American Studies

The College of Liberal Arts & Sciences offers a BA and a BGS in American Studies, an interdisciplinary program in which students think critically about the many institutional and cultural meanings of America, popular culture, society and identity. You will be studying such topics as film, jazz, literature, visual culture, gender, race and religion.  American Studies investigates America in the past and present and considers the profound impact of diversity on society and addresses differential power structures in American life.

American Studies Department website



Featured Resources & Career Ideas

Education: Involves a wide range of possibilities including elementary education all the way up the Higher education professor. Communication skills are very important in this career path.

Writing: Writers and editors traditionally with an American Studies degree focus on historical books, editing governmental documents, or journalism as a career path

Law: There are several options within this career path including becoming a lawyer, paralegal, or policymaker at all levels of government. Usually certification and more education are needed to follow this career path.

Research: The ability to utilize your analytical skills within such places as museums, all levels of government, and historical organizations.

Business: The ability to be able to read and understand historical trends is very important in most businesses, especially those that deal with markets of high demand. Usually you acquire many skill sets within the business profession including advertising, marketing, and business communication.

Library Science - Being able to handle and process documents and archiving them in an organizational fashion is the basics of what this career field offers. Attention to detail is the most important part of the career.

Explore More Opportunities

Further Explore Careers in American Studies

  • American Library Association - Scholarships, education, and employment links for students interested in a career as a librarian
  • Fund for American Studies - Very interactive website for students interested in learning more about the American form of government that the United States has set up. There are many internship opportunities to apply for right from this site
  • Kansas University American Studies Department Resources - All the resources the KU department website offers including several links to publications dedicated to the career
  • Special Libraries Association - This is a more focused association that offers an exceptional career center with a lot of useful career information
  • Community Colleges
  • Corporate Businesses
  • Federal Bureau of Investigation 
  • Federal, State and Local Government Agencies
  • Granting Agencies
  • Historical Organizations
  • Insurance Companies
  • Law Firms
  • Libraries
  • Museums
  • Nonprofit Organizations
  • Public and Private Middle/High Schools
  • Public and Private Universities
  • Public Relations Firms
  • Publishing Companies
  • TV/Radio/Print News Agencies
  • Visitors Bureaus
  1. Identify areas of interest in American Studies so you can focus your academics and experiences towards these fields.
  2. Gain direct experience within the areas that interest you most through research projects, independent study, internships, part-time jobs, student organization involvement, or volunteering.
  3. Register for KU Career Connections and subscribe to the Internship Newsletter to receive automated weekly emails with specific internship information.
  4. Consider joining a professional organization related to your area of interest in American Studies, and, if possible, attend local and/or regional conferences to make connections with professionals working in your field.
  5. Practice interviewing on your own or by conducting a mock interview at the University Career Center. List of practice questions: General interview (pdf).
  6. Develop your resume and tailor it to your area(s) of interest: Sample Resume (pdf).
  7. Earn a minor or take additional coursework outside your major when relevant to your career goals.
  8. Complete an independent study to gain advanced research skills.
  9. Become familiar with the required professional qualifications associated with careers that interest you (i.e. advance degrees, licensure and/or certifications).
  10. Maintain a strong GPA if you are considering pursuing graduate or professional school.
  11. Consider getting involved with a student organization at KU related to your area of interest, such as: Kansas Journal of Law & Public Policy, Dole Institute of Politics Student Advisory Board, The University Daily Kansan, Phi Alpha Delta (Pre-Law), and American Studies Association of Graduate Students

Links to Job & Internship Listings

  • American Association of Museums - Links for job seekers as well as employers to post and find jobs
  • American Historical Association - Job and career information for historians and PhD programs to apply for
  • American Studies Association - Recent opportunities, newsletters, and employment posts for American Studies majors to explore
  • Brookings Institute - A research institute, Brookings offers many internships and fellowships as well as job opportunities if research is the career path you would like to follow
  • The Heritage Foundation - Links to several positions available within this research foundation
  • Internships USA - Lists of internships by industry including Washington Internships in Law and Policy, The Human Rights Internship Book, and The Museum Internship Book
  • Museum Employment Resource Center - Link to job vacancies for several different positions within the profession
  • Museum Job Resources - Offers many different links for museum job openings as well as tips as how to get into the profession
  • Smithsonian Institute Internships - Gives information on what internships are available, how to apply, and the experience they expect you to get out of an internship at the Smithsonian Institute
  • The Urban Institute - The Urban Institute is a non partisan economic and social policy research organization and offers internships and job opportunities for those interested
  • White House Internships - Explains what a White House internship would be like and has a link to apply for these internship opportunities

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