American Studies

major minor

In American Studies, you’ll embark on an interdisciplinary study of the themes, trends and patterns that characterize the American past and present. You’ll use multiple perspectives and methodologies, learn to synthesize knowledge and develop the critical thinking skills needed for rigorous, complex analysis. American Studies majors have the flexibility to define their own area of concentration, such as visual studies, cultural studies, race and ethnicity, legal and constitutional studies, the American environment, American capitalism or class and social structure.

Requirements

Want to start right away? Here are some basic requirements for students wanting to major in American studies. Keep in mind this isn’t the complete list of formal requirement — that list can be found on the Courses of Study page.

As an American Studies major, you will take a total of 12 courses selected from the American Studies roster.

  • At least three of the twelve courses must have a substantial focus on material before 1900

  • At least two must deal with American diversity

  • At least one must be a 4000 level seminar, either an American Studies 4300 course or an appropriate substitute seminar at the 4000 level.

  • You’ll define your area of concentration and complete six courses in that area.

Sample classes

  • American Capitalism
  • Popular Culture in the United States, 1950 to the Present
  • Photography and the American Dream
  • U.S. Immigration Narratives

Outcomes

All information below is based on the 2014-2018 First-Destination Post-Graduate Survey. Lists are not exhaustive, rather they are a sampling of the data. 
"Other" includes time off, travel, volunteer experiences, and/or preparing for graduate school.
If you would like to more information, please email as_careers@cornell.edu

More than 3/4 of 2014-2018 American Studies graduates reported being Employed or Attending Graduate School, with the majority being Employed.

59% of the Class of 2014-2018 American Studies graduates completed the survey. n = 35

Below, you will find:

  • Top Employment Sectors
  • Where Graduates Work
  • Top Graduate Fields
  • Where Graduates Study

Top Employment Sectors

  • Other Nonprofit Organization
  • Education
  • Retail
  • Communications/Media
  • Technology
  • Law
  • Consulting/Prof. Practice
  • Human Healthcare Services
  • Financial Services
  • Hospitality

Where 2014-2018 American Studies Graduates Work

Employer Job Titles
Bloomingdale's Omni Junior Merchant
Burger King Corporation Leadership Development Trainee
Catholic Charities Universal Pre-K Teacher Assistant
Citi Cards Analyst
Cravath, Swaine, & Moore LLP Litigation Legal Assistant
Dermatology STL Doctor's Assistant
Firstline Schools Communication Fellow
IBM

Client Relationship Representative

ideas42 Associate
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center Physician's Office Assistant
Motus LLC Analyst
Mount Sinai Hospital Press Office Intern
Ogilvy & Mather Associate Training Program
Paul Weiss Litigation Paralegal
Politics and PRose Bookseller
Roundabour Theatre Company Management Apprentice
Shore Fire Media Publicity Coordinator
Stetson Powell Orthopedics Pre-Med Intern
Teach for America Teacher (2)
TransPerfect Project Coordinator
Yelp Associate Account Executive

Top Graduate Fields Pursued

  • Law
  • Chicana/o Studies

Graduate Degrees Pursued

  • PhD
  • JD

Where 2014-2018 American Studies Graduates Study

  • Duke University
  • Northwestern University
  • University of California-Los Angeles
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