American Culture

pdf icon Download PDF


All academic programs offered at the University of Michigan help students develop transferable skills. The Department of American Culture is a multidisciplinary LSA program that draws on History, Literature, Ethnic Studies, Material Culture, Music, Film, Women’s Studies, History of Art, Media and Communication Studies, and Sociology. The variety of academic fields at play allows AC majors to crisscross the disciplines, media, and time periods in order to carve out their own path. AC majors gain expertise at articulating connections between historical events and struggles and the vast archive of texts, sights, and sounds that have made up the cultural landscape.

Students who major in American Culture gain vital training in critical thinking, writing, and argumentation. They develop advanced skills at analyzing and interpreting media, artworks, literature and other cultural representation. They arrive at understanding the richness of assorted ethnic and racial histories and experiences in American life.



Project Development Skills

Designing/directing projects
Organizing ideas/information
Assessing needs/interest
Translating theory into action
Developing research ideas
Organizing materials/information

Research Analytical Skills

Developing hypotheses
Solving problems
Using information resources
Comparing interpretations

Interpersonal / Cross-Cultural Skills

Leading/participating in groups
Comparing cultures/societies
Developing sensitivity to/understanding of differing viewpoints
Working within organizations
Coordinating committees

Communication Skills

Writing clearly
Making effective oral presentations
Presenting viewpoints/analyses
Understanding/speaking to persons of different backgrounds
Conveying ideas
Listening to others



Employers seek out individuals who can demonstrate excellent verbal and written communication skills, teamwork and interpersonal skills, initiative, and a strong work ethic. The Department of American Culture helps majors develop these skills and offers independent studies courses for semester projects outside the regular classroom. Furthermore, student organizations, campus employment, research projects, and study abroad programs offer valuable opportunities to add to the skills you are developing in your classes. Summer internships, for example, can be an excellent way to test out a career field and develop marketable skills.



Recent American Culture graduates have gone on to a variety of career paths. Some have pursued law school, supported by the academic rigor and analytical focus of AC coursework. Others have pursued social work, supported by AC courses in politics, social issues, and ethnic communities. Others have pursued museum work or advanced arts degrees, supported by coursework in the arts, material culture, and community organization. Others have pursued careers in media and entertainment fields, supported by AC coursework in popular culture and media culture. Others have gone on to medical school, supported by AC coursework in the sociology and history of health issues. Others still have gone to graduate work in such academic fields as History and African-American Studies. The list below is a sample of careers undertaken by American Culture majors.

Project Development Skills

Development officer
University academic administrator
Curator, museum or freelanceopen book icon
Exhibit designer
Recording label director
Cultural events planner
Museum outreach coordinator
Urban planneropen book icon

Research / Analytical Skills

Librarianopen book icon
Physicianopen book icon
Attorneyopen book icon
Market researcher
Grants coordinator

Interpersonal / Cross-Cultural Skills

Personnel director
Affirmative action officer
Union organizer
Community organizer
Minister/theologianopen book icon
Counselor/social workeropen book icon
Psychotherapistopen book icon
Learning specialist
Television programming director
Anthropologistopen book icon

Communication Skills

K-12 teacher
College professoropen book icon
Teach for America teacher/coordinator
Journalist/writer, all media
Editor, all media
Public Relations specialist

open book icon = Further Study Required

For more career information, see O*Net at



All American Culture students have an opportunitty to
taylor the major (min. 28 credits) based on their own intellectual & career interests. Students will take AMCULT 275 “Practices of American Culture”; AMCULT 498 “Senior Capstone Seminar”; a set of flexible breadth requirements & a combination of open electives based their particular goals. We currently offer minors in Arab & Muslim American Studies, Asian/Pacific Islander American Studies, Digital Studies, Latina/o Studies and Native American Studies.

For more specific information, visit the LSA Bulletin or the AC website.

Department of American Culture
3700 Haven Hall

Newnan Advising Center
1255 Angell Hall



To begin connecting to professionals in fields that interest you, create your own LinkedIn account:

To identify internships or job opportunities, visit Handshake:

On campus jobs (work-study and non work-study jobs) are listed at:

The Maize Pages list hundreds of organizations for students to get involved in:

The Career Center
3200 Student Activities Building


The Career Guide series was developed by the University of Michigan Career Center, Division of Student Affairs, in cooperation with the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts. ©2011 Regents of the University of Michigan