Certificate in American Studies (CAST)

2019-20 Curricular Field Chair: Associate Professor Karine Walther2019-20 Curricular Dean: Dean Christine Schiwietz


The Certificate in American Studies is a multi-disciplinary program offered at the Georgetown University in Qatar. It focuses on the American experience and its influence on politics. The program provides students with an understanding of the historic development of the American people and the evolution of American society. It explores political, cultural, economic, religious, and social themes across a variety of disciplines, as well as the activities of American institutions, at home and abroad.

The Certificate in American Studies is modeled on other regional studies programs offered by GU-Qatar and on the Washington campus of Georgetown University. Students take core courses in American Studies, focusing on Government, History, and Literature, which in different ways examine the thought, communications, and behavior that have shaped society in the United States. Students then select appropriate elective courses that match their specific interests of study. Finally, under the direction of a faculty member, each student writes a senior research thesis that organizes and focuses their studies.

Program Goals

As an interdisciplinary program, American Studies:

  • Enables students to make connections across diverse fields of inquiry.
  • Facilitates the students’ ability to make cross-disciplinary connections and to consolidate their area of interest.
  • Exposes students to theoretical, analytical, and methodological approaches from diverse perspectives, including cultural studies, history, the humanities, and the social sciences.

CAST Specific Requirements

  • HIST 180: United States History to 1865, or HIST 181: United States History since 1865, or HIST 223: US Diplomatic History II.
  • GOVT 020: US Political Systems
  • One class designated as either HALC  or AMST focusing on American Literature & Culture (or otherwise approved by the CAST curricular committee).
  • Minimum of three elective courses of choice, which have been designated as applicable for the American, studies program.
  • Completion of an original research thesis during the senior year.

American Studies Sample Electives

GU-Q offers a variety of courses that fulfill the requirements of the American Studies Certificate. Below are some recently offered elective courses:

  • ECON 411: Economics/Strategy of Sport
  • ENGL 380: Self & Society in American Literature
  • ENGL 293: Cultural Politics of Migration
  • GOVT 318: Media & Foreign Policy
  • GOVT 364: Lobbying & Interests
  • GOVT 351: Campaigns and Elections
  • HIST 469: America and the Muslim World.

Final Research Thesis

In the senior year, each student pursuing the Certificate in American Studies writes a research thesis under the supervision of a faculty mentor. The thesis enhances and advances the student’s research interests and skills. Students can elect to revise and expand the thesis project previously undertaken as part of a seminar.

The completed thesis must be reviewed and approved by the American Studies faculty in order for the Certificate to be awarded. The student will give a formal seminar attended by all American Studies faculty in residence during the spring semester in which the thesis is completed.

CAST Thesis Timeline:

2019-2020 Deadlines:

  • February 15, 2020: Thesis first draft due to mentor
  • March 12, 2020: Thesis full draft due to mentor
  • March 19, 2020: Public presentation of thesis
  • March 31, 2020: Final thesis due

2020-2021 Deadlines:

  • March 31, 2020: CAST applications due
  • October 1, 2020: Progress report due to mentor
  • January 14, 2021: Thesis draft due to mentor
  • January 24, 2021: PowerPoint presentation slides due
  • January 28, 2021: Public presentation of thesis
  • February 21, 2021: Final thesis due to mentor

How to Declare

Interested students should contact Dean Christine Schiwietz and the faculty chair of the Certificate in American Studies Program.

CAST Application Form


  • If a student receives advanced credit for American Government, American History and/or American Literature, the student will take upper-level American Studies electives in place of the core foundation courses, as approved by his or her primary academic advisor for the American Studies Program.
  • Two American Studies certificate courses may be completed at academic institutions other than Georgetown University with prior approval.
  • Eligible students are encouraged to take a Junior Year Abroad, which usually means one semester or two of their junior year on the Washington campus of Georgetown University.
  • Most courses will be completed during junior and senior year. 

Frequent Questions

When do I declare my intention to pursue a Certificate in American Studies?
What is the expected length for the American Studies thesis?
What are the deadlines for completing the American Studies thesis?
Can I enroll in Honors and complete a certificate at the same time?