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American Studies


Dr. Cheryl Cooky, associate professor of American Studies at Purdue University's College of Liberal Arts shares her connection with students, her research (centering on the ways gender shapes experiences, cultural meanings, and societal structures in sports), and what she hopes students gain when taking her courses.

Majoring in American Studies

Founded in 1964, Purdue’s American Studies program is one of the oldest in the country. The program introduces students to the interdisciplinary study of America as a place, a political and social idea, a set of values and traditions, and a people. The major provides students with the opportunity to examine America through the diversity of its ideas, texts, objects, institutions, practices, and histories as well as the complex social and political relationships that have shaped and continue to shape the world. The major can also be completed with a second liberal arts major such as English, History, Sociology, or Political Science.

Upon completion of the program, American Studies majors may choose graduate school or employment in an industry which may or may not be related to their major. Possible careers include:
  • Lawyer/Public Policy Advisor
  • Government/NGO/Non-profit employment
  • Teacher
  • Business/Management 
  • Graduate or professional school

Average Starting Salary: $42,041

All Purdue University College of Liberal Arts majors prepare students with the skills identified as contributing to professional success: communicating and listening well, an understanding and appreciation of diverse points of view, creative thinking and problem solving, a collaborative mindset, the ability to synthesize complex ideas and communicate them clearly, and a Boilermaker work ethic.

Students majoring in Americans Studies develop skills that are applicable to many different careers.  The skills developed may include, but are not limited to:

  • Understanding of America’s diversity of ideas, objects, institutions, practices, and histories.
  • Ability to plan, execute, and disseminate research findings from different vantage points.
  • A global awareness through the social and political relationships that shape the world.

Students majoring in the School of Interdisciplinary Studies may choose to enter into the workforce using the skills they have acquired at Purdue or to attend graduate school upon completion of their degree. Past graduates have gone on to:


  • Harvard University
  • University of New Orleans
  • Comfort Systems USA
  • Zotec Partners

Graduate School

  • University of Hawaii - Manoa
  • Indiana University
  • University of Wisconsin
  • Purdue University

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