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.


The professional trajectories of graduates from the MA program are impressive and various. About 26% of our recent graduates have landed fully-funded fellowships at Ph.D. programs in American Studies (or related disciplines like English, History, Political Science, Ethnic Studies, Women’s Studies, Media Studies, and Black Studies) at Columbia, Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Brown, NYU, USC, UMass, Fordham, and elsewhere. Some students have gone on to work abroad through the Fulbright Program, the Henry Luce Foundation, and the Japanese Exchange and Teaching Programme. Others work in publishing, journalism, and digital media. Alums have started careers at digital media companies like Horizon Media, Prism Media, Morning Brew, and Nameless Networks.



PhD Programs


International Fellowship Programs


Publishing and Journalism


Law School

A number of recent graduates teach at public and independent secondary schools. A comparable number of students pursue careers as administrators at colleges and universities. Around 21% of our graduates have successful careers in non-profits—some at arts and history museums like Poster House and the New York Historical Society, some at research-focused think-tanks like The Washington Center for Equitable Growth and Level All, and others at large foundations like the Mellon Foundation and the Doris Duke Foundation.

Other students choose to attend law school at institutions like Harvard, Georgetown, University of Michigan, University of California Law, and University of Washington. A few graduates have become entrepreneurs in the fields of real estate, insurance, and technology. One recent graduate is a college athletics scout, while another works as the chief meteorologist for the New York City Department of Emergency Management. Many former students have pursued unclassifiable creative careers. We’ve also helped make a couple of librarians over the years!


in Secondary Education (Public and Independent)


in Higher Education Administration


in Non-Profit (Museums, Politics)



(Placement data collected from May 2017 – May 2023)


Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race
 420 Hamilton Hall, MC 2880
1130 Amsterdam Avenue
New York, NY 10027
CSER continues to be Columbia's main interdisciplinary space for the study of ethnicity and race and their implications for thinking about culture, power, hierarchy, social identities, and political communities.
Follow Us :        
Contact Us