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University Bulletin

Undergraduate Degree Programs

American Studies

Abington College (AMSAB)
Penn State Harrisburg (AMSCA)
University College (AMSCC): Penn State Brandywine

PROFESSOR SIMON J. BRONNER, Chair, American Studies Program

This interdisciplinary major is designed to provide students with an integrated and critical knowledge of American culture, drawing on courses in American Studies and in the traditional disciplines and culminating in two senior seminars. A number of interests may be pursued within the major, including popular culture, art, technology, business, law, archives, museology, and conservation. The major helps prepare students for careers in business, teaching, government, and a number of other areas, and for enrollment in law and other professional programs.

For entrance into the major, the following must be met:
1. At the end of the sophomore year, any student in good standing may gain entrance into the major without having completed specific courses.
2. Any student seeking entrance during the fifth semester will be granted entrance at the discretion of the American Studies Committee and/or Director following evaluation of the student's record.
3. Any student seeking entrance during or after the sixth semester will be expected to have completed at least 12 credits, which may be counted toward the major in American Studies.

For the B.A. degree in American Studies, a minimum of 123 credits is required.

Scheduling Recommendation by Semester Standing given like (Sem: 1-2)

GENERAL EDUCATION: 45 credits
(See description of General Education in this bulletin.)

FIRST-YEAR SEMINAR:
(Included in ELECTIVES or GENERAL EDUCATION course selection)

UNITED STATES CULTURES AND INTERNATIONAL CULTURES:
(Included in ELECTIVES, GENERAL EDUCATION course selection, or REQUIREMENTS FOR THE MAJOR)

WRITING ACROSS THE CURRICULUM:
(Included in REQUIREMENTS FOR THE MAJOR)

ELECTIVES: 21 credits

BACHELOR OF ARTS DEGREE REQUIREMENTS: 24 credits
(3 of these 24 credits are included in the REQUIREMENTS FOR THE MAJOR, GENERAL EDUCATION, or ELECTIVES and 0-12 credits are included in ELECTIVES if foreign language proficiency is demonstrated by examination.)
(See description of Bachelor of Arts Degree Requirements in this bulletin.)

REQUIREMENTS FOR THE MAJOR: 33 credits[1]

PRESCRIBED COURSES (6 credits)
AM ST 491W(6) (Sem: 5-8)

ADDITIONAL COURSES (3 credits)
AM ST 100 GH(3) or AM ST 100Y GH(3) (Sem: 1-4)

SUPPORTING COURSES AND RELATED AREAS (24 credits)
(Include 12 credits at the 400 level distributed in at least two of the areas.)
Select 9 credits in each of two of the following areas; select 6 credits in one other of the areas: (Sem: 3-8)
a. American literature
b. American history
c. American art, philosophy, and religion (humanities)
d. American social sciences

Integrated B.A./M.A. in American Studies

The American Studies Program offers an integrated B.A./M.A. program that is designed to allow academically superior baccalaureate students enrolled in the American Studies major to obtain both the B.A. and the M.A. degrees in American Studies within five years of study. The first two years of undergraduate coursework typically include the University General Education requirements and lower-level courses. In the third year, students typically take upper-division coursework in American Studies and define areas of interest. The fourth year involves graduate-level American Studies coursework including required courses in American Studies Theory and Methods (AM ST 500). The fifth and final year of the program typically consists of graduate coursework in American Studies including Seminar (AM ST 591) and identification of a research project that will culminate in the completion of a M.A. project (AM ST 580) or thesis (AM ST 600).

By encouraging greater depth and focus in the course of study beginning in the third undergraduate year, this program will help the student more clearly define his/her area of interest and expertise in the broad field of American Studies. As a result, long-range academic planning for exceptional students pursuing doctoral degrees or other professional goals after leaving Penn State will be greatly enhanced. For most students, the total time required to reach completion of the higher degree will be shortened by about a year. The student will have earlier contact with the rigors of graduate study and with graduate faculty. The resources of the Graduate School are accessible to students accepted into the IUG program. Students in their third and fourth year of study with IUG status benefit from their association with graduate students whose level of work parallel their own.

