Careers and Employability Service
Services for current students

American and Canadian Studies

American Studies Canva

Studying American and Canadian studies with its option for a year abroad can help develop your cultural awareness and ability to market yourself as a global graduate.

Many students choose to study American and Canadian studies due to their interest in the history, literature, politics and culture of North America. Their decision is not often a vocational one and career options are open-ended. 


What skills will I gain during my degree?

The skills you have gained from studying American and Canadian studies are transferable to a wide range of areas which means that you can, and do, enter a diverse range of roles and sectors.

A graduate will typically have the ability to:

  • effective communication skills both written and verbal
  • work independently and collaborate with others
  • plan and research written work
  • analyse and critically examine diverse forms of verbal and textual communication
  • exercise independent thought, judgement and skills in critical reasoning and reflection
  • be sensitive to the opinions of others and alternative perspectives
  • work with others when presenting ideas and information
  • work with digital platforms
  • gain a broad range of vocabulary and critical terminology
  • demonstrate flexibility and cultural awareness particularly if undertaking the year abroad option

What careers have graduates gone into?

When looking at recent data for our graduates, the majority of graduates entered employment with some students embarking on further study, and a few choosing to travel.

It is worth noting that around two-thirds of jobs that require a degree do not specify a particular subject.

For the further study route such courses include: journalism, international relations,business, and teaching.

Of those going into the workplace, the range of occupations and sectors entered includes:

  • commercial, industrial and public sector management
  • marketing and advertising and journalism
  • business and finance including human resources
  • sales and retail including management roles
  • event management and public relations

It is true to say that many graduates of American and Canadian studies (and other subjects) take some time building their career through a series of roles to get to a specific career where they want to be or even to decide what job suits them.

This could be due to a variety of reasons for example:  the sector they want to enter requires an entry-level position (for example: heritage, media roles and publishing) or they are saving up to fund a postgraduate course or travel and therefore their first destination is a stop gap.

Types of Jobs - explore roles and sectors

Read the job profiles on Prospects


Elliot Haines, Head of SEO, Hallam

Elliot graduated in 2016, He wasn’t sure what he wanted to do but he talked to us. Elliott used the resources we suggested and secured a position with Hallam. 

Elliot Haines

Natalie Shortall, Constituency Caseworker

Natalie graduated from BA American and Canadian Literature History and Culture (with a year abroad) in 2018. She works for Lloyd Russell-Moyle MP.

Natalie Shortall

Aodhbha Bassani, joining the Civil Service

Aodhbha is finishing a postgraduate law conversion degree, at the University of Law. She has a place on the Civil Service Fast Stream for autumn 2021.

Aodhbha Bassani


How can I build my skills and experience?

Work experience and volunteering

Depending on what area of work or role you might be interested in, and where, there will be specific strategies, from speculative applications to formal processes you need to be familiar with.

Work experience - what, how and when

Nottingham Internship Scheme

We work closely with a huge variety of local and national businesses to bring you an exciting range of internship opportunities, for both current students and recent graduates.


Nottingham Consultancy Challenge

The Nottingham Consultancy Challenge offers the chance for you to gain hands-on experience of managing a short term project for a local business or charity as part of a multi-disciplinary team.  


Nottingham Advantage Award

The Nottingham Advantage Award offers interesting extracurricular modules to develop and reflect on your employability. With over more than 200 modules across our three campus in the UK, China and Malaysia.

CLAS offers a Work Placement module.


Advice from Nottingham alumni

With our Careers Mentoring programme, you can receive invaluable support from an alumnus while considering your career options. Choose a mentor in the career area that interests you and get a real insight into the sector.


Students' Union

The Students’ Union offers a wide range of volunteering options both locally and internationally which you can fit around your studies.

Alternatively you could get involved in a society or sports club - there's so many, you're bound to find one that interests you!


Students in Classrooms

There are three initiatives which will give you the opportunity to work in a local educational setting.  These initiatives support the academic attainment and raise the aspirations of primary and secondary pupils, whilst developing the skills and employability of those involved. 

These are excellent opportunities for students considering teaching, youth work or community engagement as a career.


Exchange programmes overseas

Undertake an exchange semester in another country and broaden your horizons. Talk to your tutors and find out more about the programmes available from the International Office.


Optional placement year

You can now undertake an optional placement year as part of your degree at the end of your penultimate year of study. The placement can be aligned to your degree discipline or related to your career aspirations.  Speak to a career adviser or your school for more information.

If you are no longer at Nottingham, you can access work and volunteering opportunities at home. Depending on your location and what you want to do, your strategy may vary so come and speak to us or arrange a telephone appointment.


How can I enhance my digital skills?

Digital skills are essential in many career fields, including advertising, publishing, marketing, and general commerce. They range from social media to coding and will definitely enhance your employability. There are various ways to develop your digital skills whilst at university.


How can I practise psychometric tests?

Many graduate recruiters use psychometric tests during the recruitment and selection process.They are common across all sectors and career fields. Practise will really help your performance.



Careers and Employability Service

University of Nottingham
Portland Building, Level D
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

telephone: +44 (0) 115 951 3680
fax: +44 (0) 115 951 3679