Study of the Americas

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Study of the Americas Degree Overview

An understanding of the shared common past of the Americas is crucial to an understanding of the future. When European explorers visited and conquered the Americas in the 14th and 15th centuries they found civilized societies, cities, and empires that had existed for many centuries and which in many cases were more sophisticated than their own. In the years following the conquests the intermixing of the indigenous peoples with the Europeans and the African slaves, the colonization by the Europeans, and the eventual revolutionary struggles for independence created a new world, unlike any the world had seen and rich with diverse yet similar cultures, political institutions, ideas, and people. Although the United States emerged as the dominant power in the hemisphere, the history and fate of the republics of the hemisphere and its peoples have been and are linked.

The Study of the Americas Program emphasizes the interdependence of the nations of the Western Hemisphere and focuses on their common past, present, and future by examining the historical context and the political, economic, and social issues that together tie Canada and the United States, Mexico and the Caribbean, Central and South America. The program also focuses on the diverse cultures and societies of the Americas, which however similarly evolved also developed differently to enrich the hemisphere with a distinctive diversity and heterogeneity to the New World. Rather than emphasizing a series of isolated events, the inter-American focus allows the student to study history as a process involving the evolution of societies from a connected past to a like though diverse present.

The Inter American Studies Program is valuable for students and community members who wish to examine and study the interdependent relationships between the history, economics, politics and cultures of the Americas and the world. The program is important for students who wish to obtain an interdisciplinary education with an emphasis on the humanities, social sciences, and language. Students in this major often choose to pursue graduate programs and careers in diplomacy, and/or non-governmental organizations involved with humanitarian and international development.

Study of the Americas Degree Requirements

All students are required to complete an upper-level internship in the major, including participation in the Action Learning Seminar; typical placements include settings such as local social service agencies, schools, service providers, and community action organizations. Each student also undertakes a 6-credit capstone Degree Project in the last two semesters to produce a substantial research-based project.

Every Bachelor of Arts degree candidate must complete Burlington College's General Education requirements and earn a minimum of 120 credits to achieve a degree. Beyond a limited number of required courses, the major in Gender Studies is highly individualized. A program of studies to complete requirements for this major would be developed by the student and his/her academic advisor.

Entry Level Requirements: 6 credits
IAS120 - Spanish I
IAS121 - Spanish II
-or- IAS125 - Introduction to Conversational French I
IAS126 - Conversational French II

Upper Level: 3 credits
WAL331 - Search and Research

Intermediate Level
LJS/PLS214 - Comparative Law, Politics and Government
COR/IAS225 - U. S. History: Reconstruction to the War in Iraq
-or- COR/IAS261 - Creation of the New World

Upper Level Electives: 15 credits
COR300 - City in History
COR/HUM313 - Moments in Revolution
COR/IAS323 - U.S. Foreign Policy

Study Abroad in Cuba - 6 credits maximum toward elective credits - Travel to be arranged and approved with academic advisor
Semester Study Abroad in Cuba is 16 credits, six of which may be applied toward the Major

Intermediate Electives: 3 credits
FIN222 - Painting Techniques (required)
COR205 - Great Ideas (when applicable)
PLS228 - Constitutional Law
COR231 - South Andros Island Intensive
IAS240 - The Government Place and the Street: Convergences in South American History
COR273 - Civic Scholar (when applicable)

Internship and Action Learning Seminar: 3 credits

General Education Requirements

  • Demonstration of proficiency in academic computing
  • Vision and Revision (or assessment of writing sample)
  • Research and Reflection

Evidence of proficiency in the four fundamental learning skills 

  • Writing
  • Oral Communication
  • Critical Thinking
  • Researching

3 credits in each of the following areas of the liberal arts 
  • Creative Expression
  • Cultural Awareness
  • Historical Consciousness
  • Media Literacy
  • Quantitative Reasoning
  • Responsible Action
  • Scientific Thought
  • Social Awareness


The Study of the Americas Program emphasizes the interdependence of the nations of the Western Hemisphere.