Reed College Catalog


American studies is a major for students who want to focus their academic work around American society and culture. The committee frames “American studies” broadly, to include transnational, hemispheric, oceanic, and global approaches, as well as the more traditional approach centered on the U.S. nation-state.

American studies majors usually select a disciplinary concentration in history or literature, though other concentrations are available, and they take additional courses on American subject matter in other fields. In most years, an informal colloquium, which majors and potential majors are strongly encouraged to attend, meets several times a semester.

Admission to the major is by application only. Students interested in majoring in the program should consult the “Majoring in American Studies” page on the American studies website for information about the application process.

Requirements for the Major

1. The student will fulfill the same departmental and divisional requirements as a regular divisional major with the same field of concentration.
2. In addition, the student will take a minimum of two units in American history and two units in American subject matter outside the field of concentration. These latter two units must be in the same field and in a department other than history.

Recommendation for the Major
In certain years a seminar may be offered as an introduction to the major. It is recommended that students considering the major take this course during their junior year. This course is meant as an introduction to the major and does not meet the requirement to take the junior seminar in the student’s field of concentration.