The American Studies Department offers courses on the culture and people in the United States, past and present, using sources, techniques, and approaches from multiple disciplines. You will examine the diversity of American culture and society, and often use race, ethnicity, gender, class, and place as categories of analysis. As a major, you will plan a program of study that reflects your personal interests and makes connections across subjects, time, and geography. Some students do research with faculty, many study off campus, (U.S. and abroad), most do internships, and all complete a senior thesis.
- Regional Culture: The Hudson River
- Diversity in the United States
- American Sports/American Culture
- Global Perspectives of the United States
- American Cultural Periods: 1960s
As you might expect from an interdisciplinary field, American Studies majors dive into the endless cultural opportunities beyond the classroom. Recent examples include:
- Summer research with a faculty member on the impact of social media on comedy
- Internships at NBC, NPR, Dove, MASSCreative, and the Saratoga Springs Preservation Foundation
- A semester studying the European Union in Freiburg, Germany, and one at the Naval History Museum in Washington, D.C. (The most popular study abroad programs for majors are Washington Semester in Washington, D.C.; Skidmore in London–King’s College, and University of Melbourne in Australia.)
- Senior theses on the men who fought for respect during the early years of the HIV/AIDS crisis, the 1970s punk rock movement, and the influence of the American sitcom on the feminist movement
VIDEO: A peek inside Beck Krefting's class, "Disorderly Women.”
The eclectic nature of American Studies, indeed the liberal arts, lends itself to myriad professional opportunities, particularly jobs in education (from pre-K to colleges), nonprofits, media, government, the arts, law, and social work.
Careers: A sampler of what our alumni do
- Director of educational services, American Association of State and Local History, Nashville, Tenn.
- Director of admissions, Bank Street College of Education, NYC
- Director of community relations, Cargill Inc., Minneapolis, Minn.
- Economic development manager, City of Kirkland, Kirkland, Wash.
- Attorney, Connecticut State Legislature, Hartford, Conn.
- President/CEO, Croll-Reynolds Co., Parsippany, N.J.
- University librarian, Dickinson Library, UNLV, Las Vegas, Nev.
- ESL coordinator, DREAM Charter School, NYC
- Director, Ellis Island Project, Ellis Island Immigrant Museum, NYC
- Social studies teacher, Ellsworth HS, Ellsworth, Maine
- Executive director, Families Together in New York State, Albany, N.Y.
- Director of institutional planning, Harvard University, Boston, Mass.
- Senior VP of government affairs and associate general counsel, JetBlue Airways, Rockville, Md.
- Director of demand planning, Levi Strauss & Co., San Francisco, Calif.
- CEO, LiSTEN Brands, Boston, Mass.
- VP of public affairs, Mortgage Bankers Assoc., Washington, D.C.
- Editor of Mountain Xpress, Asheville, N.C.
- Educator, New York State Museum, Albany, N.Y.
- Director of global initiatives and strategies, New York University, NYC
- Psychotherapist, PACE/Behavioral Health Team, Lynn, Mass.
- Professor of history, Ramapo College of New Jersey, Mahwah, N.J.
- Director of public affairs, Roche, Nutley, N.J.
- Director of communications, Southern New Hampshire Medical Center, Nashua, N.H.
- Social worker, Summit County Department of Social Services, Frisco, Colo.
- Director of youth programming, Temple Israel, Westport, Conn.
- Education reporter, Baltimore Sun, Baltimore, Md.
- Counsel, U.S. House of Representatives, Washington, D.C.
- Chief of staff, U.S. Department of Transportation, Washington, D.C.
- Director of religious education, U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, Md.
Graduate Schools: A sampler of where our alumni go (2010–2014)
- Boston College, M.B.A.
- Boston University, Ed.D.
- College of William and Mary, M.A. in American studies
- Columbia Law School, J.D.
- Columbia University, M.A. in English
- Drexel University, M.S. in library and information science
- Fordham University, M.S. in education
- George Washington University, M.A. in public health
- Middlebury College, M.A. in foreign languages and literatures
- New York University, M.A. in American studies
- Princeton University, Ph.D. in social work
- University of Dublin, Trinity College, M.A. in philosophy
- SUNY-Albany, M.A. in public history
- University of Kansas, Ph.D. in American studies
- University of Maryland, Ph.D. in American studies