One of the most commonly asked questions about any major is “what job will this major get me?” This type of question assumes that the field of study directly equates to a specific job category. While this assumption may be true in some fields like engineering, students in the “leadership skills building” college like Elmira College are preparing to enter a wide array of job possibilities. Some more effective questions are “by majoring in International Studies (or any major), what skills can I develop that will be useful in later careers?” and “how can I prepare for getting a job after I graduate?”

Careers with an International Studies Major 

Students who complete a major in International Studies pursue a wide variety of career paths because it provides with a strong foundation and preparation for success. These careers include, but are not limited to, human rights, international and domestic law, federal agencies, nongovernmental organizations, private sector firms, medical school, law school, and graduate school. Our alumni have gone on to work in the fields of business, education, government, language, and much more.

The International Studies major helps students develop key skills that employers look for most in a candidate such as critical thinking, the capacity to write effectively and clearly, knowledge of research methods, and foreign language skills. Within the International Studies major, students are offered the freedom and flexibility to create a cohesive program based on a geographic area or theme, such as focusing on Asia or Europe, global poverty and inequality, international peace and cooperation, democracy, etc. This thematic approach is especially appealing to employers when paired with strong language skills and cultural understanding.

Transferable Skills

International Studies majors have a wide variety of career opportunities. The interdisciplinary approach of the International Studies Major prepares you to engage in ever-expanding possibilities of work and scholarship after graduation. The skills you will develop in the major include:

As a student studying International Studies, you regularly practice these transferable skills. In addition, International Studies students learn how to use data and evidence to support arguments, analyze current and historical events, and evaluate arguments. As a student, you also have additional strengths that translate well to the job market: the ability to focus on a task, understand different viewpoints, work with others, negotiate agreements, and manage multiple tasks and deadlines. Keep these broad skills and strengths in mind as you pursue your degree. When you apply for a career, they will help you explain what you have actually learned and give your examples. Potential employers are much more interested in what you can do for their organization than in what you have on your transcript, so being able to understand your capabilities and explain them is vitally important.