American Culture Studies Major

Program Requirements

  • Total units required: 32, at least 24 of which must be at the 300 level or higher
  • Grade requirement: C- or higher

Visit our Course Listings webpage for a complete list of courses, by semester, that count toward the AMCS major. For more information about the major — including past examples of projects, leadership opportunities, and an FAQ — please visit our AMCS undergraduate webpage.


  • Introductory course (3 credits), as designated by American Culture Studies. Options for this requirement have recently included AMCS 220 Topics in AMCS: Race and American Popular Music, AMCS 206 "Reading" Culture: The Visible and Invisible: Introduction to American Visual Cultures Studies, and AMCS 202 The Immigrant Experience. Visit our Course Listings webpage for the full listing by semester.
  • Subject focus area course work (9 credits): Three courses in a single subject focus area, two of which must be at the upper level.
  • Methods focus area course work (9 credits): Three courses in a single methods focus area, two of which must be at the upper level.
  • Fieldwork (3 credits): Enrollment in an approved fieldwork course. Options include L98 479: On Location: Exploring America; L98 330D: Culture and Identity: The Race for Criticism: African American Culture and Its Critics; and L98 3360: Fashioning America: A Cultural History of Fashion, Shopping, and Advertising.
  • AMCS 375A: Methods and Visions (3 credits): Students must have junior standing to enroll in this writing-intensive methods seminar, which is offered each fall semester.
  • Senior capstone project (3 credits): This multidisciplinary project is a culmination of the course work in the major; a student can also earn 6 credits if the project is an honors thesis. Capstone projects are proposed at the end of the junior year and completed during the senior year. The capstone requirement is fulfilled through one of the following three scenarios:
    • A one-semester independent research project pursued with guidance from an advisor;
    • A two-semester honors thesis (for those eligible for honors work); or
    • A one-semester project completed in the context of an approved 400- or 500-level seminar.

Students pursuing the one-semester independent project or the honors thesis participate in the AMCS Capstone Seminar (L98 400A), a preparatory workshop-style course that provides support and structure for the capstone. Students choosing the seminar-based capstone carry out their project with guidance from the faculty instructor, and support from their AMCS major advisor. In all cases, students present their capstone to the AMCS community in a research colloquium at the end of the spring semester.

  • Two 1-credit workshops — AMCS 490A AMCS Portfolio Workshop: Academic Citizenship and AMCS 490B AMCS Portfolio Workshop: Connections and Explorations — taken during the fall and spring of the senior year, respectively.
  • At least two multidisciplinary courses, taken as part of the above major requirements and designated by AMCS. AMCS 375A and courses that count toward the fieldwork requirement may not also count toward the multidisciplinary requirement. Students are encouraged to take multidisciplinary courses that connect to the subjects or issues in their focus area. Visit the AMCS Courses webpage for a complete list of general and multidisciplinary courses that count toward the AMCS major.

Additional Information

Established Focus Areas

  • Subject Focus
    • Race & Ethnicity
    • Gender & Sexuality
    • Ability & the Body
    • Place, Space, & the Environment
    • Popular Culture
    • Citizenship, Nationhood, & Identity
  • Methods Focus
    • Archives & Texts
    • Audio, Visual, & Material Studies
    • Journalism & Ethnography
    • Law, Politics, & Policy Studies
    • Digital Methods

AMCS gives majors considerable freedom in defining their course of study, allowing them to learn how cultural study is done in multiple fields and periods even as they define focus areas in ways that suit their specific interests. Pairing the AMCS major with a second major in a complementary discipline is an especially enriching model of cultural study, and AMCS works closely with students to ensure that double-majoring works well.

Study Abroad

  • Students may receive a maximum of 6 credits from a single semester of study abroad for the AMCS major only.
  • Students may receive a maximum of 12 transfer credits from other universities toward the AMCS major (which includes Study Abroad credits).

Majors intending to study abroad should consult with the AMCS study abroad advisor well in advance to plan a course of study and discuss its impact on their work in the major (including their fieldwork and capstone projects). For further information, please refer to the Frequently Asked Questions on our undergraduate page or review the AMCS approved programs on the Study Abroad webpage (by searching for "American Culture Studies" as the "Program Name" in the WUSTL Global Opportunities database, which can be accessed from the Planning for Study Abroad page).

Special Opportunity: Lynne Cooper Harvey Undergraduate Scholars

Harvey Undergraduate Scholars are vital members of the AMCS community, serving as intellectual leaders and modeling innovative multidisciplinary research. They are asked to share their knowledge with the community in a variety of ways during their time as scholars, including through involvement in a project or initiative that brings them into collaboration with others in the AMCS community. These projects should contribute substantially to the scholars' learning and allow them to actively engage with and bolster all members of the AMCS community. Please visit the Harvey Undergraduate Scholars page for more information.

Senior Honors

Writing an AMCS honors thesis is one way to fulfill the capstone project requirement. It allows students to complete an extended study of a cultural topic with the input of faculty from more than one discipline, and it provides both a support system and an audience of peers for that study. For more information about the honors thesis and capstone project process, including important dates and criteria, please visit our Senior Honors Thesis page.

Contact Info

Contact:Karen Skinner, Academic Coordinator