BGSU American Culture Studies students critically examine the interaction of culture, institutions and society.
  • m
  • B
  • Minor
  • Bachelor's

American Culture Studies

The BGSU American Culture Studies (ACS) program asks eternal questions in new ways and new questions using various disciplines.

What is the meaning of America, and what is the role of the United States to us and the world? How has that meaning changed over time? How do we understand it from different perspectives, depending upon our gender, race, class, or ethnicity?

In our courses, internships, research and capstone experiences, our students and faculty ask and answer these questions.

ACS courses help students to develop the skills appropriate for the study and appreciation of American culture in all of its diversity. The program enables students to integrate the substance of other disciplines into coherent patterns reflecting the complexity of American life and our national heritage.

Thinking critically about culture

American culture studies is the BGSU flagship program for interdisciplinary study in the humanities and social sciences at Bowling Green State University and a leading international innovator in cultural studies. 

From its inception, the ACS program had a strong interdisciplinary focus, drawing faculty from across the BGSU campus and attracting students from across the U.S. and world.

By doing so, our students develop skills highly valued by employers that serve them in the careers that they follow beyond BGSU. Students gain critical thinking skills, learn to analyze a range of sources, qualitative research, public speaking, clear writing and, just as important, nuanced ways of understanding the changing culture in which we live and work.

The ACS program encourages healthy interaction and debate among different schools, departments and groups. Toward that end, the department actively collaborates with the other units within the School of Cultural and Critical Studies: Department of Popular Culture, the Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies Program and the Department of Ethnic Studies

The program also draws on interdisciplinary collaborations with faculty in art, English, history, media and communication, philosophy, political science, theatre and film, sociology, sport and leisure studies and other units across BGSU.

Stand Out in courses like

  • Cultural Pluralism in the United States
  • Interpretations of American Culture
  • Intersections of Race, Gender & Culture
  • Gender, Race & Culture in Community-Based Practice
  • Qualitative Research Methods
  • Rock Music Subcultures
  • Animation in Film & TV: Gender &Race
  • Social Media & Social Justice

Curriculum

The BGSU American culture studies program is an interdisciplinary, holistic study of American culture, society and institutions. It offers students an individual tailored program to critically explore the diverse cultural and intellectual traditions that have shaped and defined American culture. 

The ACS program prepares students to do in-depth research and perform interdisciplinary critical analysis of the complex experiences and identities associated with American life and culture.

As part of the School of Cultural and Critical Studies (CCS), all ACS majors take a rigorous core curriculum in their junior and senior years that consists of a theory course (CCS 3030: Intersections of Gender, Race & Culture), a service-learning course (CCS 3710 Gender, Race & Culture in Community-Based Practice), a research methods course (CCS 4850: Qualitative Research Methods), and a writing course (CCS 4860: Capstone Seminar).

Taking the courses with other majors across CCS helps students develop a stronger sense of community and interdisciplinary connection. ACS minors are welcome to take these courses as well.

Writing, research, analysis, presentation and discussion are key skills developed in the ACS program. 

The program challenges students to consider the role of mass media in the formation of cultural identity. It also invites students to explore how American identity has been historically gendered and racialized in myths of nation-making, nationalism and national identity. 

Additionally, we encourage students to consider these struggles over identity in their larger transnational and diasporic contexts. 

American Studies was voted #11 of the 25 most lucrative undergraduate degrees in the March 2019 issue of Kiplinger’s magazine.

Career

BGSU American culture studies graduates find employment in journalism, editing, publishing and public relations. They are attractive candidates for non-profit and community service organizations, government agencies (at the national, state and local levels), libraries and historical and cultural museums. 

For students considering careers in law, business, ministry, or other related fields, American Culture Studies offers a broad interdisciplinary background supplemented by specialized courses to enhance entry into these fields. 

As part of their studies, BGSU American Culture Studies students develop skills that are useful in such fields as urban and regional planning, environmental analysis, cultural and historical preservation, and archival management.

Students planning on graduate studies will find that American Culture Studies prepares them for entry into graduate programs in American studies, cultural studies, literature, history, anthropology, folklore, art history, women’s studies, ethnic studies and other culturally-oriented courses of study.

The School of Cultural and Critical Studies advisor works with students to identify an internship site and supervisor, and establish a work schedule. The advisor approves internship plans and evaluates the student’s internship paper or report. American culture studies students often pursue internships at area museums, magazines and journals, non-profit organization and other institutions.

Go Far in your career

  • Community Organizer 
  • Nonprofit Administrator
  • Academic Researcher
  • Advocate or Activist
  • Public Relations Specialist
  • Anthropologist
  • Archivist 
  • Journalist 
  • Museum Curator
  • Urban Planner 

The B.A. and M.A. in American Studies were the first two non-departmental, interdisciplinary degrees offered at BGSU.

Institute for the Study of Culture & Society

The Institute for the Study of Culture & Society (ICS) is a public humanities hub at Bowling Green State University. Its aim is to encourage innovation in the arts, humanities, and social sciences, and to communicate the value and significance of that work to the wider public.

Culture Club

The Culture Club is a student organization that promotes the critical study of culture, society, media, and history. Working collaboratively with graduate students across the university, the group coordinates an annual graduate student conference that brings together students, scholars and activists from Bowling Green State University, the Great Lakes region, the nation, and around the world to engage in dialogue of cultural studies.

Finding Your Voice in Social Justice Learning Community

In the Finding Your Voice in Social Justice Learning Community, you will learn about activating social change from university and community leaders and organizers.  We will introduce you to campus resources and help you foster connections with other students, faculty, BGSU leaders and community organizers.

We hope to create bridges between home and campus communities through these efforts, build connections among students, and connect students to resources available in BGSU.  

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the baccalaureate degree, students in American Culture Studies are expected to:

  • Think in an interdisciplinary way, drawing on holistic, critical and connective models of analysis;
  • Communicate orally and in writing about the cultural contexts of human expression and behavior;
  • Discuss the multicultural and pluralistic nature of American culture and develop an appreciation for the diversity of our national cultural heritage;
  • Investigate relationships between theories of culture and various cultural traditions.

Bowling Green State University [BGSU] is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. BGSU has been accredited by the Higher Learning Commission since 01/01/1916. The most recent reaffirmation of accreditation was received in 2012-2013. Questions should be directed to the Office of Institutional Effectiveness.

More information on accreditation

Bowling Green State University programs leading to licensure, certification and/or endorsement, whether delivered online, face-to-face or in a blended format, satisfy the academic requirements for those credentials set forth by the State of Ohio.

Requirements for licensure, certification and/or endorsement eligibility vary greatly from one profession to another and from state to state. The American Culture Studies program does not lead to professional licensure.

More information on professional licensure

Under the Higher Education Act Title IV disclosure requirements, an institution must provide current and prospective students with information about each of its programs that prepares students for gainful employment in a recognized occupation.

The American Culture Studies program is not a recognized occupation that requires a Gainful Employment disclosure.



* Job placement and salary information was compiled by the Office of Academic Assessment through the Graduation Survey from AY2015-2018. The data are gathered around the time of Commencement and a follow-up survey six months post Commencement. For the salary question, data for programs with fewer than fifteen responses are not included. Salaries for those programs are from the National Association of Colleges and Employers Summer 2019 Survey. For questions regarding the data, contact assessment@bgsu.edu.