International Studies


Graduating IS majorsThere are many careers open to graduates of International Studies. As an interdisciplinary program, International Studies exposes students to a variety of courses from different perspectives in hopes of producing "students of the world" or "global citizens," in other words, people who think critically about global issues and problems. Such individuals find opportunities in international business, government agencies, international organizations, non-profit organizations with a global focus or reach, humanitarian agencies, policy and research think tanks, civil service, the tourism industry, media, and public relations.

Knowing the employment possibilities helps students to focus their studies and ultimately their job search to find the right position in which to apply the skills in critical thinking, issue and policy analysis, and cross-cultural understanding that are developed in International Studies.

International Business & Industry


  • Foreign Corporations
  • International Marketing & Trade Firms
  • International Real Estate Firms
  • Travel and Hospitality Industries
  • Consulting Firms
  • Foreign Financial Institutions

Specific jobs include:

  • Export Manager
  • International Banker
  • Cross-Cultural Relations Consultant
  • Sales Coordinator
  • PR Representative
  • International Hotel Manager

The interdisciplinary nature of International Studies graduates make them ideally suited for careers in business and organizations with international clientele. Given their foreign language skills, political and cultural knowledge base, and background in economics, especially if combined with a Business degree, graduates are attractive to international businesses.

The foreign language and economic skills of International Studies graduates is useful for global financial analysis: assessing the economic performance of companies and industries for firms and institutions to invest in a globalized market, working as security analysts, investment analysts, portfolio managers, fund managers, risk managers, financial advisors and wealth managers. A bachelor's degree is acceptable for entry-level positions in this field, with most in finance eventually seeking an MBA.

International Studies graduates are excellent candidates for law school due to their written and oral communications abilities, their knowledge of politics and international affairs and their research skills. International law is an extremely competitive field concerned with whether the behavior of governments corresponds with international laws, and increasingly, the behavior of international corporations. Prior to attending law school, students with undergraduate degrees in International Studies can seek jobs as paralegals.

Government & International Relations


  • Government Agencies
  • United Nations
  • Relief and Religious Organizations
  • U.S. Foreign Services
  • National Security Councils

Specific jobs include:

  • Foreign Service Official / Diplomat
  • Foreign Area Specialist
  • International Relations Specialist
  • Activities Coordinator
  • Translator
  • Intelligence Agent

Foreign service positions are extremely competitive, but those who pass the foreign service exam join a group of 9,000 who staff U.S. embassies abroad, the State Department and the United States Information Agency.

There are many other government agencies besides the State Department which hire International Studies graduates; most International Studies professionals in Washington work for other agencies such as the Defense Department, Central Intelligence Agency, Homeland Security and National Security Agency (the majority as intelligence analysts or and a few as clandestine operators). Others work for The Agency for International Development, which administers U.S. foreign aid.

As international economics and homeland security become increasingly prominent political issues, the number of international studies professionals who work on Congressional staffs has increased dramatically.

While difficult to obtain, administrative and communications positions within the United Nations are excellent opportunities for international studies graduates with strong language skills.

Language and Human Services & Education


  • Nonprofit Organizations
  • International Organizations
  • Educational Institutions
  • Peace Corps
  • Study Aboard Programs
  • International Community Organizations

Specific jobs include:

  • Affirmative Action Officer
  • ESL Instructor
  • Program Coordinator
  • Fund raiser
  • Foreign Language Teacher
  • Teacher / Professor
  • Humanitarian Relief Worker

International non-profit organizations that work to distribute foreign aid, improve humanitarian conditions and tackle issues such as famine relief are largely staffed by international relations/studies graduates.

The Peace Corps sends Americans abroad, typically for two year terms to developing countries are those in political or economic turmoil, to help the people of other countries work toward economic and social development. Volunteers often work alone in physically demanding conditions, and get independent management experience at a young age, making their experiences highly valued by employers hiring for international jobs. International Studies can prepare graduates for this challenging experience.

International Studies graduates who go on to get doctorates teach, research and write in a university setting, or research and lecture within think-tanks.

Communications & Research


  • Research Institutions
  • Foreign News Agencies & International Newspapers
  • Online Publishers
  • Academic Journals
  • Magazines
  • Travel Industries

Specific jobs include:

  • Foreign Correspondent
  • Journalist
  • Researcher
  • Translator
  • Editor
  • Tour Guide

The Nation's capital has many private research and intelligence contractors that perform government work on a contractual basis.

With the increased prominence of cable and Internet news, there is increased demand for journalists with backgrounds in international affairs and business experience as well as foreign language skills to work as foreign news correspondents.

These organizations and positions represent only some of the employment possibilities made possible with a B.A. in International Studies.