American Studies, B.A.

Saint Louis University's American studies program uses film, food, fashion, buildings, sports, popular media, the environment, art, literature and historical texts in order to understand the diverse cultures of the United States and its place in the world in the past and present.

  • American studies is interdisciplinary, using a variety of sources and methods (literature, social science, film and community institutions) to understand American cultures.
  • American studies is global and diverse, paying close attention to international and regional relations, as well as to the variety of racial, ethnic, religious and other communities within and around its borders.
  • American studies is practical, which means the everyday is taken as seriously as the esoteric, and the lessons learned in the classroom are applied to work in communities and public institutions.

As a result, SLU's American studies degree trains students in critical thinking, complex problem solving and clear written and oral communication.  American studies graduates from SLU have experience working in diverse groups and applying their knowledge to the world around them.

These are sought-after skills transferable to a variety of fields. Graduates from SLU's American studies program have gone on to work in higher and secondary education, media and communications, nonprofit organizations, government, political organizing, social work, law, museums and other cultural institutions.

Curriculum Overview

A major in American studies is 30 credits, including ASTD 1000 Intro to American Culture: Movements, Myths, and Methods (3 cr); a breadth requirement entailing one course in each of the three categories of “Contexts: Period and Place,” “Identities: Social Difference and Agency,” and “Practices: Cultural Forms and Interpretive Methods” (9 cr total); and ASTD 4960 Senior Workshop: Crafting the American Studies Thesis (3 cr). The remaining 15 credits are elective courses selected from American studies courses. With the approval of a student’s faculty mentor, up to nine of these elective credits may be fulfilled by relevant courses offered outside of the Department of American Studies. At least one course taken for the major must have the department’s “Community Engagement” attribute.

Fieldwork and Research Opportunities

Internships completed through SLU's American studies program are student-designed in close collaboration with the department's internship supervisor and participating organizations and institutions. Internships count as a three-credit course, requiring 120 hours total, or about eight hours per week. Past students have partnered with the Saint Louis Art Museum, Saint Louis Zoo, Missouri Botanical Garden, International Institute, Missouri History Museum, Circuit Court Records Project, City Museum and Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts, among other sites.


A degree in American studies provides a broad education that prepares graduates for careers that emphasize creative thinking, strong writing, critical analysis, clear communication, skilled research and civic and community engagement.

The following list is just a small sample of jobs for American studies graduates:

  • Archivist
  • Editor
  • Exhibit designer
  • Foundation director
  • Grant writer
  • Historic preservation specialist
  • Journalist
  • Labor organizer
  • Lawyer
  • Librarian
  • Museum curator
  • Nonprofit management
  • Politician
  • Professor
  • Public policy analyst
  • Public relations
  • Social worker
  • Speechwriter
  • Teacher
  • Urban planner

Admission Requirements

Begin Your Application

Saint Louis University also accepts the Common Application.


All applications are thoroughly reviewed with the highest degree of individual care and consideration to all credentials that are submitted. Solid academic performance in college preparatory coursework is a primary concern in reviewing a freshman applicant’s file.

To be considered for admission to any Saint Louis University undergraduate program, applicants must be graduating from an accredited high school, have an acceptable HiSET exam score or take the General Education Development (GED) test. 


Applicants must be a graduate of an accredited high school or have an acceptable score on the GED.

Students who have attempted fewer than 24 semester credits (or 30 quarter credits) of college credit must follow the above freshmen admission requirements. Students who have completed 24 or more semester credits (or 30 quarter credits) of college credit must submit transcripts from all previously attended college(s).

In reviewing a transfer applicant’s file, the Office of Admission holistically examines the student’s academic performance in college-level coursework as an indicator of the student’s ability to meet the academic rigors of Saint Louis University. Where applicable, transfer students will be evaluated on any courses outlined in the continuation standards of their preferred major.

