What can I do with a degree in American Studies?

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American Studies. So what do you study, America?

Well, sort of.

Welcome to one of the first hybrid liberal arts degrees out there. Here is a major where you can really delve into some out-there topics. Sure, students learn about politics, both American and Foreign. They have a good foundation in history and sociology, understanding how they affect contemporary culture and society. It’s interdisciplinary in nature, so a student has the opportunity and is encouraged to take courses in anything from music and film to Native American Studies.

Some of the coursework is just so fascinating we thought we’d give you a sampling of real offered classes in U.S colleges:

  • Race, Class & American Film
  • Casino Marketing & Mgmt.
  • Spoken Word & Slam Poetry
  • Queer Activisms
  • Zombie Films of George Romero
  • Black Public Intellectuals
  • Conspiracy Theories

If your interests are so varied and hard to pin down that no major sounds exactly right, American Studies was made for you. But then what do you do with it?


The goal of the four year degree program is to create cultural analysts, critical thinkers, persuasive writers, and dynamic speakers. Those skills could pave the way to a future in a broad number of occupations. According to this Guardian article, 59% of college graduates of a B.A. in American Studies went straight into the workforce; 8% pursued graduate school.

Many colleges and universities offer American Studies as a major. Because there is no required internship or practicum for this field of study, you may find an online program fits your lifestyle as well.

The 8%

Those who enter Graduate school may choose to continue in American Studies and become professors or writers. Many use American Studies as a solid education foundation to then apply for Law school. So make sure you carry a strong GPA (Grade Point Average) throughout your 4 year Bachelor’s degree program. And be sure to establish good relationships with some faculty members -you’ll need strong references to get into a graduate program.

The 59%

As we see in that 2009 study, this group goes straight to work. Well, where are they working? And the answers are as diverse as the major itself. Here is what we came up with:

  • Marketing
  • Business/finance
  • Teachers at the primary, secondary, and post-secondary level
  • Clerical/Secretarial
  • Arts/Design
  • Sports Management
  • International Business
  • Activism
  • Civil Service in Government
  • Non-Profit
  • Entrepreneurship


American Studies is a great Major; it will keep you interested in your college career, and when you finish you will be a well rounded individual ready to continue your education further with a Master’s or Phd, or to go ahead and leap into the workforce.

You may want to check out The American Studies Association, founded in 1950. It publishes American Quarterly, a key work of scholarship you will want to read. There are also 53 other American Study journals currently being published in 25 different countries. American Studies isn’t just American – it’s a vital part of the growing global community.