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What can I do with a major in International Studies?


The information below describes typical occupations and employers associated with this major.  Understand that some of the options listed below may require additional training.  Moreover, you are not limited to these options alone when choosing a possible career path.

Description of International Studies

The Department of International Studies at Rhodes is one of the few undergraduate departments of international studies in a liberal arts college. The main objectives of the department are to prepare students, within the framework of a sound liberal arts education, to meet the requirements of leading graduate schools and law schools and to prepare students for careers in international business, journalism, teaching, research, government, and international organizations. The international studies curriculum affords the student an understanding of international politics, foreign policy making, political development, international law and international organization, defense policy, and the politics and cultures of various countries and regions of the world. Students concentrate in one of two general areas: (1) Area A – "Functional Specialization" or (2) Area B – "Area Specialization."

The Department offers a number of interdisciplinary majors in combination with several other departments. These majors include International Studies/Economics; International Studies/Foreign Languages; International Studies/History; and International Studies/Political Science. Other student-designed, interdisciplinary majors may be arranged according to student interests. Students have constructed interdisciplinary majors with Anthropology/Sociology, English, Religious Studies, and other fields. (Rhodes’ International Studies Department Website)

Possible Job Titles of International Studies Graduates

(*Jobs secured as reported by Rhodes Career Services post-graduate survey)

Account Coordinator*
Account Executive*
Assistant Account Manager*
Associate Buyer
Commodities Broker
Community Agency Administrator
Congressional Staff Member
Contract Broker*
Corporate Sales Manager*
Executive Assistant*
Export Documentation Agent
Export/Import Sales Manager
Foreign Correspondent
Foreign Service Officer
Hi-Tech Recruiter*
Immigration Inspector
Intelligence Agent
International Banker
Junior Foreign Service Officer*
Legal Assistant*
Legislative Assistant*
Marketing Assistant
Naval Aviator*
Peace Corp Volunteer
Production Coordinator*
Program Analyst*
Project Manager*
Public Relations Representative*
Junior Fellow*
Real Estate Appraiser/Agent*
Records Analyst*
Revenue Manager*
Sales Representative*
Second Lieutenant*
Special Events Coordinator*
United Nations Guide

Possible Employers and Employment Settings for International Studies Graduates

(*Jobs secured as reported by Rhodes Career Services post-graduate survey)
Business/Business Organizations
Commercial Realty*
Consumer Electronics Assoc.
Council of the Americas
Television Networks*
European-American Business Council
Flinn Marketing*
International Paper*
Lanier International Operations*
Murphy Appraisals*
National Association of Manufacturers
Resun, Inc.*
Stormtech Search, LLC*
Smith & Nephew*
Capitol Hill
Congressional Offices*
Lobbying Groups
Senator John Breaux*
Deloitte & Touche
Ernst & Young
Educational Development
Academy for Educational Development
African-American Institute
International Association of Students in Economics
JET Program* 
Schools, Colleges, and Universities*
Nonprofit Organizations
Amnesty International
Arms Control Association
The Carter Center
National Multiple Sclerosis Society*
Youth Villages*
Federal Agencies
US Army*
US Airforce*
US Department of Agriculture
US Department of Commerce*
US Department of Defense
Drug Enforcement Agency
US Department of Education
Environmental Protection Agency
Export Import Bank of the US
Federal Bureau of Investigation
General Accounting Office
US Department of Health & Human Services
US Department of Housing & Urban Development
US Department of Homeland Security
International Trade Commission
US Department of Justice
US Department of Labor
US Department of State*
International Organizations
North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Organization of the American States
Pan American Health Organization
World Trade Organization
Research Institutes
American Enterprise Institute
Brookings Institution
Cato Institute
Heritage Foundation*
Worldwatch Institute

Skill Sets and Interests Commonly Associated with International Studies Majors

  • Ability to conduct and clearly explain research
  • Ability to effectively communicate ideas to others
  • Ability to relate to people from varying backgrounds
  • Ability to speak articulately, read comprehensively, and write well
  • Charisma and public appeal
  • Aptitude for leadership
  • Ability to organize and interpret social, economic, and political data
  • Understanding of and sensitivity to community needs
  • Broad background of general (world) knowledge
  • Ability to effectively evaluate problems and make appropriate decisions

Rhodes Career Services Resources for International Studies Majors

Realities of Foreign Service Life Edited by Patricia Linderman and Melissa Brayer Hess
International Jobs by Eric Kocher and Nina Segal
Careers in International Business by Edward J. Halloran
Inside a U.S. Embassy Edited by Shawn Dorman
Barron’s Guide to Homeland Security Careers by Donald B. Hutton and Anna Mydlarz

Rhodes Contacts Associated with International Studies

Career Services

International Studies Department 

Additional Resources/Contacts for International Studies Majors

Amnesty International
American Security Council
Center for Security Policy
Human Rights Watch
International Labor Organization
Populations Action International
Search for Common Ground
World Trade Center Association