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Master Syllabus

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Administrative Unit: History and Political Science Department
Course Prefix and Number: AMST 490
Course Title: American Studies Senior Seminar
Number of:
Credit Hours 3
Lecture Hours 3
Lab Hours 0
Catalog Description: A seminar course required as a culminating experience prior to graduating for all
seniors majoring in American Studies. The seminar enables students to practice the various theories and methods for the academic study of the American experience. The goals
of the seminar are to help students attain information and conceptual tools needed for graduate work in American Studies, and to assess the achievement of the learning goals for the undergraduate major. To accomplish the first goal, students become familiar with the field of American Studies by reading and discussing a major work chosen by the instructor. To assess achievement of learning goals for the undergraduate major, students contribute to the field’s literature by conducting original research on a topic of relevance to American Studies and composing a substantial paper on that topic. Prerequisite: Junior standing.
Prerequisite(s) / Corequisite(s): Junior standing.
Course Rotation for Day Program: Occasional offering.
Text(s): Most current editions of the following:

Instructors must choose one text to be used as the
foundation of classroom discussion. Instructors may use
texts not included in the following list with the approval of the academic department. Acceptable texts are:

Locating American Studies: The Evolution of a Discipline
By Maddox, Lucy (The Johns Hopkins Press)
The American Studies Anthology
By Horwitz, Richard (Scholarly Resources)
New American Studies
By Rowe, John Carlos (University of Minnesota Press)
The Futures of American Studies
By Pease, Donald (Duke University Press)
Course Objectives The goals of the seminar are to help students attain
information and conceptual tools needed for graduate
work in American Studies, and to assess the achievement
of the learning goals for the undergraduate major.

In consultation with their instructor, students must choose a research topic of relevance for the American Studies. Students should then present a critical summary of research materials and literature related to that topic and a substantial analytical paper that posits and develops a thesis. The body of the final paper must be 15-20 pages in length and must include proper citations using the style appropriate for the topic. Papers focusing on Sociology or Political Science, for example, should be written following
APA requirements. History papers should be written in
Chicago style.

Copies of all final drafts of senior papers must be sent to the Department of History and Social Sciences on the home campus to be used for review by the proper
accrediting bodies.
Topical Outline: Determined by the text chosen by the instructor.
Culminating Experience Statement:

During this course the ETS Proficiency Profile may be administered.  This 40-minute standardized test measures learning in general education courses.  The results of the tests are used by faculty to improve the general education curriculum at the College.


Recommended maximum class size for this course: 25

Library Resources:

Online databases are available at You may access them from off-campus using your CougarTrack login and password when prompted.

Prepared by: David Roebuck Date: April 2, 2008
NOTE: The intention of this master course syllabus is to provide an outline of the contents of this course, as specified by the faculty of Columbia College, regardless of who teaches the course, when it is taught, or where it is taught. Faculty members teaching this course for Columbia College are expected to facilitate learning pursuant to the course objectives and cover the subjects listed in the topical outline. However, instructors are also encouraged to cover additional topics of interest so long as those topics are relevant to the course's subject. The master syllabus is, therefore, prescriptive in nature but also allows for a diversity of individual approaches to course material.

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