Your Success Story is Waiting. A degree in American studies fosters skills and qualities that are attractive to employers in a wide variety of fields. Many students also use the degree as a springboard for further study at the graduate level.
Alumni find employment in journalism, publishing, business, government, education, nonprofit organizations, museums, and more. Others enter graduate programs in law, medicine, public policy, business, political science, education, American studies, English, history, sociology, ethnic studies, and music.
Nathan Guzman BA‘21
“Through an experiential learning process guided by Professor Torres-Colón, I engaged in a small-scale research project exploring how incarceration experiences configure the placemaking of formerly incarcerated people. I had the opportunity to conduct actual field research, interviewing three formerly incarcerated people about their lives and experiences in the Tennessee criminal legal system. Beyond providing me with a more nuanced understanding of the practice of qualitative research, this experience served as the foundation for deeper cultural inquiry, which I undertook over the course of the past year. Through numerous interviews, I was introduced to the concept of “felonism,” which refers to various social, economic, and political disadvantages faced by people with prior felony convictions or incarceration experience.”
Adreanna Hernandez BA‘21
“Through this major, I was able to explore interests ranging from American musical theatre and rock music, to ice cream hierarchies and ethnic food. As every American studies student can attest, this program encourages you to think critically about the impact of your chosen concentration on the broader study of American life. Indeed, I used my interests in specific aspects of American culture to consider issues of equity and inclusivity in historical and present-day America. Combined with my passion for neuroscience, these broader questions greatly influenced my decision to pursue a career in medicine after Vanderbilt.”
Ryan Connor BA‘18
“As someone who is passionate about poverty’s effect on education, I realized this was not an issue I could tackle by only studying one academic discipline. I had difficulty finding a major that would allow me to tackle this problem from all of the multiple angles that were necessary. However, after finding American studies, I was able to mold my course work to allow me to take a unique approach to the issue I am most passionate about. This flexibility has made my academic career so much more fulfilling and has really allowed me to study poverty and education at an entirely new level.”