What Can I Do with My Regional and Comparative Studies Major?

Overview

By majoring in regional and comparative studies (RCST), students have the opportunity to concentrate their education on either one (“Regional Studies”) or two (“Comparative Studies”) areas of the world. The RCST major is organized around six stand alone geographic regions: 1) Africa, 2) Asia, 3) Europe, 4) Latin America, 5) Middle East, 6) Russia, Eurasia, and Eastern Europe. Additionally, for the purposes of comparative studies, only, students may choose either the United States or a region comprising Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific as one of their regions. RCST majors look to sociology and anthropology for the foundations of theory and methodology, and then branch out to study the theories or methods of at least one other discipline as well. Students gain expertise in their region(s) of interest by taking courses from a wide range of academic departments and studying a language relevant to the area.

Regional and comparative studies majors, like all students within the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, develop acute analytical and critical thinking skills. In addition, they are required to develop proficiency in at least one foreign language during their time as an undergraduate – a skill that often makes them more competitive upon graduation. With an emphasis on excellent communication skills and objective analysis, students graduating from the School of Foreign Service are well-prepared for careers in both the public and private sectors, as well as success in both graduate and law school.

Skills Acquired with the BSFS Degree

Critical Thinking

  • Understanding complex factors within problems
  • Perceiving patterns/structures
  • Comparing/contrasting interpretations
  • Assessing cultural differences
  • Assessing conflicting viewpoints

Communication

  • Analytical writing
  • Editing
  • Drafting documents
  • Summarizing and presenting information
  • Public speaking
  • Language proficiency
  • Strong writing skills

Research

  • Defining problems
  • Formulating and assessing hypotheses
  • Gathering and analyzing information
  • Using original sources
  • Understanding cultural contexts
  • Interpreting data
  • Evaluating evidence and results
  • Reading critically
Sample Internship Opportunities
  • White House Fellows
  • U.S. State Department
  • International labor organizations (e.g. AFL-CIO)
  • U.S. or State Congress
  • Research Institutes/Think Tanks (e.g. Brookings Institute, Urban Institute)
  • International development and relief (e.g. Freedom House, AED, USAID)
  • Environmental organization (e.g. EPA, PIRC, Green Peace)
  • Educational programs (e.g. Summerbridge)
  • Financial services (e.g. The Emerging Markets Private Equity Association)
  • Consulting firms (e.g. Drum Cussac Inc.)
  • U.S. Department of Homeland Security
  • Intelligence and National Security (e.g. Intellibridge.com, CIA)
  • Political Action Committees (PACs) (e.g. American Israeli PAC)
  • Government consulting (e.g. DFI, SAIC)
  • Non-Governmental Organizations (e.g. Search for Common Ground)

Where are Regional and Comparative Studies Majors Now?

  • Attorney
  • Campaign staffer
  • Consultant
  • Creative writer
  • Development associate
  • Economist
  • Editorial assistant
  • Financial Analyst
  • Foreign Service officer
  • Intelligence officer
  • Journalist
  • Legislative assistant
  • Librarian
  • Military Services
  • News producer
  • Paralegal
  • Physician
  • Policy analyst
  • Production coordinator
  • Professor
  • Program assistant
  • Reference researcher
  • Social worker
  • Speech writer
  • Student Services administrator
  • Teacher
  • University admissions officer
Relevant Web Sites and Publications

For more information about career options, internships and full-time opportunities contact the Career Education Center at One Leavey Center, (202) 687-3493. For more information about the major and degree requirements visit the School of Foreign Service website or stop by 301 ICC. The department can also be reached at (202) 687-5696.