Is American Studies a History Major?

American Studies is an interdisciplinary field that explores the diverse cultural and historical experiences of the United States. But is American Studies a history major? The answer is both yes and no.

What is American Studies?

American Studies emerged in the mid-20th century, as scholars sought to understand the complexities of American culture and society beyond traditional disciplinary boundaries. American Studies draws on a wide range of fields, including history, literature, art, sociology, anthropology, political science, and more. As a result, American Studies offers a unique perspective on U.S. history and culture that differs from traditional history majors.

What Does a History Major Study?

A history major focuses on the study of past events and their impact on society. History majors explore political, social, cultural, and economic developments throughout time. A typical history curriculum includes courses that cover specific periods or regions in history such as Ancient Greece or Modern Europe.

American Studies vs History Major

While American Studies incorporates many elements of traditional historical studies, it also delves into cultural studies to learn about the broader context of America’s past. This interdisciplinary approach provides students with an understanding of the complex forces that have shaped American society throughout its existence.

In contrast to a traditional history program, an American Studies program may include courses in literature or even art. This broadens students’ perspectives by allowing them to examine how different forms of expression have contributed to America’s identity over time.

What Can You Do with an American Studies Degree?

A degree in American Studies can prepare you for a variety of careers including:

  • Journalism
  • Museum work
  • Social work
  • Politics
  • Teaching
  • Public relations


American Studies is an interdisciplinary field that incorporates elements of history, literature, art, sociology, and more to provide a unique perspective on American culture and society. While American Studies shares some similarities with traditional history majors, it offers a broader understanding of America’s past and prepares students for a diverse range of career paths.