The College of Liberal Arts & Sciences offers a BA and a BGS, as well as a graduate certificate, a MA, and a PhD 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.
Sample of Related Skills
- Encourage an appreciation and respect for cultural diversity in societies
- Understand the diversity of people, cultures, and experiences that have shaped the past and present United States
- Promote greater equality for all, regardless of sexual preference or socioeconomic status
- Promote justice and civic engagement
- Organize and lead policy changes
- Navigate difficult national conversations concerning ethnic and race relations
Popular Career Paths
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 policy maker 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 Career Paths
- Fund for American Studies - Interactive website for students interested in learning more about internships and the American form of government
- Kansas University American Studies Department Resources - All the resources the KU department website offers including several links to publications dedicated to the field
Jobs to Consider
Places to Seek Employment
Federal Bureau of Investigation
Public Relations Firms
TV/Radio/Print News Agencies
Public and Private Universities
Public and Private Middle/High Schools
Federal, State and Local Government Agencies
- Identify areas of interest in American Studies so you can focus your academics and experiences towards these fields.
- Gain direct experience within the areas that interest you most through research projects, independent study, internships, part-time jobs, student organization involvement, or volunteering.
- Register for KU Career Connections and subscribe to the Internship Newsletter to receive automated weekly emails with specific internship information.
- 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.
- Practice interviewing on your own or by conducting a mock interview at the University Career Center. List of practice questions: General interview (pdf).
- Develop your resume and tailor it to your area(s) of interest: Sample Resume (pdf).
- Earn a minor or take additional coursework outside your major when relevant to your career goals.
- Complete an independent study to gain advanced research skills.
- Become familiar with the required professional qualifications associated with careers that interest you (i.e. advance degrees, licensure and/or certifications).
- Maintain a strong GPA if you are considering pursuing graduate or professional school.
- 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
Job and Internship Search Resources
- 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
- American Library Association - Scholarships, education, and employment links for students interested in a career as a librarian
- Special Libraries Association - This is a more focused association that offers an exceptional career center with a lot of useful career information
- 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
- 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
The quick link for this page is career.ku.edu/americanstudies.
Go back to Careers & KU Majors homepage.