International Applicants

All admission policies and requirements for domestic students apply to international students along with the following:

  • Demonstrate English Language Proficiency
  • Proof of financial support must include:
    • A letter of financial support from the person(s) or sponsoring agency funding the time at Saint Louis University
    • A letter from the sponsor's bank verifying that the funds are available and will be so for the duration of study at the University
  • Academic records, in English translation, of students who have undertaken postsecondary studies outside the United States must include the courses taken and/or lectures attended, practical laboratory work, the maximum and minimum grades attainable, the grades earned or the results of all end-of-term examinations, and any honors or degrees received. WES and ECE transcripts are accepted.


Tuition Cost Per Year
Undergraduate Tuition $52,260

Additional charges may apply. Other resources are listed below:

Net Price Calculator

Information on Tuition and Fees

Miscellaneous Fees

Information on Summer Tuition

Scholarships and Financial Aid

There are two principal ways to help finance a Saint Louis University education:

  • Scholarships: Scholarships are awarded based on academic achievement, service, leadership and financial need.
  • Financial Aid: Financial aid is provided through grants and loans, some of which require repayment.

Saint Louis University makes every effort to keep our education affordable. In fiscal year 2022, 99% of first-time freshmen and 90% of all students received financial aid and students received more than $445 million in aid University-wide.

For priority consideration for merit-based scholarships, apply for admission by December 1 and complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by March 1.

For information on other scholarships and financial aid, visit

  1. Graduates will explain the contexts—historical, political—geographic, literary, artistic, social, or intellectual—that shape American cultural practices, expressions, or ideas.
  2. Graduates will assess how American cultural practices, expressions, or ideas are constructed by or interpreted though frameworks of nation, class, race, gender, ability, or sexuality.
  3. Graduates will synthesize two or more disciplinary approaches in analyses of American cultural practices, expressions, or ideas.
  4. Graduates will effectively articulate arguments and information about American cultural practices, expressions, and ideas. 
  5. Graduates will demonstrate the ability to bridge academic concerns with American cultural practices, expressions, and ideas and the concerns of broader public life.

American Studies students must complete a minimum total of 30 credits for the major.

University Undergraduate Core32-35
Major Requirements
Introductory American Studies Course
ASTD 1000Intro to American Culture: Movements, Myths, and Methods3
Breadth Requirement9
Students must take at least one 3-credit course in each of the following attribute categories: “Contexts: Period and Place,” “Identities: Social Difference and Agency” and “Practices: Cultural Forms and Interpretive Methods.”
Examples of courses with a "Contexts" attribute include the following:
Americans Abroad
American Places
American Decades
Making the American City
The Urban Crisis
Examples of courses with an "Identities" attribute include the following:
American Identities
Gender, Race, and Social Justice
American Incarceration
Religion & American Culture
Examples of courses with a "Practices" attribute include the following:
Studies in American Photography
Sports in American Culture
American Mosaic: Literature & Diversity
American Soundscapes
American Studies Elective Courses15
Students are encouraged to work with their faculty mentors to devise a thematic or disciplinary emphasis for their American Studies elective credits; with approval of a student’s faculty mentor, up to nine of these credits may be fulfilled by relevant courses offered outside the Department of American Studies.
Capstone Course3
Senior Capstone
Community Engagement
Examples of courses with a "Community Engagement" attribute include the following:
Internship in American Studies
An approved service-learning course
General Electives55-58
Total Credits120

Continuation Standards

Students who pursue a major in American studies must earn a 2.00 GPA in the courses approved for completion of the major. If a student's major GPA drops below 2.00, the student will be placed on academic program probation within the department. A student may remain on academic probation for no more than two consecutive semesters, or for three semesters total, before being dismissed from the major.

