American studies explores the dynamics of cultural experience and aspects of everyday life in our diverse nation, such as popular culture, fine arts, institutions, values, and gender and ethnic relations.

Why Iowa?

Iowa's Department of American Studies is known for its individualized approach to undergraduate study. About 30 students currently major in American studies, which allows for a high degree of personal attention. Faculty are dedicated advisers, helping students develop study plans that suit their academic interests in a variety of areas, including:

  • Ethnicity and diversity
  • Art and literature
  • Politics and everyday life
  • Sustainability and the environment
  • Sport and popular amusements
Admission Requirements

Students interested in this major need to meet the requirements for admission to the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

 Information

Major(s)
American Studies
BA
Minor(s)
American Studies
Focus Areas
Ethnic Studies
Popular Culture
Politics and Everyday Life
Politics of Nature
Sport and Popular Amusements
  Honors Courses
  Four-Year Graduation Plan
Admission Process

Careers and Outcomes

Iowa graduates have a 95 percent job/grad school placement rate within six months of graduation. Our Pomerantz Career Center offers multiple resources to help students find internships and jobs. 

American studies students have interned at a number of local agencies, including the State Historical Society of Iowa, the University of Iowa Museum of Art, the Iowa Humanities Board, Living History Farms, the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum, and the Putnam Museum. Internships in social agencies, government, or business also may be arranged.

Graduates are well prepared for careers in areas such as business, education, arts and museum administration, government, journalism, and social services. The program also provides a good foundation for graduate or professional studies.

Student Opportunities

In addition to more than 500 Student Organizations, Iowa students choose from more than 100 Study Abroad Programs and multiple Undergraduate Research Opportunities.

  Scholarships

The University of Iowa provides a variety of scholarships to eligible undergraduate students through the Iowa Scholarship Portal. Scholarships are available to first-year, transfer, and currently enrolled students. For additional details on scholarships for your program of study, check directly with the department or college. 

The Office of Admissions and the Office of Student Financial Aid are great resources for students seeking scholarships. 

Course Work

Course work includes classes on American history and identity and stresses broad training in cultural analysis and communication. When you declare American Studies as your major, you’ll select one of these standard focus areas or work with your adviser to design one of your own. 

  • Ethnic Studies, Diversity, and Differences considers how social differences shape institutions and cultural practices in the United States.
  • American Arts, Literature, and Popular Culture examines artistic creations, discovering how they are shaped by cultural preconceptions, norms, and standards and how they affect developments in cultural life.
  • American Society, Politics, and Everyday Life considers the dynamics of social change, the emergence and fate of political movements, and the roles of family, workplace, and community in everyday life. 
  • Politics of Nature: Environment, Sustainability, and Landscape explores how Americans have shaped and regarded the natural environment, including the impact of industrialization and urban growth on the environment and the growing sustainability movement.
  • Sport and Popular Amusements looks at all forms and levels of various sports, recreational activities, and popular amusements enjoyed in the United States. 

All students who wish to earn a bachelor's degree in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences must complete the GE CLAS Core requirements. 

See American Studies in the UI General Catalog to learn more about the American Studies major or minor and graduating with honors.