2021-2022 Pitzer Catalog 
    Oct 06, 2022  
2021-2022 Pitzer Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

American Studies Major

Requirements for the Major

The major in American Studies consists of eleven courses. Students develop a thematic focus in consultation with their adviser by the beginning of the junior year.

To introduce students to the field of American Studies, students take:

  • AMST 103 JT Introduction to American Culture , a prerequisite course that is team-taught by members of the intercollegiate faculty in the spring semester to introduce the themes, concerns, and methodologies of American Studies (one course).

To provide a broad knowledge and set of skills in the field, students take:

  • Two U.S. history courses, at least one of which must contain significant pre-1900 content such as: 

HIST070A SC United States History to 1865,or equivalent course: (HIST020 PO, HIST 025 PZ  , HIST 050A AF  , HIST090 CM, HIST114 CM, HIST116 CM, HIST 125 CM  

  • A course in Africana, Asian American or Chicano/a-Latino/a studies; or one course on the histories and/or cultures of Native Americans (one course).

To provide depth as well as breadth, students take:

  • AMST 180 SC Seminar in American Studies  normally taken in the fall of the junior year (one course);
  • Four courses drawn from at least two departments that focus on a specific theme (e.g., Race and Social Justice in the U.S.; the U.S. in a Transnational Context) - (four courses)

For their capstone experience in American Studies, students must complete:

  •  AMST190 SC Senior Thesis Seminar (offered fall)
  •  AMST191 SC Senior Thesis (offered spring)

All students are required to write a senior thesis by enrolling in this two-course, two-credit sequence. Students will enroll in AMST190 SC, a seminar, in the fall semester. In the spring semester, students enroll in AMST191 SC and complete the thesis under the direction of their thesis adviser and second reader.


Students may pursue an honors degree in American studies by fulfilling the following additional requirements:

  1. Maintain a GPA in the major of 3.5 (A-).
  2. Receive a grade of A- or better on the thesis.
  3. Successfully defend the thesis in an oral examination before a committee of three members (the thesis committee, plus an additional member). At least one reader should be a Pitzer faculty member.

Students interested in the Honors Program should notify the coordinator of the American Studies Program at Scripps, in the spring of their junior year.