Program Overview:

American Studies

Pursue an interdisciplinary course of study allowing intensive examination of the culture, society, political system, and other aspects of the United States. Students may engage in comparative study of history, literature, visual media, or other materials produced by and helping to constitute American culture.

Additional Information

The post-graduate American Studies Certificate may be especially beneficial to educators, students who are thinking of going on to a PhD program, attorneys, or anyone who wants to combine interdisciplinary methods with specific subjects. The coursework will:

  • Expose students to Northwestern University’s distinguished and world class instructors.
  • Provide students with countless opportunities to engage with others who are passionate to learn more about vitally important social and cultural issues through history, religion, philosophy, art, literature and film.
  • Prepare students for the intellectual demands of professional life by enriching students’ understanding of a broad array of social and cultural issues while improving their ability to analyze, write and complete research.
  • Sharpen analytical and writing abilities, which can help prepare students for application to PhD programs.

Applicants must possess a graduate degree in order to be considered for this program.

Course Options

To complete this certificate, students may take any four courses available in the topic area (which may include courses available through The Graduate School). To satisfy the four units of credit required for the certificate, students also have the option to register for the following:

  • An independent study, which is a customized course of study undertaken by a single student under the guidance of an instructor. Denoted by the course number, 499, independent studies are comparable in their demands to other graduate-level courses.
  • A capstone project, which is an essay of 45 to 75 double-spaced pages written under the supervision of an approved faculty member. The project presents an opportunity to research and explore a topic thoroughly. Students often elect to expand a seminar paper from a previous course. Students who wish to pursue a capstone project must do so as their fourth and final course in the certificate program.

Students who did not previously study the humanities at the graduate level are strongly encouraged to take IPLS 410: Introduction to Cultural Analysis. This course introduces students to interdisciplinary cultural analysis through an intellectual history of critical theorists and thinkers. Through close reading, seminar discussion and presentations, students develop their critical analysis skills.

Please note that courses completed in the certificate program cannot be transferred to the corresponding graduate degree.


  • IPLS 401-0 Tolerance: A Global History
  • IPLS 401-0 From Hamilton to “Hamilton”
  • IPLS 410-0 Introduction to Graduate Studies
  • IPLS 420-0 Introduction to Digital Studies
  • MPPA 407-0 OR 407-DL Scope and Theory of Public Policy
  • MPPA 407-DL Scope and Theory of Public Policy
  • MS_IDS 413-DL Visual Communication
  • IPLS 401-0 Cinema, History, Const. of Rel
  • IPLS 401-0 Buddha, Jesus, and Muhammad
  • IPLS 401-0 History of Marriage in U.S.
  • IPLS 401-0 Religion, Existentialism, and Film
  • IPLS 401-0 Imagining the Internet: Fiction, Film and Theory
  • IPLS 402-0 Asian Religions in Lit & Film
  • IPLS 405-0 Chicago Improv: Roots & Prac.
  • IPLS 492-0 Millennial Masculinities
  • IPLS 492-0 Loving the Child
  • IPLS 492-0 New Documentary Film
  • IPLS 492-0 Queer Theory
  • IPLS 492-0 France at a Time of Crisis, 1930-1950
  • IPLS 492-0 Technology and Revolution in the Middle East
  • IPLS 492-0 What is the Truth?
  • IPLS 492-0 Defining Chicago
  • LIT 405-0 Topics: 1890s British Lit
  • LIT 405-0 20th C Lit: Joyce and Woolf
  • LIT 405-0 Can You Have Good Without God?
  • LIT 405-0 Reading Romantic Poems
  • LIT 405-0 Representing the Psyche
  • LIT 405-0 Victorian Travel & Crime
  • LIT 405-0 Anglo-American Mysteries
  • LIT 405-0 The Seven Deadly Sins
  • LIT 405-0 Conceptions of the Body in Midieval Literature
  • LIT 405-05 Jane Austen and The Rise of The Novel
  • LIT 480-0 Comp Lit: Fictions of the City
  • LIT 480-0 Postmodern Film
  • LIT 480-0 An Exploration of German Film
  • LIT 480-0 Latin Amer. & Latina/o Sci-Fi
  • LIT 480-0 Slum Cinema
  • LIT 480-0 French & Francophone Women’s Writing
  • LIT 492-0 Topics in Lit: The Jazz Age
  • LIT 492-0 Topics: Proust
  • LIT 492-0 In the Heart of the City
  • LIT 492-0 Poetics of African Amer. Lit.
  • LIT 492-0 Race, Space & Place in Chicago
  • LIT 492-0 Contemporary Adaptation
  • LIT 492-0 Lit of Amer. Century & After
  • LIT 492-0 Literature and Wartime
  • LIT 492-0 Bad Mothers
  • LIT 492-0 Chicago Transformed
  • LIT 492-0 The US-Mexico Border in Literature and Film
  • LIT 492-0 Feminism in Trumplandia
  • MPPA 430-0 OR 430-DL Behavioral Economics
  • MPPA 430-DL Behavioral Economics
  • MPPA 440-0 International Institutions
  • MPPA 440-DL International Institutions
  • MPPA 450-0 OR 450-DL Global Economic Policy
  • MPPA 450-DL Global Economic Policy
  • MPPA 452-DL The Global City
  • MPPA 452-DL The Global City
  • MS_IDS 422-DL Intro to Learning Theory
  • MS_IDS 423-DL Instructional Design
  • MS_IDS 425-DL Learning Environment Design