FAQs for Current and Prospective Majors

FOR MAJORS:

Am I assigned to one of the Faculty Advisors for American Studies majors? No, American Studies majors are not assigned to nor limited to just one Faculty Advisor. You may talk to, meet with, and work with any or all of the Faculty Advisors throughout your time in the major — it is up to you! You can find the list of current Faculty Advisors and information about their office hours on our website.

Can I transfer coursework from community college, study abroad, and/or another university to fulfill major requirements? Yes: if you are a junior transfer student, you may use courses from your community college to fulfill all of the lower-division courses EXCEPT American Studies 10, which must be taken at UC Berkeley. For upper-division coursework, please speak with a Faculty Advisor.

Can I take a course for my Area of Concentration requirement that I didn’t include on my paperwork when I declared? Yes! Students frequently adjust their Area of Concentration courses. Please speak with a Faculty Advisor to make sure the course is approved for your Area before you enroll in the course.

Can I take all six of my Area of Concentration classes in the same department? No. The six Area of Concentration classes must come from three or more departments, and you can take a maximum of three classes from any single department. (For example, your Area of Concentration may include two History courses, two Sociology courses, and two Ethnic Studies courses — but it may NOT include four Sociology courses and two Ethnic Studies courses.)

For my senior thesis, should I enroll in American Studies 191, 190, or H195? All three of these courses are senior thesis courses, but they each function slightly differently. American Studies 191 is our standard senior thesis seminar that most of our majors take. American Studies H195 is the honors senior thesis seminar; to enroll in H195, you must have a minimum GPA of 3.65 in the major and 3.5 overall. Virtually all majors will take either 191 or H195; American Studies 190 is an independent study thesis course used only in unusual circumstances.

Do I have to write my senior thesis in a certain semester? We recommend (but do not require) that students enroll in their senior thesis class during their last semester before graduation. You may opt to take your senior thesis class one semester prior, but unless you have a compelling reason to do so, we recommend waiting until your final semester so that you can draw on all of your major coursework as you design your thesis project. 

Can I take my senior thesis class in the summer? No. We offer senior thesis classes every Fall and Spring semester, but we do not offer thesis classes in the summer.

How can I prepare for my senior thesis before enrolling in my senior thesis class? If you would like to discuss ways to prepare for your thesis and/or do preliminary research, please speak with a Faculty Advisor.

Do I need to take all American Studies major requirements for a letter grade? Yes. Exceptions to this policy in Spring 2021 and earlier semesters due to COVID-19 do not apply for Fall 2021. 

How do I remove an American Studies advising hold in Cal Central so that I can enroll in courses? Please meet with an AS faculty advisor and have them sign and approve an enrollment form for the relevant semester. Please email Laura Spautz, lspautz@berkeley.edu, to request a form.

My Academic Progress Report in Cal Central isn’t accurate. What should I do?  Please email Laura Spautz at lspautz@berkeley.edu

What are the requirements to be eligible for honors in the major? Completion of the American Studies honors thesis course, AS H195; a minimum major GPA of 3.65; and a minimum overall GPA of 3.5

How do I declare a double major with American Studies? Please carefully read through all the double major information on the College of Letters and Science website and email Laura Spautz at lspautz@berkeley.edu to discuss next steps.

Other questions??? Please don’t hesitate to email Laura Spautz – lspautz@berkeley.edu. We look forward to hearing from you!


FOR PROSPECTIVE MAJORS:

I am interested in American Studies but I want to learn more about how the major works and the major requirements. What should I do? A good first step is to meet with one of our Faculty Advisors in their office hours. You can access the list of current Faculty Advisors and their office hours on this page of our website; click on “Faculty Advising” at the top of the page.

I am a junior — is it too late to become an American Studies major? Not at all! Many of our majors declare American Studies during their junior year. Please meet with one of our Faculty Advisors in their office hours to talk about how you can become part of our American Studies community!

Do I have to select my Area of Concentration from the list on the websiteNo, you are not limited to the Areas of Concentration listed on our website — these are just examples to illustrate how the major works. You may choose one of the Areas of Concentration from the website, or you can design your own Area of Concentration in collaboration with a Faculty Advisor. (It is more common for students to design their own path!) If you aren’t sure how to design an Area of Concentration, please speak with a Faculty Advisor.

Can I minor in American Studies? Yes! Learn more about the minor on our website.

Other questions??? Please don’t hesitate to email Laura Spautz – lspautz@berkeley.edu. We look forward to hearing from you!