The American Experience

Our history, culture, society and global impact.


The American studies degree is only offered at OSU’s campus in Bend.



Stories matter. Top global economists say we need more people who can translate complex information into human stories.


Critical thinking is the #1 skill sought after by employers according to NACE.

About the Degree

What does it mean to be American? Our nation is young, yet deeply complex in its history and societal culture. It’s a country in transition and ever-evolving.

In the American studies program, you’ll work with faculty with expertise in literature, history, politics and art, as you take courses in the humanities and social sciences. They’ll bring you a diversity of perspectives that will help you understand the American experience and develop the ability to think critically, globally and democratically, and to communicate persuasively.

Undergraduate Degrees

Bachelor of Arts in American Studies
Bachelor of Science in American Studies

  • Degree Requirements
  • American studies majors select at least one specialty option to complete their major requirements

Options in the American Studies Major

This option brings the skills and methodologies taught in the American studies core to bear, especially on how identities are embedded in American publics, languages, communities and literatures. It investigates the role of key elements such as race, class, gender, national origin, sexual orientation and social justice in the formation and understanding of American culture and identities.

In this option, students focus on the role of the built and natural environments in American culture. Both play a crucial part in the creation, continuity, and success or failure of American communities. This option studies the role of American cultures in their relation to the physical environment and the consequences of that relationship on local, national and global scales. The intersections of social justice and environmental justice are key elements of investigation.

American studies electives selected with your advisor to reach 21 credits, from the following disciplines: American studies, anthropology, communication, English, history, political science, and writing.

American Studies is an excellent pathway to legal studies. This option provides a key knowledge base for students who wish to apply to law school. This option teaches student to demonstrate ability to identify specific cultural tensions arising around freedoms protected by the first, second, and fourteenth amendments to the constitution. Students will articulate key concepts and events in American cultural history and their global impact.


A Strong Foundation for Your Future

The skills you’ll learn will help you navigate our information society and issues about equity, the natural environment and cultural diversity – and even spark new thinking and practices. Our alumni have gone on to work in business, education, the arts, law, medicine and politics – and pursued graduate programs in teaching, writing and other fields. Learn more.


Considering Law School?

After seeing families lose everything during the Great Recession, Andrew Ince set out to be the best attorney money could buy — for those who couldn't afford it. He earned a degree in American studies from OSU-Cascades and continued on to law school. He now works as an attorney in Bend.

Many of our students plan to apply for law school after graduating and American studies is a great place to start.

Sample Courses

A Cultural History of American Art and Literature
Intro to US Government
Intro to Sociology
Studies in Nonfiction
Political Thought
American Literature, Culture, the Environment
Native American Literature
Modern Political Thought
Environmental Law and Politics

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Contact Us

We're here to help! Future students can connect with an OSU-Cascades admissions advisor for admission and program questions.