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Career Paths For Graduates With a Major in Global Studies

Posted by Glassdoor Team

Career Advice Experts

Last Updated June 29, 2021

Guide Overview

What is a major in global studies?How do I decide if global studies is the right major for me?Career paths for graduates with a major in global studiesEntry-level jobs for global studies degree

Guide Overview

What you can do with a major in global studies

Before choosing a major, it can help to start by identifying what you are passionate about, what kind of impact you want to make on the world, and what your strengths are. If you determine that you are interested in learning about other cultures, exploring the world, and collaborating with people from different cultures, then a major in global studies might be for you. Graduating with a major in global studies sets you up for a wide range of careers, including working as a legal consultant, a government official, or a diplomat.

What is a major in global studies?

Global studies is an interdisciplinary course of study that encompasses politics, ecology, economics, culture, history, and globalization. As a global studies major, you’ll learn about the impact of globalization, including how communities across the world are working to manage today’s issues and problems. You can focus your studies on a particular region and issue or on the entire international system. Some schools encourage students to concentrate on a particular issue or culture, for example, women’s studies in South Africa.

How do I decide if global studies is the right major for me?

If you like the social sciences such as sociology, political science, and history, you might be a good fit for a  major in global studies. This is the right course of study for you if you:

  • Have a knack for learning foreign languages and are capable of learning several languages.
  • Enjoy traveling abroad.
  • Keep up with current events and understand how they fit with broad historical patterns.
  • Would like to work on a long-term project such as a thesis.
  • Are interested in events going on in other countries and want to know more about other cultures.
  • Enjoy problem-solving and can tackle complex problems such as human rights issues.
  • Are willing to dedicate the time it takes to complete a long-term project such as a thesis.

One of the benefits of majoring in global studies is the opportunity to find a global issue that you are passionate about and making a positive difference in the world. With such a wide variety of opportunities and careers, the job satisfaction rate is extremely high.

Career paths for graduates with a major in global studies

There are a wide variety of potential career paths for a global studies major. You can work for the government, for a nonprofit organization, work in international education, or work for the State Department. Here are some of the top career paths for graduates with a major in global studies.

Political affairs

A political affairs officer gathers and analyzes data about new developments in foreign politics. They monitor conflicts and work with the interested parties on mediation efforts. Working in political affairs means you will communicate with several government bodies, develop policies, and arrange and participate in negotiations.

International relations and diplomacy

A diplomat or foreign service officer works to promote peace while representing the best interest of America. There are 270 different embassies around the world, and each one has a political focus. The hiring, training, and orientation take place in Washington, D.C, and as a new foreign services officer, you’ll most likely be assigned overseas. The career tracks for a freight service officer include:

  • Consular – These diplomats evacuate Americans during a crisis, facilitate adoptions, and work to fight human trafficking.
  • Political – Political officers analyze the political climate in their assigned country and how it relates to the interests of the United States.
  • Economic – Economic officers work to build positive economic and trade relations between the United States and foreign countries. Their job is to promote the U.S.’s commercial interests.
  • Management – Management officers oversee all the embassy’s operations. These include hiring and training of personnel, real estate interests, and more.
  • Public Diplomacy – Public diplomacy officers promote U.S. interests and their image using the media. They are responsible for managing the cultural programs and organizing exchange programs with other countries.

Foreign Affairs

Jobs in foreign affairs include working as an analyst, a foreign affairs officer, an international economics director, and more. Foreign affairs analysts manage the commercial and political interests of a government agency or private corporation.

Law

After earning a degree in global studies, you can go on to law school and earn your law degree. Lawyers with a background in global studies can practice international law or work for a private law firm and handle international business transactions.

National Security

Organizations such as the CIA and the NSA hire agents to monitor threats to the United States. These agents analyze security data and provide intelligence information to military commanders. Security agents and analysts can also work for private companies such as Amazon or Google, who have to protect their data from global threats on a regular basis.

Nonprofit and development

There are many different types of jobs within a nonprofit organization. You can work as a fundraiser, in public health, in advocacy, or in management. A degree in global studies gives you the background needed for success in one of these roles.

International event planning

An international event planner is responsible for planning domestic and international events such as corporate meetings and educational events. International planners need to work around social and cultural barriers to plan events in a variety of different countries.

International trade and development

In international trade and development, Jobs include trade specialists, international trade finance management, international trade research, and global marketing. An international finance manager oversees and organizes the finance department, which could include employees from all around the world. A researcher conducts market research and develops strategies for business development.

Entry-level jobs for global studies degree

Graduation with a global studies degree qualifies you for a wide range of entry-level positions in many different fields. You can look in civil service, education, and politics to start. Some of the common entry-level global studies jobs include:

Congressional aide

A congressional aide provides support to a congressperson. The job includes a variety of tasks, from administrative duties to researching legislation and e-mailing supporters. You may also answer phones, sit in on meetings, or schedule meetings. A congressional aide must be able to work in a fast-paced environment and have the communication skills and ability to speak in public.

Civil service worker

Civil service employees work for the U.S. government, which includes federal, state, and local governments. There are many career paths within civil service, with each department offering a range of jobs and responsibilities. Some of the potential fields include:

  • Border control
  • Education
  • Human resources
  • Foreign affairs
  • Management analysis
  • Budget administration
  • Public affairs

Human resources representative for a global company

Working in human resources means you’ll perform the day-to-day tasks needed in a human resources department, such as employee training, new employee on-boarding, and employee-employer relations. With a degree in global studies, you can work in the HR department for a global company where your studies will come in handy as you work with a multicultural workforce that stretches across different countries.

International relations representative

An international relations representative has a variety of responsibilities, including analyzing and interpreting international policies and legislation. In this position, you might work with government officials, research agencies, political parties, and even the media to evaluate an organization’s programs and policies. Collecting and analyzing data and public opinion and sharing the results through professional publications.

Legal assistant

A legal assistant is a great entry-level position for those interested in the law. This position allows you to help lawyers in various ways, including preparing for trial, preparing for hearings, and assisting in closings. You might draft pleadings and contracts, along with other court documents.

Travel guide

Travel guides can work right in the U.S or abroad. Working as a tour guide provides the opportunity to see your own country and explore others. There are many different types of travel guides, from guiding people through European cultural tours to backpacking through the mountains and guiding groups through Tuscany’s vineyards.

Teacher

If you are interested in teaching overseas, a major in global studies will help get you there. There are opportunities in many different countries for English teachers, whether it’s in Thailand, Vietnam, or Spain. You can teach at any level, from elementary school to college and vocational schools.

Government official

Global studies majors can find a wide variety of government jobs, whether it’s as an elected official or in government affairs. Choosing a major in global studies opens up many opportunities once you graduate. Whether you want to go overseas to make a difference as a humanitarian worker or stay in the United States and work in government or private organizations, you can use your degree to do something you love. Use Glassdoor to discover the options available to you.  

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