University of Sydney Handbooks - 2017 Archive

Download full 2017 archive Page archived at: Mon, 28 Aug 2017 11:21:57 +1000

American Studies

American Studies is an interdisciplinary program incorporating units of study taught by the departments of English, Film Studies, History, Gender and Cultural Studies, Government and International Relations and Music, and by the United States Studies Centre.

About the major

American Studies is a unique multi- and interdisciplinary field that examines the history, culture, society and politics of the United States (US).

Units in the major examine why the US is a dominant cultural and political force in the 21st century. From the study of America’s government to its popular culture, students will be challenged to think creatively about the construction and meaning of American identity and power.

An American Studies major will give you broad, multi-faceted knowledge of this complex, diverse and dynamic nation.

In the major you will analyse the US using a variety of different approaches. In addition to core American Studies units, you can take cross-listed units of study from the departments of English, Film Studies, History, Gender and Cultural Studies, Government, and Music, and from the United States Studies Centre.

The Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences has the largest concentration of academics working on the US, and the widest range of units of study focused on the US, of any university in Australia.

Pathway through the major

A major in American Studies requires 36 senior credit points, including the two compulsory units: AMST2601 American Foundations and AMST3601 American Perspectives.

The units of study for the major can be found in the table for American Studies. It shows units of study on offer in the current handbook year. You may find information regarding a full list of units of study available to the major on the American Studies program website;

Junior units of study (1000 level)

In your first semester you will complete either HSTY1023 Emerging Giant: The Making of America OR HSTY1076 American History from Lincoln to Obama. In second semester you complete AMST1001: Global America.

Senior units of study (2000 and 3000 level)

As part of the American Studies major you need to complete the core senior-intermediate (2000 level) unit, AMST2601 American Foundations. You also need to complete the compulsory senior-advanced (3000 level) unit, AMST3601 American Perspectives. Entry into AMST3601 requires prior completion of at least 24 credit points of senior units of study.

The remaining 24 credit points required for the major will come from the selection of elective units of study listed in the American Studies unit of study table. A maximum of 18 credit points can be taken from any one elective subject area.

In 2015 a new American Studies unit will be offered: AMST2606 Stand Up USA: American Comedy and Humour.

Sample pathway
Sample pathway - American Studies major
First Year S1

HSTY1023 or HSTY1076

Junior unit Junior unit Junior unit
S2 AMST1001 Junior unit Junior unit Junior unit
Second Year S1 AMST2601 (Compulsory) Senior unit Senior unit Senior unit
S2 Senior American Studies elective unit Senior American Studies elective unit Senior unit Senior unit
Third Year S1 Senior American Studies elective unit Senior unit Senior unit Senior unit
S2 AMST3601 (Compulsory) Senior American Studies elective unit Senior unit Senior unit

The fourth-year honours program consists of a compulsory American Studies seminar, one other seminar chosen in consultation with the American Studies coordinator and an 18,000-20,000 word interdisciplinary thesis.

To qualify for an honours year in American Studies, you need to complete a major in American Studies with an average of 70 percent or above.

The honours coordinator is Dr Rebecca Sheehan

Contact/further information

United States Studies Centre website:
Program Coordinator
Dr David Smith
United States Studies Centre
+61 2 9114 2626