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  Nov 30, 2020
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American Studies (B.A.)

American Studies at Russell Sage College is an interdisciplinary major that offers students the opportunity to get to know the United States as a geographic, cultural, and political entity. Students explore the shared values and diverse character of the American experience, shaped as it is by gender, race, class, geography, and ethnicity. The academic experience is placed in a practical context of today’s global economic, cultural, and political relations.

The core of the American Studies program focuses on the study of U.S. literature, culture, and history. Other courses offer a rich diversity of topics including U.S. economics, social policy, arts, and global relations, allowing students to take their study of the U.S. in a broad range of directions.

Students are encouraged, but not required, to develop emphases within the American Studies program that allow them to pursue their interests in specific related areas including U.S. Culture, Material Culture, or American Communities. Internship opportunities with Rensselaer County Historical Society, the State Legislature, and other local organizations allow students to develop these emphases in individual ways.

What you can do

  • Become a librarian, archivist, or museum curator.
  • Write or edit for a newspaper, magazine, or other publication.
  • Contribute your skills and knowledge to a non-profit organization.
  • Work in government as a lobbyist or legislator.
  • Go on to graduate school in law, business, American Studies or another field that you feel passionate about.

Degree Requirements

United States Identities (Choose One) : 3 Credits

American Thought Requirement (Choose One) : 3 Credits

Ethnic Literatures of the US (Choose One) : 3 Credits

US Literature Electives (Choose One) : 3 Credits

Program Electives (Choose 5 or Develop an Internship) : 15 Credits

  • ART 205 Art History I
  • ART 206 Art History II
  • ART 207 History of Contemporary Art
  • COM 110 Media & Society
  • COM 121 Introduction to Public Relations
  • COM 302 Media Theory
  • COM 425 Communications Law & Ethics
  • COM 228 Special Topics (Coordinator Approval Required)
  • DAN 212 History of 20th Century Dance (GC)
  • MUS 217 History of American Musical Theatre
  • MUS 248 Special Topics (Coordinator Approval)
  • PHI 216 Contemporary Ethical Problem
  • PHI 264 Philosophy of Law
  • POL 101 US Government: Citizens, Politics & Institutions
  • POL 205 Research in Law & Government
  • POL 218 Introduction to Public Policy Making
  • POL 219 Law & Legal Process
  • POL 228 State Government in the U.S.
  • POL 229 Civil Rights and Civil Lib.
  • POL 248 Special Topics (Coordinator Approval Required)
  • POL 230 Liberty vs. Security
  • POL 314 Health Policy
  • POL 319 Women and the Law
  • POL 334 American Political Thought
  • POL 336 American Foreign Policy (GC)
  • POL 339 Current Constitutional Issues
  • SOC 101 Introduction to Sociology
  • SOC 206 Sociology of the Family (GC)
  • SOC 208 Race & Ethnic Relations (GC)


  • Internships: Students can complete an internship that will count toward their Program Electives requirements (3-12 Credits).
  • Global Contexts Requirement: At least one course taken for the major must be identified as a Global Contexts (GC) Course.

Total Credit Hours Required: 48