A Major Dilemma: American Studies

William & Mary has over forty undergraduate programs you can choose to major or minor in. As a well-rounded liberal arts student, it can be difficult to narrow your interests down enough to choose a single field (or two) to major in. Choosing a major is a big decision, so this summer W&M Peer Advising will be posting weekly updates to our blog, offering insights and information regarding some of the lesser-known programs at W&M. Find the full list of majors, minors, and pre-professional programs.

The first major on our list is American Studies, which is also offered as a minor. A Bachelor of Arts degree in American Studies requires 37 hours of coursework towards the major, or 20 hours for a minor. As an interdisciplinary field, students take classes in the American Studies department, as well as in American history, the humanities, and the social sciences. Find the full list of  current requirements for a BA in American Studies, and information on the minor program. The W&M page on the American Studies program provides an in-depth view on the goals and details of the department, but one of the best things about the Peer Advising program (in our opinion) is that we can offer new and incoming students a peer’s perspective on student and academic life at the university. Here’s a snapshot of why one W&M student chose American Studies:

Why did you choose the major? I chose American Studies because it’s so cross-curricular. I love being able to take classes in different disciplines but still unite them all to gain a greater understanding of America. Everything is also so relevant since we basically live American Studies everyday.

Favorite thing about the major? My favorite thing about American Studies is the wonderful discussions the actual AMST courses produce. Many of them focus on current events or current social issues faced by our country, but in a classroom setting, we are able to think critically about said issues and look at our country from many different points of view/different disciplines.

Favorite class you’ve taken and why? I really enjoyed my intro class, Utopia in America, because it was so interesting to look at different attempts at creating utopia, both in fictional stories and in real life. I loved our hypothetical discussion about utopias in general and whether or not there can ever be a utopia in America. I am very excited to take two classes for this major next semester, Junior Seminar: America and the Americans, and an English course Early Black American Literature.

What would you tell someone considering the major? For someone considering this major: I would encourage you to try it out; take some classes actually in AMST and see what they are like. Most of the coursework for this major is split between other disciplines, so AMST courses frequently are overlooked, but they are really fascinating courses that are so relevant to our lives today. So whether you are just looking for elective credit or pursuing American Studies as a major/minor, give it a try!

A big thanks to Sarah Kyle ’19 (Peer Advising Vice President of Administration) for offering her perspective as an American Studies student! If you want to hear about a specific W&M program, message Peer Advising on Facebook, and we’ll incorporate that program into our Major Dilemma series this summer.

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2 Comments
  1. john marsh
    • Peer Advising

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