNIOR YEAR2
First Semester
Course Hours
AMS/Americanist elective 3
EN 340 3
Social and behavioral sciences1 3
Minor 3
Elective 3
___
15
Second Semester
Course Hours
AMS/Americanist elective 3
EN 341 or EN 342 3
Minor 3
Fine arts or humanities1 3
Elective 3
___
15
 
SENIOR YEAR2
First Semester
Course Hours
AMS 485 3
AMS 491 or AMS 492 3
Minor 6
Elective 3
___
15
Second Semester
Course Hours
AMS 486 3
AMS seminar or advanced course 3
Minor 3-6
Electives 3-6
___
15-18
 
Total: At least 120

1A maximum of 6 hours in any one department may be applied to the humanities, literature, and fine arts (HU, L, FA) and history and social and behavioral sciences (HI, SB) requirements.
2Six hours in courses designated W must be taken in the junior or senior year. A minimum of 36 hours must be completed in 300- and 400-level courses, including 12 hours in the major and 6 hours in the minor on this campus.
3MATH course number is determined by placement. MATH 110 or higher is required.

Graduate programs. The Department of American Studies offers programs leading to the master of arts degree in American studies. Requirements for this degree are stated in the University of Alabama graduate catalog.

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