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American Studies

Explore the Eclectic Terrain of American Culture

Engage with the oldest multifaceted major at F&M. As a student of American Studies, you’ll enjoy a true liberal arts experience, exploring several disciplines to develop analytical skills and critical judgment and to examine the range and diversity of American experiences, identities and communities.

About American Studies

Our Program and Courses

American Studies is one of the most comprehensive majors at F&M. Unlike traditional majors, American Studies allows you to combine and cross academic fields in your study of American culture, past and present. You’ll explore a rich array of courses drawn from nine academic departments beyond American Studies, including history; religious studies; art; music; Africana Studies; women’s, gender and sexuality studies; and more. Through independent and collaborative research, you’ll examine the core narratives of the United States, as well as the diversity of American social and cultural life, all while sharpening your ability to read critically, articulate ideas clearly, conduct research, and write effectively.

By the time you graduate, you will: 

  • Be able to answer the question of national identities: “What does it mean to be or to become American (in the present and in the past)?”
  • Understand past and present assertions of American “exceptionalism” and be able to critique these notions
  • Comprehend how diverse groups of people are integral to national politics and cultures in order to analyze systems of power in relation to race, gender, class, sexuality, and citizenship — and to understand how categories of race, gender, class and sexuality have changed over time
  • Situate U.S. national cultures in global contexts, including borderlands, empire, hemispheric, and comparative contexts
  • Use multiple disciplinary methods and approaches in research projects that engage aspects of American identities, cultures and/or politics

Wondering what American Studies classes are like? Peruse at our course catalog to see the depth and breadth of what’s available to you. [link to course catalog]

Our Faculty and Staff

Meet the engaged, accomplished and inspiring faculty and staff in the American Studies team. [link to department directory page]

Learning Beyond the Classroom

Your work in American Studies will extend far outside the classroom. The department has a long tradition of encouraging students’ intellectual growth through research, off-campus study, independent research and more. Our goal is to provide close supervision and mentoring to students in the classroom and around the world.

Research Opportunities 

Do you want to research Lancaster’s Civil Rights Movement? Or examine the complex intersections of race, gender, class, sexuality and citizenship? You can at F&M. As you dive into all that American Studies has to offer, you’ll discover areas or ideas you want to further explore. The good news? You won’t have to wait until graduate school to launch your investigation. Every student at F&M has extraordinary opportunities to engage in independent or faculty-led research


Internships allow you to explore fields and job functions of interest, building your portfolio while shaping and inspiring your path in both expected and unexpected ways. Recent American Studies majors have secured internships with: 

  • The Louis Armstrong House
  • The Baseball Hall of Fame
  • CBS Sports
  • The Smithsonian
  • The Commonwealth Foundation, enjoying Pennsylvania-based internships in public policy, government affairs and entrepreneurship
  • National Public Radio, gaining experience in production and marketing
  • The Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association
  • York County History Center, earning responsibilities such as visitor engagement and education; library and archives; communications and marketing; and geographic information systems

Learn more about internships at F&M.

Off-Campus Study

At F&M, you’ll find extraordinary opportunities to study abroad. Our American Studies majors have studied in Australia, Denmark, England, France, Germany, Scotland, South Africa and Spain in recent years. You, too, can make study abroad integral to your experiences and research. Learn more about off-campus study at F&M

Success Beyond F&M

By majoring in American Studies at F&M, you’ll gain a holistic outlook that provides a strong background in critical thinking, analysis, writing and public presentation — skills in high demand in any post-graduate pursuit.

Graduate School

Many of our majors choose to pursue graduate school after F&M, with a significant number enrolling in law school. Our graduates have completed their advanced degrees at the best universities, including:

  • American University
  • Columbia University
  • Drexel University
  • The University of Edinburgh
  • Johns Hopkins University
  • New York University
  • Rutgers University
  • University of Pennsylvania
  • Villanova University

Career Paths

American Studies graduates build an invaluable foundation for an eclectic range of careers. They find success in education, law, government, marketing, and more, and hold positions such as: 

  • Archivist
  • Attorney
  • Author
  • College Professor
  • Editor 
  • Filmmaker
  • Foreign Service Diplomat
  • Government Official
  • Teacher
  • Journalist
  • Judge
  • Law Clerk
  • Marketing Writer
  • Museum Curator
  • Musician
  • Publisher
  • Social Worker 

Learn more about the lasting value of an F&M education.


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