Making Sense of American Experiences

An interdisciplinary program, American Studies encourages you to explore social, cultural, political and other aspects of America and American society. Learn to evaluate information from disparate sources, weaving it together to make sense of America. Through American Studies at HWS, you'll work to make the invisible visible and amplify access for those unheard.

Student SpotlightPaige Humphrey '23

Majors: American Studies, Political Science

"I didn't know much about American Studies when I took American Studies 101 with Professor Elizabeth Belanger. I soon discovered how much I loved it and decided that I would major in the discipline. Professor Belanger is now my advisor, leading me through my academic experience.

I enjoy how American Studies uses different fields like sociology, political sicence and history to build a deep understanding of how this country came to be. The program focuses on many areas of the American past that often go overlooked, bringing futher educational inisght."


Experiential EducationTake Control of Your Learning

In the classroom, American Studies students often drive the discussion, bringing current events and topical issues to their coursework. Rather than lecturing, faculty encourage students to develop their voices as activists, artists, writers and thinkers, and to use those voices outside their coursework.

At Hobart and William Smith, learning goes beyond textbooks and classrooms. You’ll gain high-impact practical experience that deepens learning and opens doors.




No Borders:Global Education

Whether you’re studying systems that created Jim Crow laws in Belgium or American television representation of Asian women in Hong Kong, you can take American Studies out of America by studying abroad.

Wherever you go, our top-ranked global education program will allow you to apply classroom knowledge, develop cultural understanding and build global connections that expand your personal capacity and sense of purpose.




Honors and Research

And Research

All American Studies students complete an independent study as part of the senior capstone course. Culminating in a 20+ page research paper with significant academic sources cited, the experience prepares students for post-graduate education.

Students looking to further deepen their engagement in their work can also complete an Honors project on a topic of interest with the mentorship of an American Studies faculty member.

Belonging, Diversity and Equity

Born out of the civil rights movement of the 1960s, belonging, equity and diversity are at the core of American Studies coursework. You’ll gain insight into cultural, political and social movements combating injustice and oppression, how those movements were shaped, what the results have been and where the next steps lead.

More than that, you’ll be led by faculty who are active on these issues in the local community and pride themselves on practicing what they teach.



Become immersed in historical, cultural and artistic aspects that make American Studies a diverse, interdisciplinary subject.

  • AMST 202 Drawing for Study and Storytelling

    Introduce yourself to habits and approaches in drawing as a creative tool to think, represent and interpret the world and ourselves visually.

  • AMST 222 American Empire

    Study the history of the American empire and its impact abroad.

  • AMST 330 Digital Humanities

    Through a mixture of seminar discussions, hands-on tutorials and project-based work, gain theoretical and practical foundation covering topics such as digitalization, encoding, analysis and visualization.

Critical Museum Studies

Investigate the histories of practices of museums from a decolonial perspective while building the skills necessary to work in the industry through the Critical Museum Studies minor. You'll get to follow tracks like history museums and art museums and galleries that will allow you to focus on the issues and practices most relevant to the type of cultural space that most interests you. Students in all tracks gain experience with installation techniques, designing, cataloging, collections management, and writing exhibit labels. You'll leave prepared to work in and think critically about a variety of fields.

Alum ImpactFrom Reaction to Action

Benjamin Greiner ’18

CEO and Founder at The TAD Project

A firsthand experience with a friend dealing with depression led Benjamin to take action. Through the Colleges’ Pitch Contest, that action became The TAD Project, a website that provides support and resources to help people discuss depression and mental health.


American Studies Outcomes

American Studies offers students the flexibility for multiple career and post-graduate pathways. Students have gone on to careers in journalism, law, community organizations and teaching. As an interdisciplinary program, the possibilities are limitless.