1. University of Virginia
  2. Arts & Sciences

American Studies Program


The American Studies Program at the University of Virginia offers undergraduates a wide range of courses engaging the many rich facets of the United States and its place in the global world. Flexible, engaging, and interdisciplinary, American Studies courses integrate a rich array of materials, themes, and approaches from many disciplines: not only historical and literary studies, but also visual studies, musicology, film and media, and ethnic and gender studies, among others. The curriculum emphasizes the diversity of American society while at the same time stressing the importance of studying the often conflicting stories of nationhood and the range of experiences of what it has meant--and continues to mean--to be American. American Studies courses explore these issues in both historical and contemporary settings.

Designed around a three-course core, a flexible breadth requirement, and a long list of electives, the major allows students to chart their own intellectual course while insuring that students develop a critical set of skills and competencies in cultural analysis and context. Each student will be expected to demonstrate the ability to transcend disciplinary boundaries. Although we affirm the necessity and integrity of individual disciplines, we also want our American Studies students to understand the assumptions and methods of several of them. A popular second major, American Studies offers a friendly intellectual community with the opportunity for intensive study, research, and conversation about American society and culture. With small courses and an excellent and committed faculty, the American Studies major offers students a challenging and rewarding community within the larger University experience.