Career Information for a Degree in European Studies

Jan 16, 2020

European studies programs generally cover European culture and society. Continue reading for an overview of the possible careers that European studies degree holders can pursue, as well as salary info and outlooks for these career options.

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  • 0:00 European Studies Programs
  • 0:36 Career Options
  • 0:54 Postsecondary Teacher
  • 1:55 Foreign Service Officer
  • 3:01 Writer

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Essential Studies Programs

In European studies programs, students learn about the cultures and subcultures of European society. These programs exist at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Once enrolled, students learn about and research literature and folklore, historical conflicts, religion, internal migrations, and colonialism as well as other topics in European cultural history. European studies programs also provide students with the opportunity to view and critique European films, study different religions, learn how the countries in this region relate to one another, and think critically.

Career Options

Career Postsecondary Teacher Foreign Service Officer Writer
Degree Required Master's or PhD None; but graduate degree suggested Bachelor's
Job Outlook (2018-2028)* 11% NA 0%
Median Annual Salary $78,470* (2018) Varies by grade level: $30,113 - $142,180** (2020) $62,170* (2018)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics,**U.S. State Department

Students in European Studies programs have a range of career options available to them upon graduation, including postsecondary teacher, foreign service officer, and writer; positions that utilize the liberal arts principles and, in most cases, the European Studies degree directly.

Postsecondary Teacher

Postsecondary teachers, also known as professors, lecturers or instructors, teach at universities or community colleges and conduct topical research. Community colleges usually require at least a master's degree, while 4-year universities look for candidates with a Ph.D. to fill their tenure-track positions, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, or BLS. Job duties include designing and teaching classes and evaluating student progress through quizzes, exams and assignments. Some tenured professors may receive paid time off, known as sabbaticals, in order to pursue research or professional writing.

According to the BLS, postsecondary teachers of all kinds should see an 11%, or faster-than-average growth in jobs from 2018-2028, although this may be partly driven by an expansion in part-time and non-tenure positions. The median annual salary for all postsecondary teachers was $78,470 as of May 2018.

Foreign Service Officer

Foreign service officers (FSO) are diplomats who works for the U.S. State Department, traveling and living overseas to represent the U.S. government. Working under the authority of the Secretary of State, FSOs maintain consulates and embassies, grant passports and visas, engage in diplomacy, and further U.S. interests abroad. FSOs begin their careers by taking the Foreign Service Exam, undergoing background checks and passing in-person interviews. Foreign language proficiency is helpful in applying for these positions, as entry is considered highly competitive.

Compensation for FSOs is determined by a number of factors. Initial salaries vary with specialization, education and experience, as well as how the officer ranks on the government's pay grade scale. For example, as of 2020, the salary for class 9, step 1 foreign service officers was $30,113 annually, while class 1, step 14 officers earned $142,180 a year, according to the U.S. State Department.


Writers use their skills with the written word to communicate stories and ideas to readers of books, magazines, newspapers and Internet sites, or to moviegoers, television viewers or radio listeners. Writers often have expertise in a certain area, such as European studies, and a bachelor's degree in a humanities or liberal arts discipline can help develop the communications, research and critical thinking skills needed for a successful career as a writer. Writers can be employed by magazines, websites or publishers, or they might work on a freelance basis.

The BLS predicted that writers would see a 0%, or slower-than-average growth in jobs from 2018-2028, and competition for these positions was expected to be keen. Writers and authors in general earned a median annual salary of $62,170 as of May 2018.

Remember, a writer is just one of the career options open to you if you decide to pursue a degree in European Studies. You may also qualify for a position as a foreign service officer or post-secondary teacher, a field expected to see a faster-than-average increase in jobs through 2028.

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