Careers

Study American Studies. Do Anything.

What can I do with a American Studies major?

Here in American Studies we take pride in preparing our students for whatever their future career goals may be. Whether that is in the public or private sector, the teaching profession or corporate America, the arts or technical fields, our graduates can do it all.  

Notre Dame American Studies graduates are well represented in a wide variety of careers. There isn’t a single path; instead, we prepare students for success in whatever path they choose.

For this reason, our alumni can be found all over the United States—and the world—working as doctors, attorneys, CEOs, account executives, arts administrators, teachers, public policy analysts, and in many other jobs that are personally gratifying and serve the common good.

Skills you'll learn

  • Effective oral communication
  • Strong writing
  • Team Work
  • Critical thinking and analytical reasoning
  • Ability to apply knowledge to real-world settings
  • Ethical judgement and decision making
  • Ability to analyze and solve problems with people from different backgrounds

Shawn Layden '83

President, Sony Computer Entertainment America

Shawn Layden is President of Sony Computer Entertainment America, responsible for leading the PlayStation® business in the United States, Canada and Latin America. He is also Chairman of Sony Interactive Entertainment Worldwide Studios.

Layden has an extensive career in the gaming, consumer electronics and digital entertainment industries, including ascending the rainks at Sony Computer Entertainment (SCE) where he has held a variety of senior positions.

Shawn Layden '83

President, Sony Computer Entertainment America

Shawn Layden is President of Sony Computer Entertainment America, responsible for leading the PlayStation® business in the United States, Canada and Latin America. He is also Chairman of Sony Interactive Entertainment Worldwide Studios.

Layden has an extensive career in the gaming, consumer electronics and digital entertainment industries, including ascending the rainks at Sony Computer Entertainment (SCE) where he has held a variety of senior positions.

Sara Morris '16

Associate, Clyde Group

“I put my American Studies degree to use every day working at a public affairs firm in Washington, D.C. I developed a strong writing foundation through American Studies, and I apply that to my diverse range of writing projects, from op-eds and speeches to memos and research documents.

American Studies taught me how to observe and understand our complex, often difficult world — and that’s made me a more thoughtful, critical, and empowered citizen.”

Jim Nelson '85

Editor-in-Chief, GQ

"My love is great ambitious writing, literary journalism, and writing that affects people and sticks with them."

Jim Nelson became Editor-in-Chief of GQ in 2003. From 1994 to 1997 he was an editor at Harper’s, where he was responsible for the magazine’s Readings section. His writing has also appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Gourmet, and Food & Wine. Prior to his magazine career, Jim has worked as a writer/producer for CNN in Washington, D.C., and as a writer’s assistant on various sitcoms in Hollywood.

Peter Fink '17

Jesuit Volunteer Corps, UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine

"My background in American Studies has given me a much deeper understanding of the countless societal factors that shape the social, physical, and psychological environments for the patients with whom I meet every day."

Peter spent the year after graduation working with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps Northwest as a Community Health Specialist in Portland, Oregon. 

Rob Browne '17

Marketing at Rocketrip, a startup that helps companies save money on business travel.

"In my job interviews, being able to talk about my thesis and the research grants I was awarded as an American Studies major attracted the interests of recruiters and made me stand out from other candidates.  These concrete achievements I worked toward in my undergraduate career made it easy to elaborate on the accountability, project management, and work ethic that I could bring to various types of positions."

97% of recent Notre Dame American Studies majors found full-time employment, enrolled in graduate school, entered service programs, or launched independent projects within six months of graduation.

57% find full-time jobs

  • Accelerated development program Vanguard
  • Account coordinator News America Marketing
  • Associate consultant PwC
  • Associate director of admissions and public relations Detroit Catholic Central High School
  • Associate library researcher Fusion
  • Business analyst Target
  • Business development program professional Cleveland Indians
  • Business management associate General Mills
  • Communications associate AARP
  • Human resources associate Eli Lilly and Co.
  • Intelligence analyst FBI
  • Page NBCUniversal
  • Paralegal U.S. Department of Justice
  • Production assistant CBS
  • Project manager Epic Systems
  • Reporter Catholic News Service

Our alumni leave Notre Dame with an expansive worldview and a variety of real-world skills.

Employers love that our students are passionate, curious, and socially engaged. Once on the job, they find that our graduates are critical thinkers, problem solvers, innovators, and collaborators.

They are the embodiment of Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters’ motto: our students study everything so that they can do anything.

 

17% go to graduate or professional school

  • Dentistry Baylor University
  • Education University of Massachusetts, University of Wisconsin
  • History Colorado State University
  • Kinesiology and exercise science Ohio State University
  • Law Duquesne University, John Marshall Law School, University of Iowa, Washington University
  • Medicine Loyola University Chicago
  • Public history Northeastern University
  • Sports management Ohio State University

Going on to graduate or professional school after earning a degree in American Studies is a fantastic opportunity to branch out into a new area or dive in-depth into a subject focused on as an undergraduate. 

A senior thesis is a great way to prepare for grad school — it demonstrates the ability to do serious research and independent work.

18% enter service programs

  • Alliance for Catholic Education Richmond, Virginia
  • AmeriCorps St. Paul, Minnesota
  • Blueprint Fellowship Denver, Colorado
  • Community Health Center Meriden, Connecticut
  • House of Brigid Dublin, Ireland
  • Jesuit Volunteer Corps Peru
  • Teach for America San Antonio, Texas
  • WorldTeach American Samoa

Postgraduate service can be a life-changing experience and provide students with transferable skills for the next step in their careers.

Every year, approximately 20 percent of the graduating senior class in Arts and Letters make a one- to two-year commitment to serve in areas such as public and private education, family and children services, after-school programs, developing countries, and non-governmental organizations.

 

5% launch independent projects

Learn More

Contact Director of Undergraduate Studies Sophie White

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