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American Studies, B.A.

The American studies major allows you to examine American society through the lens of history, politics, literature and sociology. The interdisciplinary nature of the major will help you develop a rich and layered perspective of America’s past and present.

Majoring in American studies at Whitworth will connect you with excellent internship and study-abroad opportunities, immerse you in a community that desires to help you succeed, and provide you with valuable skills that you can apply to any career.

Why major in American studies at Whitworth?

  • Learn from professors who are dedicated to rigorous academic inquiry and to their students. Your professors will challenge you to grow academically and personally.
  • Make connections across disciplines. You may find yourself studying the Civil War in a history course and reading Walt Whitman's poetry in an English course. Students are often excited by how their courses in American literature, history or political science intersect and complement one another.
  • Take part in stimulating classroom discussions. Small class sizes mean you can share your insights and knowledge in class, where professors value students' ideas.
  • Gain hands-on experience through incredible internships. Each year, majors in the history department are selected to intern at the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C. Popular choices in Spokane include the Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture and the Historic Preservation Office.
  • Receive support as you consider your future career. Professors will help you discover the breadth of options available and support you with your next steps after graduation.
  • Become a stronger writer, speaker and critical thinker. By majoring in American studies, you will build transferable skills.
  • Develop research skills. Learn how to create historical context, analyze evidence from primary as well as digital sources, search effectively and present results in various formats.
  • Become who you're meant to be.

Our American studies grads make a difference (and get jobs)

Whitworth American studies graduates are prepared to apply their broad skillset to any number of careers. Generally, majors choose careers in public history, public service, business, law, education and academia.

Recent job placements include:

  • Linnea Rash, archival conservator, Washington State University Archives and Special Collections, Pullman, Wash.
  • Alexandria Griffith, social studies teacher, Mead High School, Mead, Wash.
  • Justin Jose, director of multicultural education and initiatives, Grove City College, Grove City, Penn.

Opportunities outside the classroom

  • Apply for one of the department's Jan Term internship positions at the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C. The Whitworth Honors Program also offers Fall Term and Jan Term internships at the Smithsonian.
  • Bring faculty from different departments together to create a unique interdisciplinary project or experience.
  • Engage with faculty outside of the classroom. History faculty members take students to conferences and local events, and lead off-campus study programs for students. Our faculty also welcome students into their homes for visits.
  • Attend fun history department events like the fall kickoff, year-end ice cream social and annual protest songs singalong. 
  • Connect with fellow history-loving peers in History Club.
  • Join Phi Alpha Theta, the national honor society for history, and present research papers at the society's regional conference.

Pack your bags!

Whitworth offers several off-campus study programs to history department majors, often in partnership with other departments like art, theatre, English, and world languages & cultures. Options to study in Europe are plentiful, with choices such as a multifaceted tour of the British Isles, a language immersion program in France or an art history program in Rome. During Jan Term 2019, Professor of History Dale Soden will take students to Vietnam to study the history of the Vietnam War.

Ask our faculty

Ask Dale

Professor Dale Soden teaches courses on subjects such as Pacific Northwest history, American popular culture and the Vietnam War.

Ask Corliss

Professor Corliss Slack specializes in European and medieval history and archival research.

What related majors can I explore?