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
Ann Logan '06
Editor in Santa Cruz, California
I attended Fisher because it offers a major in American Studies, something that few other colleges in upstate New York offer. I liked that American Studies combines a number of disciplines like Literature, History, Politics, and Cultural Studies and explores the connections between them. The American Studies major has provided me a lifetime of material to continue thinking about.
Upon graduating, I was awarded the Rotary Club’s prestigious and competitive Ambassadorial Scholarship, which allowed me to live and study abroad for one year in the United Kingdom while acting as a student ambassador from the U.S. I was later told that my background in American Studies and the complex understanding of American society and culture it had afforded me were integral to my being awarded the scholarship. While in England, I earned my master’s degree in American Studies at the University of Nottingham, and I returned home with a top-notch education from both inside and outside the classroom.
Because of my American Studies degrees, I have a core set of skills that can easily be transferred to a variety of career paths. I’m currently in my first professional job, working as a copy editor for a company based in Santa Cruz. I’m also active in my community as president of the local Rotaract Club, which is a junior Rotary Club for 18-35 year-olds.
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.