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The Department of American Studies


Department Resources

Department Honors

The honors program offers an additional opportunity for in-depth study. As an honors student, you will work closely with faculty in a 2-semester, 6-credit course sequence of study that leads to a B.A. with Departmental Honors in American Studies.

In the first semester, honors students enroll in AMST 495 Honors Seminar in American Studies. The seminar blends original research with close reading of faculty work. Students formulate an original research proposal, including a literature review and methodology statement during 495. Since the class is quite small, this seminar provides a wonderful opportunity to work closely, yet informally, with both faculty and other honors students.

In the second semester, honors students enroll in AMST 496 Honors Research. While continuing to discuss research techniques with the faculty, students complete an independent research project, working closely with an AMST faculty advisor, and sharing their progress with the other honors participants.

Students undertaking the honors sequence are encouraged to present their research at Undergraduate Research and Creative Achievement Day (URCAD) during the spring semester.

To be admitted to the honors seminar you must be recommended by an AMST faculty member. Generally, you should have a 3.5 GPA in your AMST courses and should have completed AMST 100 and 290. However, a different mix of qualifications may also be acceptable under certain circumstances. See Dr. Ed Orser for further information, or ask any full-time faculty member for an application form.


The American Studies Department encourages its majors to consider an internship because of its commitment to exploring the intersection between academic analysis and participatory experience. Experiential education provides the opportunity to apply critical concepts to situations outside the classroom; in turn, the internship supplies new questions and hypotheses to bring back to the classroom. The accompanying requirement of a rigorous seminar or tutorial provides an intellectual framework for examining the project and gaining perspective on an aspect of American culture. The internship program helps to prepare students for careers utilizing their major by allowing them to work in appropriate settings, make contacts, explore further career avenues, and add to their professional resumes.

American Studies Department’s Internship Coordinator
Nicole King

All internships have three basic requirements:

  1. 120 hours at your internship. Students are expected to commit 40 hours per credit; for three credits, the student should work 120 hours, approximately 8 hours per week for the length of the semester
  2. Weekly reflective papers in the form of a written journal or a weblog.
  3. A final project relating the internship experience to issues in American Studies. The final project can range from an analytic paper to a multimedia project.

There are two alternatives for American Studies majors interested in internships:

AMST 404: Internship (3 credits)

For students interested in an introductory internship experience, AMST 404 provides a flexible option. Students meet individually with the internship coordinator to discuss their experiences and plan the final project.

AMST 406: Internship Seminar (4 credits)
Fore the seminar students will meet regularly with the internship coordinator and other internship students in the classroom. AMST 406 provides an intellectual framework for the internship and requires readings and small assignments in addition to the final project. During the seminar, students work together to reflect on the connections between theory and practice.

Students must secure their own internships and email the department’s internship coordinator with a description of the internship, duties and task, and contact information of supervision.

Internships undertaken by previous American Students include:

  • WJZ Television
  • Lighthouse Youth Services Center
  • Maryland Historical Society
  • Women: A Journal of Liberation
  • Pikesville Chamber of Commerce
  • Maryland Hall of Records
  • Baltimore Industrial Museum
  • Relay Children's Center
  • Montgomery County Volunteer Bureau
  • Legal Aid
  • American Heart Association
  • Kennedy Institute
  • U.S. Immigration & Naturalization Service
  • The Family Tree
  • Howard County Department of Parks and Recreation
  • Governor's Summer Internship Program
  • Baltimore Clayworks
  • Baltimore City (Children in the Arts)
  • Baltimore Magazine
  • Historic St. Mary's City
  • American Friends Service Committee
  • Baltimore Mayor's Office (TV 21)
  • Easter Seals
  • Baltimore City, Mayor's Office
  • Catonsville Chamber of Commerce
  • Citizen's Against Spousal Abuse of Howard County
  • CHAP, Baltimore City
  • Choice America
  • Fox News Sports Department
  • WHFS (D.C. radio station)
  • Chesapeake Life (magazine)
  • Asian Arts Initiative in New York City
  • Porter Novelli
  • Press Box, a free weekly sports newspaper in Baltimore
  • Public Relations at Devious Planet
  • Baltimore Blast
  • WNST 1570 AM, Baltimore's and Towson's sports talk radio
  • UMBC’s Imaging Research Center (IMC)
  • Retirement Living TV at UMBC’s New Media Studio
  • UMBC Writing Center
  • WPOC 93.1, Clear Channel Baltimore
  • LaxTrack
  • Greenbelt Museum
  • Monotype, LLC., a textbook publishing firm located in Hampden, Baltimore
  • Anne Arundel County Recreation and Parks
  • Stroud and Associates, LLC, a communications firm in Washington, DC
  • Maryland Student PIRG (Public Interest Research Group)

