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University of Massachusetts Amherst

University of Massachusetts Amherst

English Department

Letter of Specialization in American Studies

A Letter of Specialization is conferred on students who successfully complete the following program of courses.

Students must complete a minimum of six courses with a minimum grade of "C" of which one must be a thesis, senior seminar, or internship.

Please note that the availability of courses varies semester to semester; see the University course listings for each semester.



1) English 279 Introduction to American Studies

The course is an interdisciplinary approach to the study of American culture. Focus on issues of race, gender, and ethnicity. Readings drawn from literature, history, the social sciences, philosophy, and fine arts. Supplemented with audio-visual materials--films, slides of paintings, architecture, photography, and material culture, and music.


2) One or two courses in American literature within the English Department

English 204 Introduction to Asian American Studies English 270 American Identities English 271 Early American Literature English 272 American Romanticism English 273 American Realism English 368 Modern American Drama English 374 20th Century American Literature English 375 American Poetry English 376 American Ethnic Fiction English 378 American Women Writers English 391B Jewish-American Literature and Culture English 480H U.S. Story Cycles English 491H Honors Imagining Democracy English 491T America's Fictions English 492B Native American Literature

Other courses may be accepted with pre-approval from Professor Ronald Welburn, 479 Bartlett,


3) Two or three additional courses in American culture from at least two other departments

Afroam 222 The Black Church in America
Afroam 234 Literature of the Harlem Renaissance
Afroam 236 History of the Civil Rights Movement
Afroam 257 Afro-American Novel
Afroam262 The Radical Tradition in American History
Afroam 264 Foundations of Black Education in the U.S.
Afroam 290C The Blues Came Down Like Night Showers of Rain
Afroam 290D Afro-American Poetry: Beginning to 1900
Afroam 326 Black Women in U.S. History
Afroam 331Life and Writing of W.E.B. DuBois
Afroam 345 Southern Literature
Afroam 350 African American Islam
Afroam 390A Jazz and Blues Literature
Afroam 390C Afro-American Literature of the 1930's
Afroam 390E Race, Ethnicity and Gender in U.S. History
Anthro 270 North American Indians
Anthro 369 North American Archaeology
Anthro 370 Contemporary Issues: North American Indians
Art 328 American Art I
Art 329 American Art II
Comm 497A Native American Cultures and Communication
Comp-Lit: 391A Comics in North America
Econ 362 American Economic History
Educ 291 Diversity and Change in American Education
History 360 American Colonial History to 1763
History 361 American Revolutionary Era
History 363 The Civil War Era
History 368 U.S. Between the Wars
History 369 The U.S. SInce Pearl Harbor
History 372 American Thought and Culture I
History 373 American Thought and Culture II
History 374 U.S. Constitutional History I
History 375 U.S. Constitutional History II
History 379 American Westward Expansion
History 381 The U.S. and the Cold War, 1917-1990
History 382 The City in Modern U.S. History
History 383 American Environmental History
History 388 U.S. Women's History to 1890
History 389 U.S. Women's History since 1890
History 433 U.S. Science and Technology II: From Edison to the Bomb
Italian 450 Italian-American Film: Visions of Everyday Violence
Italian 497B The Italian-American Experience
Judaic 375 The Jewish Experience in America
Judaic 391B Jewish-American Literature
Judaic 393B Comic Art in North America
Judaic 393J American Jewish History
Legal Studies 333 Law and Culture in America
Philosophy 334 American Philosophy
PoliSci 201 American Politics through Film
PoliSci 203 American Political Thought
PoliSci 302 The American Presidency
Sociol 220 Sociology of American Culture
Spanish 550 Spanish American Literature to Independence
Spanish 551 Spanish American Lit from Independence to Modernism
Spanish 553 Spanish American Poetry Since Modernism
Spanish 554 Modern Spanish American Drama
Spanish 555 Spanish American Prose Fiction - 20th Century
Spanish 558 The Spanish American Essay
Theater 330 American Repertory
Theater 331 African American Repertory
Women's Studies 297 Special Topics - Asian American Women or Afro-American Women in the Civil Rights Movement
Women's Studies 392-395 Seminars - Latin American Feminisms or U.S. Women's Lives in Context: Reading and Creating Political Autobiography

Other courses may be accepted with pre-approval from Professor Ronald Welburn, 479 Bartlett,


4) One of the following: a thesis; a senior seminar in American Studies; an internship