American Studies (B.A.)

American Studies at Wagner is an interdisciplinary program that studies the history, culture, and society of the diverse peoples primarily, but not exclusively, within the United States. The American Studies major enables students to pursue a liberal arts education by focusing on American society and culture in the past and present. Instead of specializing in one of the traditional disciplines, the major combines several disciplines in the sequence of courses to fulfill its requirements.

American Studies majors will receive a solid grounding in American History and culture to better understand its evolution and will benefit from a range of disciplinary approaches; the study of American political institutions and American political culture to help them analyze the role of power, institutions, and policies that shape American society; and in the study of literature to experience American society from varied perspectives with particular attention to race, class, gender, and ethnicity.

Completing a degree in American Studies prepares students to enter a range of graduate and professional programs, including law school, doctoral programs, and others. The skills acquired in the program are also useful for work in non-profit organizations, activist groups, media, government, and cultural and artistic fields, to name a few.

American Studies students are strongly encouraged to take courses in languages other than English.

Requirements for a Major in American Studies (B.A.)


Download a Checklist for the Major here. A minimum of 11 units in the following distribution:

Foundation Courses (5 Units out of the following 6)

  • History: HI297, HI236
  • English Literature: EN226, EN216
  • Government and Politics: GOV103, GOV316

Electives (4 Units)

Majors must take 4 units spread out across at least 2 disciplines. Three of these units must be at 200-level or above from the list of courses that appears below.

Senior Learning Community (2 Units)

Majors will consult with their advisor to determine which SLC is appropriate for their concentration. Students will normally complete their SLC requirement in History, though some exceptions may be permitted in consultation with the chair of the History department.

  • History Senior Seminar: HI490
  • History Senior Reflective Tutorial: HI400

Areas of Concentrations

Students must choose an area of concentration by the beginning of their junior year.

  • African American Studies*
  • Government and Politics
  • History
  • Literature

*Requirements for African American Studies Concentration

In addition to the Foundation Course requirements students must complete a total of 4 electives within the field of African American History, Literature, Government and Politics, and or Sociology.  Three of these courses must be at the 200-level or above from at least two disciplines.


AN235 North American Archaeology: The Prehistory of Native Americans

AN238 Pre-Inca Cultures of the Ancient Andes

AR 200 Making and Seeing Art in NY

AH 215 American Art History

FM 291 Hollywood and the US Film*

FM 291 Television Theory*

EC 313 Labor Economics and Industrial Relations

EC 414 Economics of Discrimination

EN-216 African-American Literature

EN-226 American Cultures and Literatures

EN-227 American Literature from Its Origins to 1865

EN-228 American Literature from 1865 to the Present

EN-332 Pirates, Puritans, and the Revolutionary Atlantic World

EN-342 The Contested South

EN-348 Southern Women Writers

GOV 103 American Government and Politics

GOV 205 Urban Politics

GOV 211 Public Administration

GOV 212 Congress and National Policy Making: the Legislative Process

GOV 213 The Presidency

GOV 215 Law and Justice in America

GOV 217 Parties, Elections and the Mass Media

GOV 235 Riots, Rebellions and Revolutions

GOV 249 US Military Interventions in Latin America

GOV 253 The Politics of Terrorism

GOV 268 African American Political Thought

GOV 272 Feminist Political Thought

GOV 291 American Dream as Ideology

GOV 316 Constitutional Law

GOV 317 Civil Liberties and Human Rights

GOV 355 United States Foreign Policy

GOV 356 U.S.-China Relations

HI 103 American History Survey Before the Civil War

HI 216 Slaves, Masters, Po’ Whites and People of Color

HI 221 The U.S. and World War II

HI 225 History of New York City

HI 226 Topics in the History and Politics of Gender

HI 229 Museums, Myths, and Memories

HI 231 The 1960s in America

HI 236 History of The Civil Rights Movement

HI 248 African American History I, 1619-1865

HI 249 African American History II, 1865-1968

HI 250 History of Science and Medicine in America

HI 273 The Environmental History of New York City

HI 275 Bringing the Past to the Public

HI 297 Historian As Detective

HI 315 American Social History I

HI 321 History of New World Slavery

HI 324 History of Beer, Brewing, and Drinking in America

HI 323 Riots and Rebellion in Early America

HI 345 Global History of Food

FR 242 Francophone Culture and Civilization

FR 352 Cities in the Francophone World

SP 213 Hispanic Literature in English Translation

SP 310 Voces Hispanas: An Introduction to Literature in Spanish

SP 314 Topics in Hispanic Cinema

SP 347 Love, Madness, and Death in Latin American Literature

PH203 Ethics and Society

SO103 American Society and Its Social Problems

SO215 Race and Ethnic Relations

SO218 Popular Music and Social Change in the 1960s

SO300 Law and Society

SO305 Criminology

SO306 Crossing Borders: Immigration and American Identities

SO315 Social Stratification

TH 218 History of American Film

TH 235 Musical Theatre History – Background and Analysis I

TH 250 The Movie Musical

Course Descriptions are listed in the Wagner College Bulletin