Emphasis Plan

The Emphasis is where students personalize the American Studies major to their own educational interests and goals. The plan is a 1-2 page narrative where students explain how the 5 courses that make up their emphasis allowed them to gain a specialized interest in American Studies.  Students use the narrative to reflect on how the 5 courses in their emphasis collectively deepened their understanding of a particular area of American Studies.

In fall of their junior year, students should meet with the Student Affairs Officer and/or Faculty Advisor to select a topic for the Emphasis Plan. Students should then make an appointment with the Faculty Advisor who will approve the plan, or ask for revisions. Upon approval, this Emphasis Plan will be kept in students' advising file. This plan is tentative because students are free to renegotiate their topic with the undergraduate advisor at any time. Students may also delay deciding whether they will take the Senior Capstone option. It is a good idea to consult with the Student Affairs Officer each quarter to be sure your plan is up-to-date. Please note that the Emphasis Plan must be on file before you can be certified for graduation.

In consultation with the Student Affairs Officer and the Faculty Advisor, you select five upper-division courses organized around a single theme or focus in American culture. You should draw these courses from two or more departments or programs in addition to AMS. In the past, students have created emphases around “Arts in American Culture,” “Women’s Lives,” “Schooling and Society,” “Comparative Ethnic Cultures,” “Access and (Dis)abilities Studies,” “Mass Communication,” “Law and Society,” and many other themes. This list is only suggestive, and you will find your advisor helpful in creating an emphasis that suits your educational and career goals.

  • Emphasis Plan Narrative Submission
  • Submit your Emphasis Plan Narrative no later than the quarter before your intended graduation via our AMS Emphasis Plan Form
  • Emphasis Plan Examples
  • Prior to submitting your Emphasis Plan Narrative, we recommend you review Emphasis Plan Examples to gain a better understanding of what is expected for the narrative portion of the plan.