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American Studies Professor

Teach university students about America and its people.

What does an American Studies Professor do?

It’s common to hear people describe a person, a product, or a thought process as “truly American.” American Studies Professors and their students try to nail this idea down with a bit more precision, studying the culture, economics, history, people, and politics of the United States.

If you’re an American Studies Professor, you likely work for a large college or university, where you spend at least half of your time dealing directly with students. You put together a plan for the class, detailing the concepts you’ll teach and the books you’ll use to support your lessons.

You do your best to make the class interesting and enticing so students will be intrigued enough to sign up for the course. You give lectures about the materials, sprinkling questions throughout so the students stay alert and engaged. This is particularly important if your classes are held before 10 a.m. on Mondays.

You test your students’ knowledge by giving them quizzes, exams, or research papers. Your students will likely resent these activities, and you may not enjoy them either, as you’ll spend hours grading their work. You also make yourself available to answer questions from struggling students. At the end of the course, you give each student a grade.

The rest of your time, you conduct your own research on American studies. You may carry out interviews, study economic reports, read research reports by other American Studies Professors, or study shifts in populations. You then try to get your research published in reputable journals so you can boast to your students about your publishing prowess.