American studies is a vibrant and growing interdisciplinary field that integrates a variety of theoretical and methodological approaches to understanding the full range and diversity of American national experiences. Eschewing traditional disciplinary boundaries or limitations, the American Studies major provides the most encompassing approach to American cultural, intellectual, and popular issues in a global and transnational framework.
The American Studies major invites students to explore the rich history and culture of the United States and the concept of “America” for diverse communities within and outside of the United States. This interdisciplinary major prepares students for careers in law, social service, teaching, journalism, business, library science, and the making of public policy, as well as for graduate and professional degrees. The flexible academic program allows students to design an individualized course of study drawing on a wide variety of disciplines, including history, political science, criminal justice, and government; art, film, theatre, journalism, and literature; education, economics, sociology, religious studies, and others. Virginia Wesleyan is located near many of the important places where history was made and continues to be made: Jamestown, Williamsburg, Washington, D.C., and the homes of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Robert E. Lee. Thus the program offers students an exciting educational experience both in and out of the classroom.
Why American Studies at VWU?
Students are provided with an opportunity to explore in-depth a topic related to American studies. American Studies majors will, in consultation with the program director, be assigned a thesis director who will work with the student to develop a topic, outline a program of research and reading, oversee the development of the agreed-upon topic, and assist in the training in the appropriate scholarly theory/method in the exploration of the topic. American Studies majors may take advantage of the history Department’s internship program.
An interdisciplinary major within the liberal arts, American Studies prepares students for careers in:
- social service
- library science
- and the making of public policy
- as well as for graduate and professional degrees.