Area Studies Overview

Would you like a major that you can tailor to your own interests? Majoring in area, ethnic, cultural, gender or group studies truly gives you the freedom to study what specifically interests you. In this major you can focus on history, society, politics, culture, and economics on the topic of your choice. You will critique and explore different societal norms such as ethnicity, race, gender, sexuality, and social inequalities. Curriculum usually includes discussion and reflection on materials and hands-on activities. Depending on your focus, you may be interested in national or international government and policies.

The courses you will take include broad liberal arts based classes as well as specific and focused classes in your area of study. Your course load may include politics, international relations, literature of the subgroup, music/art/culture of the subgroup, religion, language, and history.

There are many different concentrations in this major. Students have a wide choice of specializations depending on their area of interest. That could be anything from the United States, Africa, Russia, China, Native Americans, Hispanic Americans, African-Americans, Women, Folklore, Urban Studies or Disability Studies just to name a few.

Required Skills

As a liberal arts major it is helpful to be a strong reader and a critical thinker. Students will also find it necessary to be able to think analytically and have good interpersonal skills. Communication is huge for an area studies major, as you will be completing many different research and writing assignments. Students should be passionate about their subject and possess cultural tolerance and a global awareness. It is also important to have an open mind and to be ready to see another person's point of view. This is a good major for someone who is excited to learn and interested in seeing the world through other another person's perspective.


As an area studies major, you will be prepared for many different careers. By the time you graduate, you will possess skills that will allow you to effectively communicate with others, opening the doors for endless job possibilities. You may also choose to continue your education with a Master's Degree.

As ethnic, cultural and gender studies majors are found in a variety of careers, your earnings potential and likelihood of finding a job will vary.

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Area, Ethnic, and Cultural Studies Teachers, Postsecondary
Salary data is estimated by College Factual using 2013 data provided by PayScale.
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