For the IUG American Studies B.A./M.A. degree, a minimum of 123 credits are required for the B.A. and a minimum of 30–33 credits for the M.A. (30 for non-thesis; 33 for thesis). Twelve credits at the 400 level or higher, in consultation with the adviser, can apply to both the B.A. and M.A. degrees; at least 6 of these 12 credits must be at the 500 level.

If for any reason a student admitted to the B.A./M.A. program is unable to complete the requirement for the Master of Arts degree program in American Studies, the student will be permitted to receive the B.A. degree assuming all degree requirements have been satisfactorily completed.

Admission Requirements

The number of openings in the integrated B.A./M.A. program is limited. Admission will be selective based on specific criteria and the unqualified recommendation of faculty. Applicants to the integrated program:

  1. Must be enrolled in the American Studies B.A. program and meet the admission requirements of the American Studies M.A. program.
  2. Must apply and be admitted to the Graduate School.
  3. Shall be admitted no earlier than the beginning of the third semester of undergraduate study at Penn State (regardless of transfer or AP credits accumulated prior to enrollment) and no later than the end of the second week of the semester preceding the semester of expected conferral of the undergraduate degree, as specified in the proposed IUG plan of study.
  4. Must have completed at least one 400-level American Studies course (AM ST prefix) with a grade of A.
  5. Must submit transcript(s) of previous undergraduate work, recommendations from two faculty members, writing sample, and statement of goals.
  6. Must have an overall GPA at or above 3.3 (on a 4.0 scale) in undergraduate coursework and a GPA at or above 3.5 in all coursework completed for the American Studies major.
  7. Must present a plan of study approved by the student’s adviser in the application process.

Course Load

As many as 12 of the credits required for the master’s degree may be applied to both undergraduate and graduate degree programs. The courses to be double counted are:

AM ST 491W (two seminars on different topics)—6 credits during the student’s fourth (senior) year
AM ST 500 –3 credits during the student’s fourth (senior) year
AM ST 591—3 credits during the student’s fifth year

With the approval of the student’s adviser, students may take American Studies courses from the 100 to 400 levels at Penn State campuses other than Harrisburg, but 500-level courses must be taken at the Harrisburg campus.

Sample Sequence of Coursework

A typical sequence of coursework for the integrated program would appear as follows (AM ST 491W, AM ST 500, and AM ST 591 are applied to both undergraduate and graduate degree programs):

YEAR

FALL

SPRING

 

3rd (Junior)

AM ST 100

3

AM ST supporting course

3

 

AM ST supporting course

3

400-level AM ST course

3

 

BA Requirement: Other Cultures

3

400-level AM ST course

3

 

BA Requirement: Knowledge Domain

3

Elective

3

 

Elective

3

Elective

3

 

Total

15

Total

15

4th (Senior)

AM ST 491W*

3

AM ST 491W*

3

 

400-level AM ST course

3

400 level AM ST course

3

 

400-level AM ST supporting course

3

AM ST 500*

3

 

Elective

3

500 level AM ST course

3

 

Elective

3

Elective

3

 

Total

15

Total

15

5th (Graduate)

500-level AM ST course

3

500-level AM ST course

3

 

500-level AM ST course

3

AM ST 580 or AM ST 600

3-6

 

500-level AM ST course

3

AM ST 591*

3

 

Total

9

Total

9-12

*Satisfies requirements for both the undergraduate and graduate program for a total of 12 credits

As stated in the Graduate Bulletin, a minimum grade-point average of 3.00 for work done at the University is required for graduation and to maintain good academic standing. See http://bulletins.psu.edu/bulletins/whitebook/degree_requirements.cfm?section=masters.

[1] A student enrolled in this major must receive a grade of C or better, as specified in Senate Policy 82-44.

Last Revised by the Department: Spring Semester 2013

Blue Sheet Item #: 42-01-026

Review Date: 08/20/13

UCA Revision #2: 7/26/07

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