American Studies Department
Why Study American Studies?
Tailor your major to your interests, drawing from a wide range of course offerings in the arts, literature, social sciences, and history.
The major is equally suitable if you want to do any of the following:
- Teach elementary school or high school social studies
- Go to law school or graduate school
- Work in the corporate world
- Work in law enforcement
Internship opportunities abound, and the department supports those who want to study abroad.
The United States is the richest and the most powerful nation in the world and is deeply enmeshed in global political, economic, and cultural forces. American Studies explores both the development of American society and culture and the ways in which the world responds to the United States.
American studies majors often win top honors at Fisher, including:
- John A. Murray Award in History
- Mary Ann Davis Prize in English
- Deirdre McKiernan Hetzler Award in Women and Gender Studies
- Kate Gleason Award in Women and Gender Studies
- Ruth Ann Constantino Award for outstanding academic improvement
- Excellus Undergraduate Diversity Scholarship
- St. John Fisher College Award for Childhood Education
The American Studies Major
With a major in American studies, you will:
- Understand multiple approaches to the study of American culture
- Develop your ability to conduct research into various dimensions of American culture, and to communicate the results of your research
- Be prepared for advanced study in American studies and related fields, as well as careers in professions such as education, law, public administration, and business
As an American studies graduate, you'll be able to find a career in a wide range of fields that depend on knowledge of American culture as well as on the critical thinking and communication skills that are developed through the American studies curriculum.
You may work in a museum, government office, or publishing house; be employed as a journalist, writer, or editor; become a teacher; or embark on a career in law, medicine, business, or urban planning. See a detailed list of career opportunities for American studies majors.
You may also pursue a graduate degree in American studies or a variety of related disciplines.
American studies is also an excellent major for if you are interested in adolescence social studies certification. For more information, please see the website for the Adolescence Education Department.
American Studies Alumni
Elise Burmeier '05
Librarian at George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia
When I was in high school, I had no real idea what I wanted to be when I grew up. I remember poring over academic bulletins to see which colleges had programs that I could envision myself taking courses in. I wanted something that could satisfy my enjoyment of history and English courses as well as allow me the flexibility to take courses in cultural studies, anthropology, sociology, foreign languages and religious studies. American Studies at Fisher offered all of that to me.
I currently work at George Mason University in the main library’s collection development department. I also attend the University of Tennessee's School of Information Sciences distance education program, in order to earn my Master of Information Science degree. I plan to become a high school library media specialist.
Earning a degree in American Studies gave me three things that are very important in my life now. First, the flexibility of the curriculum allowed me to tailor the program to fit my needs. Second, the faculty helped me develop confidence in myself. Finally, my degree gave me pride in my abilities. When I was a senior, I decided to put forth every effort into my capstone paper to make it a work I could really be proud of. I submitted it for a college award and, as it turns out, I won! I’m now committed to putting forth my best effort in all that I do in order to achieve similar pride in my personal and professional work.
Soon after completing his degree in American Studies at St. John Fisher College, Dave Lester '07, created a tagline showing the evolution of key concepts in the field of American Studies. It's a simple and elegant way to visualize the transformation of a scholarly field. A longtime advocate for the digital humanities, Lester now works for Twitter.