Great Plains Studies is a diverse major that draws from departments within the College of Arts and Sciences as well as other colleges at UNL. The program's courses are based in the departments of Agricultural Economics, Agronomy and Horticulture, Anthropology, Art and Art History, Biological Sciences, English, Geography, History, Music, Natural Resource Sciences, Political Science, and Sociology.
A major or minor in Great Plains Studies may be useful for students who plan careers in regionally-based businesses, in educational, governmental, and public service agencies, and in archival or historical museums. Former majors have gone on to advanced degrees, started regional businesses, and found employment in such agencies as the Nebraska State Historical Society, the National Park Service, the Nebraska Humanities Council, the University of Nebraska, and the Nebraska Library Commission.
The Center for Great Plains Studies annually offers a competitive Frances W. Kaye cash award of $500.00 open only to undergraduates majoring in Great Plains Studies.
The center owns an extensive collection of Western, Plains, and Native American art, including paintings, drawings, prints, photographs, and sculptures by artists such as Albert Bierstadt, Karl Bodmer, Frederic Remington, Charles Russell, Aaron Pyle, Dale Nichols, Cliff Hollestelle, Michael Forsberg, Keith Jacobshagen, Tonita Peña, Chris Musgrave (Osage), and Christina McPhee. This collection and a library of several thousand volumes and documents of Americana and Canadian Plains materials are housed in the Great Plains Art Museum at 1155 Q Street, Hewit Place.
The center has sponsored the production and publication of the 13-volume edition of the Journals of the Lewis and Clark Expedition as well as the Encyclopedia of the Great Plains. The Encyclopedia is now an online resource. Another great reference work, The Atlas of the Great Plains, was published in 2011 by the center and the University of Nebraska Press. The Center also publishes Great Plains Quarterly, an academic humanities journal, Great Plains Research, a natural sciences journal, and Plains Song Review, an undergraduate and graduate literary journal edited by students.