5 Fascinating MOOCs for an American Studies Nerd

American Studies is quickly becoming one of the more popular fields for college students and continuing learners alike. And it’s no wonder. As one of the most interdisciplinary majors available, American Studies is becoming more and more relevant in today’s complex job market.

Like other interdisciplinary fields such as Comparative Literature and Ethnic Studies, American Studies requires students engage themselves in coursework from diverse departments. And American Studies courses themselves demand a similar student flexibility. American Studies courses cover history, as well as literature, critical theory and many other topics that relate to the study of America. As a result, a student of American Studies can expect to add a great deal of additional breadth to their educations.

While many of us may not be able to major in the field at this point in our academic career, there are several excellent MOOCs (massive open online courses) that anyone can take advantage of to satisfy an American Studies addiction.

Five American Studies MOOCs You Will Love

  1. webcast.berkeley: This hub for free online courses provided through streaming video and audio is a great resource for MOOCs at UC Berkeley. The site currently offers an Introduction to American Studies course (American Studies 10AC), which is comprised of a whole semester’s worth of lectures on the topic.
  2. MIT OpenCourseWare: Quickly becoming one of the more popular hubs for MOOCs, this extensive list of online course offerings by MIT is a student’s dream. While the university may not offer specific American Studies courses through this site, you can build your own American Studies course-load by drawing from the many related courses in HistoryLiterature and Anthropology.
  3. Harvard Extension School: Like MIT OpenCourseWare, the online courses offered by Harvard do not showcase specific American Studies courses, but there are several related courses available across different departments. For example, there is a literary course on “American Dissent,” as well as “The United States and China,” which is a fascinating look at American foreign policy toward China since the late 19th century.
  4. Open Yale Courses: Yale joins the list of Ivy League universities currently offering MOOCs for students all over the world. American Studies does have its own section of the site, and courses do change over time. Currently, a course on American literature titled Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Faulkner taught by Prof. Wai Chee Dimock is available to take online.
  5. udemy: Taking advantage of the upsurge of interest in online courses being offered by colleges and universities throughout the nation, udemy has created a tool that searches them for the MOOCs that interest you. A simple search on this site yielded several courses that would be perfect for the student of American Studies. From Classics of American Literature: T.S. Elliot at Duke University to African American History: Modern Freedom Struggle at Stanford University, chances are that you will find a great American Studies MOOC with this useful search tool.


It’s undeniable that the recent rise of MOOCs signals a modern day renaissance for education both on and offline. And because of its interdisciplinary nature, American Studies is a great field to begin your journey with MOOCs offered by some of the world’s most prestigious universities. If you’ve been thinking about gaining some knowledge in the field of American Studies, or even if you’ve never considered it, now is the time to take advantage of one of the excellent courses offered above.

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