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
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.
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.