American studies provides you with a variety of skills that are marketable to most employers, meaning you can find work in many job sectors

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. Some American studies degrees include a year studying at a partner institution in the United States. If you take this route you can use the opportunity to look for voluntary work or internships while you're there to build your skills and international knowledge.

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

Typical employers

As an American studies graduate you can find employment in a range of organisations, such as:

  • accountancy and banking firms
  • advertising, marketing, PR and social media agencies
  • charities
  • event management companies
  • film, television and media
  • schools and higher education institutions
  • local and national government
  • management consultancies
  • museums and galleries
  • 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

American studies is an interdisciplinary subject and you'll study the history, literature, politics and culture of the United States. This variety means you'll learn to view things from many perspectives and will develop a 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 and having flexible thinking
  • 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 develop their academic knowledge further by studying for an MA or PhD, often specialising in American literature or history. You could also consider applying for MA programmes in the US, although this is a process that requires a lot of planning, and financial support.

Depending on your career choice following your degree you may want to take a vocational course that will help you to secure a job. Postgraduate courses are available in areas such as marketing, journalism, event management, museum studies, human resource management, publishing or teaching. Do your research to find out what qualifications are essential for your chosen career so you can make sure you take the right path.

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

What do American studies graduates do?

14% are employed as sales, marketing and related associate professionals. Other popular areas of work include roles in the media, teaching and HR.

Further study12.3
Working and studying10.2
Graduate destinations for American studies
Type of workPercentage
Marketing, PR and sales16.6
Retail, catering and customer service15.7
Business, HR and finance14.5
Types of work entered in the UK

Find out what other American studies graduates are doing 15 months after finishing their degrees in What do graduates do?

Graduate destinations data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency.

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