Jul 25, 2024  
2019-2020 University Catalog 
2019-2020 University Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

American Studies, Department of

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Department Chair

Leila Zenderland

Department Office/Website

Gordon Hall 313


Dustin Abnet, Jesse Battan, Sara Fingal, Adam Golub, Eric Gonzaba, John Ibson, Alison Kanosky, Carrie Lane, Elaine Lewinnek, Kristin Rowe, Terri Snyder, Susie Woo, Leila Zenderland


American Studies gives students a thorough understanding of the past and present nature of American culture and society. Three central features of our approach are: (1) an emphasis on the analysis of culture - that shared system of beliefs, behaviors, symbols and material objects through which Americans give meaning to their lives; (2) examination of dominant cultural patterns, as well as the diversity of cultures in America; and (3) an interdisciplinary perspective that uses both the social sciences and humanities.

Besides providing a rich liberal arts education, training in the major develops skills in writing and analysis, and strengthens the ability to recognize connections among complex materials and diverse phenomena. American Studies graduates enter careers in business, communications, government service, law, social services and teaching. The major also provides students with a stong background for graduate work in the field or in related fields.

Degree Descriptions

American Studies teaches students to analyze American culture and society in the past and present. By combining methods from different disciplines, it provides students with a broad and deep understanding of how American culture developed.  Students learn to think from multiple perspectives, to evaluate different kinds of cultural evidence, to appreciate American cultural diversity, and to express their ideas more effectively both orally and in writing. American Studies graduates often use these skills to pursue careers in education, communications, entertainment, business, government, law and social services.

The M.A. program in American Studies prepares students to: analyze cultural processes in history; examine cultural evidence with theoretical sophistication; carry out original interdisciplinary research at an advanced level; and communicate ideas persuasively. Many CSUF M.A. graduates continue on to doctoral programs. Many others choose careers in community college or high school teaching, educational administration, library science, journalism and media, business or government and social services.

Learning Goals and Student Learning Outcomes

Teaching Credential

Because American Studies is interdisciplinary, the major may be effectively combined with subject matter studies necessary for either the multiple subject teaching credential (K-8) or single subject credential (7-12) in History/Social Science. Students may also use the major towards earning an Undergraduate TESOL Professional Certficate. Undergraduates are encouraged to work with the Center for Careers in Teaching (657-278-7130) as early as possible in their academic careers to plan efficient course selections for general education, the major and electives. With careful planning, it may be possible to enter the credential program in the senior year of the bachelor’s degree. Postgraduate students should contact the Admission to Teacher Education office in the College of Education (657-278-3352) to obtain information on attending an overview presentation.

Double Major in American Studies

A double major in American Studies is often simple to arrange, since it allows for up to 12 units of coursework in the department of the other major to be used to complete the requirements of our major.

Programs and Courses Offered


    Bachelor of ArtsMaster of ArtsNon-Degree


      American Studies

      Courses are designated as AMST in the class schedule.

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