A student enrolled in a PhD program in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at Harvard may achieve formal recognition for completing a secondary field in American Studies. The interdisciplinary breadth of American Studies, and its wide-ranging subject matter, make it an attractive secondary field for students from many departments, including English, history, economics, history of art and architecture, music, film and visual studies, religion, anthropology, sociology, and psychology.

The American Studies program spans all aspects of American culture, often with a comparative focus, from European colonization to the present, and it includes a wide range of sources, methods, and theories. Over the last ten years, Ph.D. students from other disciplines have enrolled in the American Studies Colloquium and/or the Warren Center seminar, and they have incorporated into their dissertations sources and approaches from American Studies.


  1. Completion of a minimum of four half-course (semester-long) courses.  All four courses must be
    1. taken with a member of the Committee on Higher Degrees in American Studies,
    2. chosen from catalog sections headed "Primarily for Graduates," and
    3. taken outside the student’s home department.
  2. One of these courses must be American Studies 200 or 201 (American Studies Colloquia).
  3. Another of these courses must be a seminar requiring a major research paper.
  4. The remaining two may include the American Studies Colloquium (200 or 201) not taken under '2,' above, but this second American Studies Colloquium is not required.
  5. Neither pass/fail nor audited courses will count towards a secondary Ph.D. field in this department.

Advising and Record-keeping

Students interested in declaring a secondary field in the American Studies should meet with both the chair and administrator of the program (617-495-3325; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; Barker Center 225). Upon successful completion of the course requirements detailed above, the student should submit evidence thereof to the American Studies administrator. Upon approval by the American Studies chair, the student and the registrar will be notified that the secondary field requirements have been completed.