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Degree Overview: Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) Degree in American Studies

Majors Overview January 26, 2015

American studies, an interdisciplinary field that features the study of the United States’ culture, literature, and history. Those interested should look into a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree program in American Studies.

Important Information

Students enrolled in a interdisciplinary bachelor’s degree program in American studies have to complete a combination of courses, such as economics, politics, culture, and the arts. Many schools offer this degree.
Admission criteria typically require incoming students to hold a GED certificate or a high school diploma. Some schools may require other courses, such as high school level classes in a foreign language. It takes about four years to complete most degree programs.

All students enrolled in the program are required to complete general education classes. These courses include English composition and math. The American studies program entails working with an academic advisor to customize the coursework in accordance with students’ planned career paths. The research project is a component part of many programs.

Those that earned a bachelor’s degree in American studies can seek various entry-level career options, such as education, business, government, or journalism. Many students opt for continuing education through graduate studies.

Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) Degree Program in American Studies

Core disciplines such as political science, economics, and literature are typically integrated within American studies programs in order to impart students with a comprehensive grasp of the United States of America and its citizens. Schools may organize courses into areas devoted to the history and modern culture of the country, in addition to the American political system.

Coursework may also include American perspectives in other topic areas, such as feminist studies, Native American studies, minority cultures, sociology, music, and environmental science. Some programs may require a capstone project, whereby students are allowed to conduct research on specific subject areas.

Education Requirements

Admission criteria typically require incoming students to hold a GED certificate or a high school diploma. Completion of high school courses in areas such as language arts, social sciences, and foreign languages may also be required of incoming students to some programs.


Flexible coursework in American studies programs facilitate concentration on specific areas; they can specialize in research areas such as business, government, or American literature. Other research requirements may include multicultural studies, foreign language, and general education. Core coursework may commonly include the following:

•Native American history
•The Constitution
•History of American visual art
•American music
•American cultures
•American ethnic literature
•U.S. foreign relations
•U.S. economic history
•U.S. political parties
•U.S. government

Career Choices

Those that complete a BA in American Studies can seek entry-level careers in social work, law, nonprofit organizing, education, journalism, and business. They can choose from job titles such as:

•Museum worker
•Nonprofit organization manager

Continuing Education Choices

After they graduate from the bachelor’s degree program in American studies, students can pursue continuing education in the field by earning a graduate degree, such as a Master of Arts (M.A.) or Doctor of Philosophy in American Studies.

Those that wish to pursue a career in law should go to law school and complete at least a Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree program. Some schools offer a joint J.D./M.A. in American Studies program.

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