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
Peter Stoller '05
Communications Director for Greater Rochester Association of REALTORS®
I based my decision to go to Fisher because of its location, its size, and my desire to play on its football team. I spent my first two years taking classes that would fulfill my Core Requirements while providing me previews into different disciplines. I decided to double major in Political Science and American Studies. The Political Science courses that taught me about the structure and function of government were nice, but it was in the American Studies courses that I learned more about the people that make government decisions and why they make them.
Today I am the Director of Communications and Government Affairs for the Greater Rochester Association of REALTORS®. My role is to coordinate the internal communications for our 2,800+ members. I also serve as the primary lobbyist for the organization, interacting with elected officials on the local, state, and federal levels advocating for the preservation and protection of private property rights along with ensuring the business rights of real estate professionals.
My degree in American Studies has allowed me to excel in my career at a young age. My background in American Studies helps me to evaluate our membership and to determine what message to send and how to send it to assure that it reaches our targeted audience. American Studies also taught me how to establish a position on a particular issue and convey a consistent message while addressing alternative perspectives.
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.