American Studies, B.A.

Degree Type
Bachelor of Arts
Professor Karl Grossman teaches class

American Studies is an interdisciplinary liberal arts program. Courses in the program examine the history and culture of the United States, social and economic structure, forms of cultural expression, and political and legal institutions. These courses integrate history, sociology, literature, and media studies and are designed to encourage the development of critical thinking, debate and clear expository writing. American Studies courses emphasize the diversity of American Society and the experiences of ordinary life, paying particular attention to ethnic, gender, and other forms of social inequality. Courses examine institutions of power and control and the ways people attempt to change society.

Work in the program is designed to combine a liberal arts education with career preparation. The program also offers students the ability to develop a field of study in the following areas: U.S. History and Society, Media Studies, African American History and Culture and Women’s Studies.

Through its internship program, the major provides students with broad, flexible training appropriate to a wide array of jobs. The interdisciplinary course of study offered in the major provides useful preparation for graduate school and careers in education, media, law, government, and social work. The department expects that students, regardless of their career goals, will graduate with the knowledge and skills necessary to take constructive action for social change in their communities and workplaces, nation and the world.

Evening Students

American Studies offers a limited selection of courses in the evening. Completion of a major in American Studies requires daytime course attendance.


An American Studies major can be completed in a two year period with appropriate planning. With an advisor’s approval, a maximum of four courses will be accepted in transfer toward the 11 courses required for the major. Transfer students should note that AS2112-AS2122, The American People I-II are prerequisites for enrollment in 5000-level American Studies courses, as well as for a number of other American Studies courses. It is essential that these courses be taken in a transfer student’s first year at Old Westbury if the expectation of completing the program in two years is to be met. These courses must be taken prior to the senior year.


Requirements (120 credits, 90 credits in liberal arts)

Liberal Education Curriculum

Refer to the Liberal Education Curriculum Bulletin for specific requirements.

Major Requirements (11 courses)


Note: These are prerequisites for enrollment in 5000-level American Studies courses. American Studies majors should complete these two courses as early as possible.


American Studies Elective Courses  (24 Credits)

Students may choose six courses. Four of the courses must be at the 3000 level or above. Two of these four courses must be at the 4000 level. American Studies students cannot receive credit towards the major for media production courses.

Elective courses
  • AS1152 Themes in U.S. History
  • AS1282 Introduction to African American Studies
  • AS1512 Introduction to Women’s Studies
  • AS2202 Contemporary U.S. Society
  • AS2252 US Social Movement
  • AS2262 African American History I
  • AS2263 African American History II
  • AS2300 Problems in US Environmental History
  • AS2640 US Latina/o History
  • AS2652 Media Studies
  • AS2700 The Engaged Eye
  • AS2750 Food
  • AS2802 Multimedia Journalism
  • AS3222 Urban History
  • AS3252 U.S. Social Movements
  • AS3270 Africa in the Americas
  • AS3412 African-American Women’s History
  • AS3432 Women: Cultural Issues
  • AS3462 History of Women in the U.S.
  • AS3622 Sports and Society
  • AS3632 History of U.S. Film
  • AS3712 American Film Genres
  • AS3722 History of Mass Media
  • AS3732 Politics of Media
  • AS3735 Documentary Media Studies
  • AS3742 Myths and Images in Film
  • AS3745 Film and Gender
  • AS3810 Music and Media
  • AS3830 Public Relations and Society
  • AS3842 African-Americans and the Mass Media
  • AS3852 Women and the Media
  • AS4160 Special Topics in Media Studies
  • AS4170 Special Topics in American Studies
  • AS4212 Early America
  • AS4215 Critical Ideas in American History
  • AS4218 Civil War and Reconstruction
  • AS4222 The Emergence of Modern America
  • AS4250 Immigration Today
  • AS4252 Immigration History
  • AS4253 Latino New York
  • AS4280 Global Media
  • AS4282 America in War and Peace: 1898 to 2001
  • AS4283 America Between the World Wars
  • AS4285 Vietnam and After
  • AS4288 Contemporary U.S. Foreign Policy
  • AS4290 Youth in America: A History
  • AS4292 America Since WWII: 1945-1989
  • AS4402 History of the Family in the U.S.
  • AS4420 History of New York City and State
  • AS4432 History of the Women’s Movement
  • AS4435 Woman of Color Feminisms
  • AS4715 African-American Thought and Culture
  • AS4722 Film: Ideas and Aesthetics
  • AS4725 The Photograph and American Culture
  • AS4732 Political Film
  • AS4850 Digital Revolution
  • AS9990 Independent Study


AS4202 Internship in Government and Community
American Studies majors are encouraged to plan an internship, in consultation with a faculty advisor, with one of the College's many community, government and/or non-profit partners. Students who prefer may choose instead to complete an independent study with major research paper, or an additional 4000-level American Studies elective course..


American Studies majors must complete two courses as capping experience for the degree. 

capping courses
  • AS5000 Topics in U.S. History in Global Perspective
  • AS5112 American Voices
  • AS5200 Environmental Journalism
  • AS5212 Narrative and History
  • AS5312 History of U.S. Culture
  • AS5350 History of the Slave Narrative
  • AS5412 Protest and Change
  • AS5420 Propaganda and Mass Persuasion
  • AS5712 Mass Media and Popular Culture
  • AS5800 Research in American History and Culture
  • AS5862 The Journalist as Creative Writer

    General Electives

    In consultation with Academic Advisor


    Program Policies

    1. All American Studies majors should see an advisor at least once a semester.
    2. Only one grade of D+, D or D- will be accepted toward the major. Students must request this inclusion from the Chair of American Studies.
    3. A minimum GPA of 2.0 must be achieved in the major.
    4. Only two 1000 or 2000 level courses, beyond AS2112/2122 American People I/II, will be counted toward the major. 
    5. In order to qualify for independent study, students must have sophomore standing and a B (3.0) average. Only 4 credits of independent study will be counted toward the major.
    6. Only 4 credits of internship can be applied toward the major.
    7. No media production courses (noted in the course descriptions in the catalog by asterisk*) can be counted toward the American Studies major, but they may be used as free electives.
    8. Only four courses can be transferred from another college or university and accepted for credit toward the major.
    9. In general, 4000 and 5000 level courses will NOT be taught during the summer sessions.
    10. All students in their junior year should make an appointment with the chair to make sure that they are on track for graduation