Graduation Requirements

  • Complete a minimum of 120 credits (excluding pre-college level courses numbered below 1000).
  • Complete the University Undergraduate Core curriculum requirements.
  • Complete major requirements: minimum of 30 credits required.
  • Complete remaining credits with a second major, minor, certificate and/or electives to reach the minimum of 120 credits required for graduation.
  • Achieve at least a 2.00 cumulative grade point average, a 2.00 grade point average in the major(s), and a 2.00 grade point average in the minor/certificate, or related elective credits.
  • Complete department-/program-specific academic and performance requirements.
  • Complete at least 50% of the coursework for the major and 75% for the minor/certificate through Saint Louis University or an approved study abroad program.
  • Complete 30 of the final 36 credits through Saint Louis University or an approved study abroad program.
  • Complete an online degree application by the required University deadline.

Roadmaps are recommended semester-by-semester plans of study for programs and assume full-time enrollment unless otherwise noted.  

Courses and milestones designated as critical (marked with !) must be completed in the semester listed to ensure a timely graduation. Transfer credit may change the roadmap.

This roadmap should not be used in the place of regular academic advising appointments. All students are encouraged to meet with their advisor/mentor each semester. Requirements, course availability and sequencing are subject to change.

Plan of Study Grid
Year One
ASTD 1000 Intro to American Culture: Movements, Myths, and Methods * 3
CORE 1000 Ignite First Year Seminar (Must be taken in first 36 credit hours at SLU / Cannot carry attributes) 2-3
CORE 1500 Cura Personalis 1: Self in Community (Must be taken in first 36 credit hours at SLU / Cannot carry attributes) 1
CORE 1900 Eloquentia Perfecta 1: Written and Visual Communication (Should be taken in first 36 credit hours at SLU / Cannot carry attributes) 3
General Electives 6-5
ASTD "Practices"Breadth Requirement 3
CORE 3200 Ways of Thinking: Quantitative Reasoning (Should be taken in first 45 credit hours at SLU) 3
CORE 1600 Ultimate Questions: Theology 3
General Electives 6
Year Two
ASTD "Contexts"Breadth Requirement 3
CORE 1200 Eloquentia Perfecta 2: Oral and Visual Communication 3
CORE 1700 Ultimate Questions: Philosophy 3
General Electives 6
ASTD "Identities"Breadth Requirement 3
CORE 3800 Ways of Thinking: Natural and Applied Sciences 3
CORE 2500 Cura Personalis 2: Self in Contemplation (Cannot carry attributes) 0
General Electives 9
Year Three
ASTD Electives 6
CORE 2800 Eloquentia Perfecta 3: Creative Expression (taken any time) 2-3
CORE 3400 Ways of Thinking: Aesthetics, History, and Culture (taken any time) 3
General Electives 4-3
ASTD Elective 3
ASTD 3910 Internship in American Studies (or another course with an ASTD “Community Engagement” attribute) 3
CORE 3600 Ways of Thinking: Social and Behavioral Sciences (taken any time) 3
CORE 4000 Collaborative Inquiry 2-3
General Electives 4-3
Year Four
ASTD Elective 3
CORE 3500 Cura Personalis 3: Self in the World (May be added to a capstone for the major / Cannot carry attributes) 1
General Electives 11
ASTD 4960 Senior Workshop: Crafting the American Studies Thesis 3
ASTD Elective 3
General Electives 9
 Total Credits120

Fulfills University Undergraduate Core requirements in Ways of Thinking: History, Aesthetics, & Literature and in Equity and Global Identities: Identities in Context.

Program Notes

American studies is an interdisciplinary field; as a result, many ASTD courses satisfy requirements for the University Undergraduate Core (UUC). Various ASTD courses fulfill UUC requirements including the following: Ways of Thinking: Aesthetics, History, and Culture; Ways of Thinking: Social and Behavioral Sciences; Identities in Context; and Dignity, Ethics, and a Just Society. American studies majors may count courses for both their major requirements and core curriculum requirements, which would modify the roadmap above.

With the approval of a major’s faculty mentor, nine of the “ASTD Elective” credits required for the major may be fulfilled by relevant courses offered outside the Department of American Studies.