What Can I Do with My American Studies Major?
The goal of the American studies program is to analyze the social, historical, material, ideological and aesthetic aspects of American cultures, past and present, from an interdisciplinary perspective. The program integrates knowledge from the fields of history, literature, political science, economics, philosophy, sociology, theology and the fine arts.
Students in this major develop key research and analytical skills as they begin to view the United States within larger world systems, taking into account how the cultures of America have been continually reshaped by movements of people, commerce, and ideas in and out of the United States. American studies coursework leads students to work in law, journalism, teaching, government, museum curation and business, as well as preparing students for advanced study at the masters or doctoral level. Public sector jobs, government agencies, or publicly-supported institutions often seek to employ American studies students and graduates as interpreters, explaining an agency’s or institution’s function, projects, activities, or history to the public, according to the American Studies Association.
American studies allows for the development of a core set of skills in a wide range of occupational settings. A sampling of representative skills and abilities follows.
- Understanding complex factors within problems
- Perceiving patterns/structures
- Comparing/contrasting interpretations
- Assessing cultural differences
- Analytical writing
- Writing concisely
- Drafting documents
- Reading critically
- Assessing conflicting viewpoints
- Summarizing and presenting information
- Public speaking
- Defining problems
- Formulating and assessing hypotheses
- Gathering and interpreting information
- Using original sources
- Understanding cultural contexts
- Interpreting data
- Evaluating evidence and results
Sample Internship Opportunities
- Presidential campaigns
- U.S. State Department
- U.S. Congress
- European Union, Delegation of the European Commission
- General Electric, law and policy internship
- Environmental Protection Agency
- American Enterprise Institute
- Arts and Media (e.g., Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, NBC, ABC, CBS)
- Newspapers and Magazines (e.g., student publications, The Washington Post)
Where are Georgetown American Studies Majors Now?
- Investment banking analyst
- Case assistant, litigation
- Elementary school teacher
- Futures trader
- Freelance research assistant
- Account coordinator
- Government, staff assistant
- Public relations
Relevant Websites and Publications
- The American Studies Program at Georgetown
- American Quarterly
- The Library of Congress American Memory Project
For information about career options, internship and full-time opportunities, contact the Career Education Center at One Leavey Center, (202) 687-3493. For more information on the academic requirements for the major, contact the Department of American Studies.