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

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


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.


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