Explore the complex nature of U.S. history and culture in Fredericksburg, Virginia, a city rich in Revolutionary, Civil War, and 20th-century history. As an American studies major at the University of Mary Washington you’ll examine what it means to be an American, from history and politics to literature, music, and film. You’ll find focus in fields such as anthropology, historic preservation, and gender studies.
Students majoring in American Studies who complete all requirements earn the degree of Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in General Liberal Arts and Studies.
Areas of Study
UMW’s American studies curriculum will guide you through U.S. history and culture. You’ll choose from such courses as History of the South, American Legal and Constitutional History, U.S. and Vietnam, 20th-Century U.S., and Urban Politics.
UMW’s American studies majors may find internships at Smithsonian Institution sites such as the National Museum of the American Indian and the National Museum of American History. Other opportunities come from the National Park Service, George Washington’s Ferry Farm, and the Marine Corps Archives at Quantico.
My turning point toward pursuing a Ph.D. in history was taking a course on the History of Gilded Age America with Professor Ferrell. My assumptions that few significant developments occurred in the United States from 1865 to 1900 were quickly destroyed. I found myself captivated by a period of history that witnessed tremendous social unrest, anxiety, violence, and economic and demographic transformations…. I carried those questions with me to the Johns Hopkins University, where I completed a dissertation on the early-20th-century birth of the international wildlife protection movement and its hidden relationships with global capitalism, imperialism, smuggling, and species extinction—a dissertation that really began in the classrooms of Monroe Hall years earlier.
– Noah Cincinnati, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of History, Northern Virginia Community College
To be considered for honors in American studies, you must have a GPA of at least 3.5 in the major and submit and defend a senior thesis.
A major in American studies requires 36 credits in core courses plus 24 credits from American studies electives offered by affiliated departments. Fifteen of the elective credits must be organized around a unifying line of inquiry, such as gender and sexuality, race and ethnicity, cultural expression, human rights, politics and society, and space and place. Eighteen credits must come from 300- or 400-level courses.
American studies majors may qualify for numerous scholarships and awards for excellence.