Careers and Employability Service
Services for current students

American and Canadian Studies

Map with red markers across US and Canada

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:

  • communicate effectively, both in writing and verbally
  • 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 are my career options?

Did you know that 70% of jobs requiring a degree do not specify a particular subject?

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.

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
  • marketing, advertising, journalism and publishing
  • education including primary and secondary teaching

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.

Career paths - explore roles and sectors

Prospects - for career options and job profiles


Careers With, Within and Beyond the USA

Watch our webinar that brings together a panel of UoN alumni with backgrounds or academic interests in the US who have forged successful careers across a variety of sectors and, in some cases, in the US itself.

  • Iona Hampson, BBC Senior Journalist. BA Ancient History and History 

  • Alice Lilly, Institute for Government (think tank). MA and PhD in the Department of American and Canadian Studies

  • Calvin Medcalf, Sanctions Adviser, UK Treasury. History and American Studies

  • James Brookes, Library Director, Virginia Museum of History and Culture. BA and MRes

Login to SharePoint to watch the webinar

  • Alumni: Email us to gain access to the webinar

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What are my further study options?

American and Canadian studies graduates go onto further study either to pursue an academic interest or to gain an essential qualification for a specific career area. Popular areas for further study include: journalism, international relations, business, and teaching.

Postgraduate study or training can allow you to:

  • develop your skills and current subject knowledge further
  • enter certain careers by building expertise in a specific subject
  • switch careers, by training or building skills in a new subject

It's important to understand your reasons for studying at postgraduate level and to research opportunities and the value of postgraduate study in your sector before applying.

Masters funding is available (eligibility criteria exists) in the form of a postgraduate loan, but you can only access this funding once hence the importance of choosing your course carefully. If you'd like to talk this through with an adviser, arrange an appointment to speak to us.

Careers blog: Thinking About Postgraduate Study?

Find out more about further study


How can I build my skills and experience?

The opportunities listed are primarily aimed at current students living in the Nottingham area. If you are well into your final year, graduated or are no longer in Nottingham, you can access work and volunteering options in your home area.

Depending on your location and what you want to do, your strategy to develop your skills and experience may vary. You are welcome to have a chat with us, so just arrange an appointment.

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.


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!


Working with young people

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.


Developing your digital skills

Digital skills are highly valued by employers. Develop your skills through volunteering, online courses through Google or providers such as FutureLearn, or by getting involved in the Digital Marketing Academy.

If you're not sure where to start, begin by assessing your digital capability and identifying your next steps.


Please be aware that study abroad, compulsory year abroad, optional placements/internships and integrated year in industry opportunities may change at any time for a number of reasons, including curriculum developments, changes to arrangements with partner universities or placement/industry hosts, travel restrictions or other circumstances outside of the university's control. Every effort will be made to update this information as quickly as possible should a change occur.

How can I prepare for making job applications?

We can help you with all stages of the application, from reviewing your CV and/or application form to interview coaching and assessment centre practice.

Many graduate recruiters also 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