University of California, RiversideUCR


Area Studies

Area Studies majors are destined for exciting careers overseas and at home. As an Area Studies major, you select a region of the world and then learn everything you can about it including economics, geography, language, history and culture. When you graduate, you will be prepared to work in international affairs, foreign trade, immigration, banking, tourism, publishing or diplomacy.

Representative Job Titles and Areas of Specialization

Area Specialist Interpreter
Bank Officer International Business
Border Patrol Agent International Law
Communications International Relations
Criminal Investigator Librarian
Cultural Affairs Officer Professor/Instructor/Teacher
Editor Public Affairs Officer
Foreign Service Officer Public Relations
Immigration Inspector Publishing
Intelligence Analyst Translator
Intelligence Officer  

Nature of the Work

Here are some examples of the type of work you might be doing. The Foreign Broadcast Information Service will hire Area Studies majors with strong reading ability in one or more foreign languages and a strong background in liberal arts. The job typically involves scanning foreign newspaper and other publications for information needed by US government analysts and policy makers including members of Congress. You would summarize the information, select material to be translated and write short articles on important developments.

As a member of the United States Foreign Service, you would assist the President and Secretary of State in planning and carrying out foreign policy at home and abroad.

Foreign Service Officers are concerned with perceptions that others have about the United States. They explain U.S. policies and society to people in other countries, correct any misconceptions and analyze and report on public perceptions of the United States. Sometimes, they are Press Attaches, who are responsible for dealing with the media.

Foreign Commercial Service Officers work with governments, business representatives and individuals who want to continue or increase trade with the United States.

International consulting firms do research for clients on a wide range of topics.


Places of Employment

Banks National Security Agency
Consulting firms Peace Corps
Council on Foreign Relations United States Information Service
Federal government Import-export companies
Agency for International Development Insurance companies
Central Intelligence Agency Inter-American Development Bank
Department of Agriculture Library of Congress
Department of Commerce Organization of American States
Department of State Publishing companies
Department of Transportation United Nations
Immigration and Neutralization Service  


A bachelor's degree may be sufficient for employment by non-profit international organizations but a master's or Ph.D. is preferred.

Federal agencies will hire you with a bachelor's degree for junior positions. Higher level positions would require you to have a master's or Ph.D. with teaching experience and expertise in specialized international affairs areas.

International businesses prefer you have business experience and/or a business degree.

Many entry-level opportunities in international consulting require an advanced degree and the ability to speak a foreign language.

For further information and/or career counseling contact the UCR Career Center, (951) 827-3631.

Supplemental Material

The following documents may provide further ideas for exploration.

More Information

General Campus Information

University of California, Riverside
900 University Ave.
Riverside, CA 92521
Tel: (951) 827-1012

Department Information

Career Center
Career Center Plaza

Tel: (951) 827-3631
Fax: (951) 827-2447
Student Questions: careercounseling@ucr.edu
Employer Questions: careerrecruiting@ucr.edu