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 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)


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. The Center also offers a wide range of public programming, including Artist at the Center, Indigenous Forum, and Latino Public Speaker Series and the Transnational Asian/American Speaker Series. CSER's most recent spaces include the Media and Idea Lab and Gallery at the Center, a space dedicated to curating artistic and thematic exhibits around the Center’s key areas of interest.
Follow Us :        
Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race
 420 Hamilton Hall, MC 2880
1130 Amsterdam Avenue
New York, NY 10027