Career Paths in International Studies

Though there are numerous career possibilities for which a major in IS can prepare you. Below are some areas which are particularly suitable for IS majors. This is obviously not an exhaustive list, but does illustrate possible career paths as well as strategies for enhancing your skills along those lines.

Public Sector/Government

Potential Employers: State, Local and National Agencies, Nonprofit Organizations, International Organizations

Representative Job Titles: Foreign Service Officer, Community Relations Director, Diplomatic Officer, Legislative Aide, Policy Analyst

Career Preparation Strategies

  • participation in internships (if possible with specific organization from which you seek employment)
  • fluency in foreign languages
  • participation in student and/or community organizations as well as political campaigns
  • international experience via study abroad or volunteer work such as the Peace Corps


U.S. Department of State


Representative Job Titles: Teacher, Professor, ESL Teacher

Potential Employers: Educational Institutions

Career Preparation Strategies

  • completion of coursework in education and/or ESL
  • acquire advanced degree in area of interest
  • volunteer to help local immigrant populations
  • participate in teaching abroad programs or "Teach for America" program

Language and Translation

Representative Job Titles: Foreign Travel Escort; Interpreter

Potential Employees: Similar to above areas.

Career Preparation Strategies

  • participate in study abroad programs
  • maintain familiarity with political and cultural issues of area of interest
  • develop ties with native speakers within community
  • work with local organizations that host foreign officials such as the Memphis Council for International Visitors

International Business

Representative Job Titles: International Marketer, Export Manager, Development Director

Potential Employers: Corporations, Nonprofit Organizations, Trade-related Government Agencies

Career Preparation Strategies

  • participate in study abroad programs and/or internships
  • take coursework in business and economics
  • learn about current trends in international business
  • focus classroom research on topics and/or corporations in area of interest