American studies is an interdisciplinary program. Students study culture and society from a historical and cultural perspective, thereby gaining an understanding of the various forces that shape our lives. American studies students can choose an emphasis in one of the following areas: communications, media and the arts; community and diversity; culture and policy; early childhood, elementary or secondary education (social studies); social work; American studies or a related field focusing upon American culture.
Many American studies students get hands-on experience in fields such as education, social work or through the American studies internship program. Students take advantage of the internship program to gain valuable work experience with organizations as diverse as the Smithsonian Institution, Planned Parenthood and WJZ-TV. American studies students can join the American Studies Council of Majors, a club that hosts informal student-faculty gatherings on issues related to American culture.
Students gain an array of important skills through the American studies department from learning how to conduct oral histories to ethnographic fieldwork to major research projects. Above all, the discipline gives students practice in clear, effective writing. Taking these skills to the workplace, students choose a variety of pursuits such as communications, education, law, public history and culture, museums and cultural institutions, public relations, social and public service and social work.