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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 202, 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 202, 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
CourseHours
AMS 1503
EN 1013
MATH13–4
Natural science4
Foreign language or computer science3–4
___
14–17
Second Semester
CourseHours
AMS 1513
EN 1023
Fine arts23
Natural science4
Foreign language or computer science3–4
___
16–17
 
SOPHOMORE YEAR
First Semester
CourseHours
AMS 2313
EN 205 or EN 206 3
HY 2033
AMS/Americanist elective3
Computer science or elective3
___
15
Second Semester
CourseHours
AMS 202, AMS 203, AMS 204, or AMS 2053
HY 2043
Minor3
Social and behavioral sciences23
Elective3
___
15
 
JUNIOR YEAR3
First Semester
CourseHours
AMS/Americanist elective3
EN 3403
Social and behavioral sciences23
Minor3
Elective3
___
15
Second Semester
CourseHours
AMS/Americanist elective3
EN 341 or EN 3423
Minor3
Fine arts or humanities23
Elective3
___
15
 
SENIOR YEAR3
First Semester
CourseHours
AMS 4853
AMS 491 or AMS 492 3
Minor6
Elective3
___
15
Second Semester
CourseHours
AMS 4863
AMS seminar or advanced course3
Minor3–6
Electives3–6
___
15–18
 
Total: At least 120

1MATH course number is determined by placement. MATH 110 or higher is required.
2A 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.
3Six 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.

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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