Canada and the United States share a continent and are linked by deep economic ties, several common historical experiences, and many cultural similarities; they are also marked by real and important differences.

The Canadian-American Studies major helps students to understand and navigate these similarities and differences, preparing them to engage key cultural, environmental, and economic issues in North America today and in the future through three specializations:

  • Canadian-American Relations
  • Canadian Histories/Cultures/Identities
  • Francophone Canada

Additionally, students may design their own specialization in consultation with a faculty advisor.

Why Consider a Canadian-American Studies Major?

On its own, the major provides an excellent international and interdisciplinary course of study for students looking for a broad-based, liberal arts education. By drawing upon courses from the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences, the major explores key concepts and methods across multiple disciplines and applies them to complex problems in our shared regional and continental contexts.

Through identified specializations, the major is also designed to combine with other majors to add depth and international expertise. Examples include combining Canadian-American Studies’ specializations with: anthropology, economics, environmental policy and science, geography, history, international business, languages, or political science.

In addition, students can learn about the business and trade relationship between Canada and the U.S. Knowing the ins and outs of how maple products are exported to the U.S. and Nike or Melaleuca products are imported to Canada, for example, can give hopeful professionals a leg up on the competition.

Beyond the Classroom

Beyond the classroom, the Center and Club Canada offer opportunities for students to immerse themselves in Canadian culture by holding events such as hockey and broom ball games, regional food celebrations, film screenings, guest speakers and faculty talks, and field excursions to Vancouver, Whistler, and more.

The Center provides support and resources to students interested in participating in relevant internships, including opportunities with the Canadian Consulate in Seattle.

Careers and Graduate Studies

The Canadian-American Studies curriculum prepares students for careers related to art and literature, education and research, environmental policy, diplomacy, international business, international law, and politics.

Recent Western graduates have found fulfilling careers working for the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, directing internet marketing for a Canada-US import/export firm, serving as a US federal government liaison to a municipality for emergency preparedness, working for Google in their map division, and coordinating border and emergency management programs for the cross-border Pacific Northwest Economic Region.