Interdisciplinary Majors

Course work and faculty for the following majors are drawn from several different departments. Students with specific questions regarding these majors should contact the respective program director or the registrar for further information.

American Studies

The American studies major, by examining the development of a national culture from several perspectives, provides students whose interests transcend the offerings of single departments a wide cultural background in American life. The student is helped to arrive at an interdisciplinary perspective and to explore historical and ideological relationships through thematic motif and typological study. The major offers an excellent liberal education and can serve as preparation for high school teaching in the social sciences, American literature and American history; it also can provide a sound basis for graduate study in fields such as literature, history, American studies, law, etc. Students who choose the major may also enter museum work.

Requirements for Major

  • A student satisfies the requirements for the American studies major by successfully completing 11 units as follows:
  • History 101--American Dreams and Realities. (This course is the introductory course for American studies.)
  • Nine units chosen from existing departmental offerings: English--a minimum of three units related to American literature; history--a minimum of three units including at least one unit in U.S. history before 1877 and at least one unit in U.S. history after 1877; three units related to American life with at least one unit in the social sciences chosen from anthropology and sociology, art, communication studies, economics, music, philosophy, political science, religion, theatre.
  • American Studies 412--Directed Study. An interdisciplinary directed study dealing in a written, oral or visual manner with American life and culture.

Ethnic Studies

Information on the ethnic studies major is given under that heading in the departmental listings.

International Studies

Information on the international studies major is given under that heading in the departmental listings.

Public Policy

The public policy major allows students to get a broad background in the social sciences, while getting institutional knowledge and analytic tools relevant to current domestic public policy debates. The major prepares students for careers in government or for private-sector careers related to government policy. It also provides good preparation for students planning on attending law school or earning a master's degree in public policy, public administration, public health or social policy.

Requirements for Major

  • Five units: Economics and Management 101 or 101H, 230 or 230H, and 322 (or the Political Science equivalent of 322); Political Science 101 and 216.
  • One unit in statistics chosen from among Economics and Management 235, Mathematics 109 and Mathematics 210.
  • One unit in research methods chosen from among Anthropology and Sociology 224, Economics and Management 379 and Political Science 201 and 371.
  • Two units, which must be taken in two different departments, chosen from the following restricted electives related to public policy:
    Anthropology and Sociology 345, 370
    Economics and Management 232, 271, 273, 323, 331, 351, 353, 354, 375
    History 348
    Philosophy 304
    Political Science 214, 220, 263, 308, 319
    one or two units of approved selected topics courses or seminars (Anthropology and Sociology, Economics and Management, or Political Science 289, 389, or 402)
    one unit of an approved internship (Anthropology and Sociology, Economics and Management, or Political Science 392)
    one unit of an approved directed study (Anthropology and Sociology, Economics and Management, or Political Science 412)
  • A substantial paper and an oral presentation on a topic related to public policy. This paper and presentation will be completed as part of the requirements for Economics and Management 322 or the Political Science equivalent.

Students who enroll in the Washington Semester program at the American University can receive up to two units of credit toward the requirements of the public policy major, subject to the approval of the chair of the Public Policy Committee.

Women's and Gender Studies

Information on the women's and gender studies major is given under that heading in the departmental listings.