American Studies Department
Explore American Studies
FLEXIBILITY: Students can tailor the major to their particular areas of interest, drawing from a wide range of course offerings in the arts, literature, social sciences, and history. The major is equally suitable for students who want to teach elementary school or high school social studies, who want to go to law school, who want to work in the corporate world, who want to work in law enforcement, or who want to go on to graduate school. Internship opportunities abound, and the department supports those students who want to study abroad.
RELEVANCE: 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.
SUCCESS: American Studies majors regularly win top honors at the college. Since 2002, American Studies majors have been awarded the John A. Murray Award in History, the Mary Ann Davis Prize in English, The Deirdre McKiernan Hetzler Award in Women and Gender Studies, the Kate Gleason Award in Women and Gender Studies, the Ruth Ann Constantino Award for outstanding academic improvement, the Excellus Undergraduate Diversity Scholarship, and the St. John Fisher College Award for Childhood Education. Moreover, American Studies graduates have been accepted into top graduate and professional programs, and have found success in their chosen career paths.
The American Studies Major
- Helps students to understand multiple approaches to the study of American culture;
- Develops student ability to conduct research into various dimensions of American culture, and to communicate the results of their research;
- Prepares students for advanced study in American Studies and related fields, as well as careers in professions such as education, law, public administration, and business.
American Studies graduates can find careers 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. Graduates often work in museums, government offices, or publishing houses; are employed as journalists, writers, or editors; become teachers; or embark on careers in law, medicine, business, or urban planning. American Studies graduates can also pursue a graduate degree in American Studies or in a variety of related disciplines, including those found in the three concentrations of the American Studies major.
American Studies is an excellent major for students interested in Adolescence Social Studies certification. For more information, please see the website for the Adolescence Education Department.
Laura O’Brien '08
Global Stock Analyst/Graduate Student
I entered my freshman year at Fisher as an undecided major and soon after, declared a major in American Studies and Secondary Education. At the time, I was interested in becoming a high school history teacher and an American Studies degree qualified me for social studies certification. In my junior year I decided that teaching might not be the best fit for me and decided to drop education, at which point I added two minors in Business Administration and International Studies. Despite this shift, I never questioned keeping my major in American Studies.
The American Studies professors are some of the most devoted faculty on campus, concerned with their students’ understanding, and sharing new and innovated ways to explore the material. Throughout my four years at Fisher, I took as many American Studies courses and electives as I could, drawn to the “all inclusive” class style which included great discussion, debates, and visuals – excellent for all learning styles.
Shortly after graduating from Fisher, I started my first job with Citigroup as a stock analyst in their Global Market Division. This opportunity allowed me to live in New York City for six months and train on Wall Street. It wasn’t long before I knew my heart truly belonged in education and I left Citigroup. In January 2010 I began graduate school fulltime to pursue a Master’s degree in Higher Education Administration at Northeastern University in Boston.