American studies is an interdisciplinary degree, combining history, politics, literature and the arts and exposing graduates to a range of options and opportunities

Job options

Jobs directly related to your degree include:

Jobs where your degree would be useful include:

Remember that many employers accept applications from graduates with any degree subject, so don't restrict your thinking to the jobs listed here.

Work experience

With so many options open to American studies graduates, gaining experience while you're studying can help you to gather ideas about different careers, as well as develop useful skills for your CV.

Marketing, social media and administrative roles are all popular, and digital skills can be particularly useful for your CV. Any opportunity to gain experience in these areas through volunteering, joining societies or work experience placements will help.

Many students get involved in student journalism, radio or TV, while others gain experience with charities, museums or political causes. What interests you and what you specialise in may well be influenced by the structure of your degree programme.

Work experience abroad is also popular, and many students apply for summer placements through organisations such as BUNAC.

Search for placements and find out more about work experience and internships.

Typical employers

American studies graduates find employment in a range of organisations, in industries such as:

  • accountancy and banking
  • advertising, marketing and social media agencies
  • charities
  • event management
  • film, television and media
  • higher education institutions
  • local and national government
  • management consultancies
  • museums and galleries
  • public relations agencies
  • publishing companies
  • retail organisations.

Find information on employers in marketing, advertising and PR, media and internet, public services and administration and other job sectors.

Skills for your CV

Because American studies is an interdisciplinary subject, you'll learn to view things from many different perspectives and will develop a broad range of skills valued by employers, including:

  • critical analysis across a range of media
  • strong verbal and written communication skills
  • engaging with a topic from a number of approaches
  • developing coherent and persuasive arguments founded on well-researched evidence
  • working independently to manage deadlines
  • working collaboratively to produce group projects or presentations.

If your degree includes a period of study abroad, this can help you to adapt to new surroundings and approaches to learning.

Further study

Some American studies graduates choose to continue their academic study by doing an MA or PhD, often specialising in American literature or history. Graduates may also decide to apply for MA programmes in the US, although this is a process that requires a lot of planning, and financial support.

Many graduates choose to study a more vocational Masters degree, for example in marketing, journalism, event management, museum studies, human resource management or publishing.

More information on funding for postgraduate study and research is available from the Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC).

For more information on further study and finding a course that interests you, see Masters degrees and search postgraduate courses.

What do American studies graduates do?

Popular areas of work include roles in sales and retail, marketing, human resources and admin. Nearly a quarter of graduates go onto further study, either full time or alongside part-time employment.

Further study24
Working and studying5.9
Graduate destinations for American studies
Type of workPercentage
Retail, catering and bar work20.4
Marketing, PR and sales19.8
Secretarial and numerical clerks14.9
Business, HR and financial11.5
Types of work entered in the UK

Find out what other graduates are doing six months after finishing their degrees in What do graduates do?

Graduate destinations data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency.

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