Consult with Nicole King (, the department’s internship coordinator, well in advance of the semester of the internship so that you may determine the appropriate options and find the internship project best suited to your needs.

NOTE: All internships are taken with the Pass/Fail grading option, and therefore cannot be used toward the core or the emphasis area.

Undergraduate Organization

The American Studies Council of Majors is a student organization that enhances the student's intellectual and personal involvement with both the American Studies Department and the campus community through a number of educational and peer-group support activities. The Council works with the AMST faculty to sponsor special events throughout the year, such as panels of alumni in particular careers, assistance with applying to graduate school, films, and social events. The Council also acts as a liaison between the faculty and the majors, providing a vehicle for student participation in decisions that affect the department. The Council is open to all American Studies majors and UMBC students, and can be contacted through its mailbox in the American Studies office, FA 453 or by emailing the faculty advisor Nicole King

Student Awards

Graduating seniors are honored each year at UMBC's Student Recognition Day. The American Studies Department confers the Outstanding Achievement in American Studies Award to students who have demonstrated superior academic performance and significant contributions to school and community. The Joe Tobesman Award recognizes students who exemplify life-long learner Joe Tobesman's enthusiams for learning, generosity of spirit, and contribution to the lives of others. The department also annually selects a major with one or more semesters of study to receive the UMBC Alumni Association's Outstanding Undergraduate Student Award.

International Exchange Program

The AMST Department encourages majors to consider the cross-cultural experiences to be gained by University study abroad. In recent years students have engaged in exchange semesters with such British universities as the University of Wales at Swansea, the University of Wolverhampton, near Birmingham, and DeMontfort University in Leicester, and students from those universities have studied American Studies at UMBC. In developing exchange possibilities, the department cooperates closely with UMBC's Office of International Education.

The Jim Arnquist Fund has been established to assist in the transportation costs of UMBC students participating in the AMST international exchange program.

Campus Resources

Off-Campus Resources

  • The American Studies Association is the nation’s oldest and largest association devoted to the interdisciplinary study of American culture and history.
  • The American Studies Crossroads Project has provided a comprehensive and integrated platform for pedagogical, scholarly, and institutional information for the international American Studies Community.
  • H-Net (Humanities and Social Sciences online) is an international interdisciplinary organization of scholars and teachers dedicated to developing the enormous educational potential of the Internet and the World Wide Web. Our edited lists and web sites publish peer reviewed essays, multimedia materials, and discussion for colleagues and the interested public.
  • The Library of Congress is the nation's oldest federal cultural institution and serves as the research arm of Congress. It is also the largest library in the world, with millions of books, recordings, photographs, maps and manuscripts in its collections.
  • CHNM (The Center for History and New Media) brings history to audiences worldwide by collecting born-digital records of the present, archiving documents of the past, and presenting historical exhibits.
  • American Memory provides free and open access through the Internet to written and spoken words, sound recordings, still and moving images, prints, maps, and sheet music that document the American experience. It is a digital record of American history and creativity.

Undergraduate Research

UMBC's Office of Undergraduate Education encourages undergraduate research and offers several resources to assist students who wish to pursue research efforts at the undergraduate level.

Learn more about Undergraduate Research Opportunities such as funding, presenting and publishing your work.


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The Department of American Studies

1000 Hilltop Circle • 453 Fine Arts Building • Baltimore, Maryland 21250
(410) 455-2106 • (410) 455-1027 fax