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The distinctly American major

Making sense of this bold, complex country

American Studies explores American experience and identity by studying its history, literature, people and politics. Because this major relies on research and writing, graduates from our program here in Florida leave with the strong analytic and communication skills all employers love. Grads get jobs in journalism, publishing, city planning and cultural preservation or enter law or business schools.


The chance to make this major yours

Passionate about philosophy, religion, art, film studies, music, communications or women’s and gender studies? We can help you work any interest that centers on U.S. society or culture into this major.

One-on-one attention in class

Students learn in small classes and develop close mentoring relationships with their professors. They have an opportunity to do independent research through the Ford Scholars Program.

American Studies major Katherine Hoechner

In Their Own Words

“Mentoring, faculty interaction, and overall class material and subjects made my studying experiences at Eckerd an 11 out of 10. I feel as though I made a lifelong friend with my mentor, who not only guided me through my studies and plans for my future but within my personal life as well. Throughout my classes, I felt comfortable and encouraged to reach out to my professors about my work. I chose to focus on American History and American Musical History. American Studies is such a magical major with so many different facets of sub-studies, you really can’t go wrong. The options are endless. Through courses like ‘Native American Thought’, ‘History of Rock’, ‘Making of the ’60s’, I was able to look at American history in a new, creative light. The study of history is key in understanding where we are today, how we got here and why, and I continue to explore this idea in my post-college life as well.”
— Katherine Hoechner, Class of 2019

Beyond the Classroom

American Studies internships can take you places. Recent internships include:

American Indian archives intern, National Museum of American History in D.C.

Interested in research? Apply to the Ford Apprentice Scholars Program — those who are accepted into the program research, write and present an original paper on a topic of their choice. Here are a few recent projects:

  • Unscientific America: Bridging the gap between scientists and the public
  • Black faculty: The missing voice in higher education

Mark Tluszcz ’89, now chairman of Wix and the original investor in Skype, was a Ford Scholar at Eckerd College.

There’s nothing like seeing America from the outside to see your biases and privilege up close.

We offer more than 300 study destinations every year, including three-week study trips between semesters and alternative spring break service projects in Mexico, Guyana, Iceland, Panama and Cuba.

Study Abroad Pics on Flickr

All students are asked to take at least one designated Reflective Service Learning course, which includes at least 20 hours of service, before graduation, either on campus or internationally.

Service Pics on Flickr

Popular classes

Native American History

This survey covers the period stretching from the first European contact with native peoples to the present day. Delve into the:

  • Inner workings of Native American communities
  • History of Indian-White relations
  • Shifting governmental policies on tribes’ rights
  • Native American spirituality, economics, gender roles and decision-making

Rebels with a cause

This class focuses on America’s radicals, reformers and reactionaries of the 19th and 20th centuries.

You’ll learn about populism, progressivism, nationalism, civil rights, peace, feminism and the environmental movement.

Crowds in Washington D.C. march for civil rights in America


What can I do with an American studies degree?

  • Crime scene investigator
  • Data analyst
  • Detective
  • District attorney
  • FBI field agent
  • Health sciences grant administrator
  • Lawyer
  • Marketing and public relations specialist
  • Police officer
  • Private investigator
  • Professor of sociology
  • Professor of criminology
  • Social worker
  • Substance abuse counselors
  • Youth program coordinator

Where our American studies majors go to graduate school

  • Northwestern University
  • University of Florida
  • University of North Florida
  • University of South Florida
  • Washington State University

Where our American studies majors go to work

  • American Jewish Committtee
  • Bank Of America
  • Cahill Law Firm P.A.
  • CASA ( Community Action Stops Abuse )
  • CBS (New York City)
  • Department Of State American Embassy
  • Franklin Templeton Investments
  • Home Shopping Network
  • Hospice Of Florida Suncoast
  • Law Offices Ronald S. Webster
  • Metlife
  • Pricewaterhousecoopers
  • Princeton Review
  • Raytheon Systems Company
  • Rockwell International
  • Sarasota Herald Tribune
  • Social Security Administration
  • State Of Florida
  • T. Rowe Price Services, Inc
  • Tampa Bay Times
  • Texas Instruments
  • United States Air Force
  • United States Central Command
  • United States House Of Representatives
  • United States Navy
  • United States Postal Service
  • University Of Electronic Science And Technology Of China
  • Wells Fargo Home Mortgage
Sign up for more about Eckerd and our American Studies program