ABOUT THE PROGRAM
The M.A. program in American Studies at Columbia is the only graduate degree in American Studies housed in an Ethnic Studies center. This unique vantage affords a view of American life from outside, and recognizes the fundamental importance of race and ethnicity as organizing categories in American culture and society.
Students design their own curriculum from across Columbia’s course listings with the help of the program director. At the end of their matriculation, students write a thesis under the advisement of faculty specialists in their area of interest.
The program also offers opportunities to think about New York City as frame for American Studies. We regularly hold events in partnership with local cultural institutions to augment student research. For more information about the program, please explore the tabs below, and feel free to contact the program director, Dr. Matt Sandler.
CAREERS WITH AN M.A. IN AMERICAN STUDIES
The professional trajectories of graduates from the MA program are wildly various. About 20% of our recent graduates have landed fully-funded fellowships at Ph.D. programs in American Studies or related disciplines, at Columbia, Yale, Brown, Harvard, USC, Fordham, and elsewhere. A number of students go on to work abroad through the Fulbright Program and the Japanese Exchange and Teaching Programme. Around 15% of recent graduates work in publishing, journalism, and digital media. Alums have started careers at MacMillan Publishers and Berrett Koehler Publishers, as well as for digital media companies like Morning Brew and Nameless Networks.
in PhD Programs
in International Fellowship Programs
in Publishing and Journalism
Some recent graduates teach at either public and independent secondary schools, both in New York City and elsewhere. A comparable number of students go on to careers as administrators at colleges and universities, both at Columbia and elsewhere. Some graduates have successful careers at non-profits—some at arts and history museums like Poster House and the New York Historical Society, others at more political organizations like the Washington Center for Equitable Growth.
Other students go on to law school or to get MFAs in creative writing. A few have become entrepreneurs in real estate, insurance, and technology. One recent graduate is a college athletics scout, while another is the chief meteorologist for the New York City Department of Emergency Management. A number of former students have unclassifiable creative careers. We’ve also helped make a couple of librarians over the years, and despite their reputation, they can be very exciting!
in Secondary Education (Public and Independent)
in Higher Education Administration
in Non-Profit (Museums, Politics)
(Placement data collected from May 2017 – May 2020)