American and Canadian Studies
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?
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
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.
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.
Aodhbha Bassani, Civil Service Fast Streamer
Aodhbha completed a law conversion degree after graduation. She joined the Civil Service Fast Stream to share her passion for helping others.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.