American Studies Masters & Graduate Programs
With a masters in American studies, you could focus on the various cultures within the U.S., focusing on humanities, social sciences and the arts. From here, you could specialize in a specific period or area of study that interests you the most.
Why Pursue a Graduate Degree in American Studies?
In an increasingly globalized world, understanding and managing cultural interactions across borders might never have been more important. As a major global power, the U.S. both affects and is impacted by the interaction of many cultures across a broad range of the social and political arenas.
American studies master’s degree students inspect the history, politics and social anthropology of the U.S. through a multidisciplinary lens. This degree could offer graduates a renewed perspective that may be useful in a variety of international contexts.
American Studies Master’s Degree Program Curriculum
American studies is an interdisciplinary field. As such, students will typically be exposed to coursework across a broad spectrum of academic subjects. Classes are often offered in several humanities-centric fields, with emphasis placed on history, literature, politics, law and social policy. Anthropology and sociology are also common subjects that prospective students can expect from these degree programs.
Due to the academic nature of the degree, latter years of study may allow students to specialize in a desired area of application. Some programs offer graduate-level seminars on multidisciplinary education, teaching and pedagogy development. Conversely, students can focus on politics, social policy and legal studies as an application of their degree.
As a humanities discipline, many programs may not have specific degree requirements that must be met for graduate-level admission. Students are encouraged to contact the academic institution of their choice to determine if any prerequisites exist.
Potential Career Paths for American Studies Master’s Degree Program Graduates
The broad, interdisciplinary nature of an American studies degree means that graduates may have a wide range of possible career opportunities to pursue upon graduation, in fields ranging from education to government and public policy.
Some graduates may wish to pursue careers in politics and government. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, political scientists earned a 2012 median annual salary of $102,000, with jobs expected to grow by 21 percent through 2022.1
Academia is another potential career path for graduates of this program. Professors and post-secondary educators earned a BLS-reported 2012 median annual salary of $68,970, with an expected 19 percent growth in jobs through 2022.2
In the private sector, an American studies background may be useful in a business setting from a consultancy standpoint. The BLS reported that management analysts earned a 2012 median annual salary of $78,600, with jobs expected to see 19 percent growth through 2022.3
Is Earning a Master’s Degree in American Studies Right for You?
An American studies education can provide students with a host of practical and soft skills that may be applied to careers in many fields. The critical thinking and analysis skills imparted through these programs may be attractive to employers in both the public and private sectors. This degree may be especially valuable to students who are interested in pursuing a career in business or international relations, as the perspective offered by its multidisciplinary approach may prove useful in such contexts.