American Studies


The Siena American Studies program now has an exchange agreement with the American Studies Department at Radboud University in the Netherlands.  If you are interested in studying abroad, please see Br. Brian Belanger in the Office of International Programs.




The American Studies Program offers students the opportunity to think deeply about American culture from a variety of perspectives and experiences, both inside and outside of the classroom.   Curiosity, critical thinking, and thoughtful writing are the hallmarks of the American Studies major. 

In the recent past, majors have successfully entered law school, prestigious M.A. and Ph.D. programs, and found employment in business, financial services, and public relations.  Those interested in working in museums, archives, or other kinds of public and applied history will find courses of interest and internships in American Studies, and those interested in the Certificate in Revolutionary Era Studies will find a comfortable blend with the American Studies major.  The multi- and interdisciplinary approach of American Studies provides an excellent foundation for students intending to teach social studies at the secondary level, but fulfilling all the requirements of American Studies and Education may take more than four semesters.  American Studies majors are strongly encouraged to consider study abroad or the Washington Semester.  Majors with an interest in law are strongly urged to investigate the Pre-Law Program.   American Studies majors are also strongly encouraged to consider the Gettysburg or Williamsburg semester.

The major culminates in two related courses:  a proseminar, AMST450, which asks students to make the leap from multidisciplinary to interdisciplinary thinking and learning, followed by AMST451:  American Studies Thesis, where students can explore a topic of their choosing in an interdisciplinary capstone paper of 25-30 pages.   Topics in the past have included Gone With the Wind as an expression of the Great Depression, an examination of the meanings of fame in 20th-century America, and the portrayal of Miranda rights on film versus the reality of these rights in the American experience.

American Studies majors can become eligible for a number of honor societies, including Phi Alpha Theta (History), Sigma Tau Delta (English), or Pi Sigma Alpha (Political Science).