American Studies or Politics and International Relations?

(27 Posts)
another20 Fri 17-Aug-18 14:53:04

Any thoughts on how employers might view either degree subject - assuming uni same ranking?

OP’s posts: |
BubblesBuddy Fri 17-Aug-18 15:15:42

The second. In my humble opinion. Anything with “Studies” in the title might be considered lesser. Depends on university and what you want to do though. Also definitely required grades to get in and level of competition. Are the universities prestigious and what do grads do after graduating? Both are not guaranteed any employment of course because they are both widely offered.

argumentativefeminist Fri 17-Aug-18 15:20:18

I would say Politics and IR is seen as being ranked more highly by employers as American Studies can encompass things like media and culture which are supposedly seen as lesser by employers. If going directly into politics based employment, American Studies doesn't offer the same breadth of global knowledge. But ultimately, I think seeing culture and media as lesser is ridiculous, and they should be valued equally. Advise whoever it is you're asking for to do the one they are most passionate about!

IsTheRainEverComingBack Fri 17-Aug-18 15:20:34

It would depend on the university to some extent, but 99x out of 100 the latter would be better recieved.

bellinisurge Fri 17-Aug-18 15:22:03

I would, on the contrary, prefer American Studies and would have a lesser opinion of the second. It would look like an opportunity to stay well inside the student comfort zone.
A great deal depends on the course, the place of study and the interest level of the student.

bellinisurge Fri 17-Aug-18 15:30:35

American Studies isn't "Can you name all the Kardashians". It should be a thorough examination of the history politics and culture of a major country .

BubblesBuddy Fri 17-Aug-18 15:33:21

Yes, but it’s only one country and no need to learn another language as you would with an MFL degree for example. So it is less useful than those degrees where we have a shortage of MFL speakers.


bellinisurge Fri 17-Aug-18 15:35:55

Politics and International Studies doesn't include an MFL feature. And learning Spanish would be extremely helpful in studying the US if that is an option.

bellinisurge Fri 17-Aug-18 15:36:37

Sorry, international relations, not international studies.

BubblesBuddy Fri 17-Aug-18 17:02:57

I do realise that neither of them do. However another language would be far more useful with both subjects. What I was trying to say though was that although American Studies is studying America in depth, an MFL degree, preferably joint honours, is significantly more useful as it not only covers literature and culture, it also means learning languages. It’s therefore seen as more demanding and is more useful to employers. I appreciate that not everyone can do MFL but I think American Studies has its limitations.

bellinisurge Fri 17-Aug-18 17:45:13

I did an MFL fwiw.

FatherBuzzCagney Fri 17-Aug-18 21:03:48

Politics and International Studies doesn't include an MFL feature

Some PIR programmes do.

PIR generally more highly rated, I would say, but really depends on the university. Which one/s are you thinking of?

wizzywig Fri 17-Aug-18 21:04:46

I did IR with a year of French

another20 Fri 17-Aug-18 22:54:16

Both courses are at Manchester - both need AAB and both have the option to add a MFL.

OP’s posts: |
Frazzled2207 Fri 17-Aug-18 22:57:03

I think the latter sounds broader which might be more favourable with future employers. American Studies I'm pretty sure will be pretty meaty at Manchester but I imagine directly relevant careers less obvious.

Movablefeast Sat 18-Aug-18 19:17:20

Do you spend a year abroad with American Studies? That was my major and I now live in the USA. The fact that I attended a prestigious US uni was seen very favorably over here. I did it as a mature student and my main motivation was to travel though!!! If they spend a year abroad find out if the uni's are excellent or middling, can make a big difference later.

another20 Sat 18-Aug-18 23:35:04

That’s an interesting outcome - yes year abroad at US but can’t see from website which ones they go to

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argumentativefeminist Sun 19-Aug-18 10:27:18

I think the real difference is how much you like history and international politics. If history bores you senseless, better not do American Studies. Similarly if the idea of learning at least the basics of the German and French political systems makes you want to scream, Politics and especially Politics with IR isn't for you. There's no point considering the employability of a course if you're actually going to hate it.

MarchingFrogs Sun 19-Aug-18 10:38:32

There's no point considering the employability of a course if you're actually going to hate it.


Is there some way of turning that into a 'sticky'?

MarchingFrogs Sun 19-Aug-18 10:52:23

Loop like the US universities involved for American Studies are listed here

another20 Sun 19-Aug-18 11:42:53

That’s perfect ! Thanks

OP’s posts: |
another20 Sun 19-Aug-18 12:33:20

There's no point considering the employability of a course if you're actually going to hate it.

DC does Politics A level and loves inspired by and would enjoy both fortunately no hate involved in this situation.

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another20 Sun 19-Aug-18 12:34:58

Does anyone know if any of these are highly rated of the top of your head?

Arizona State University
Case Western Reserve University
McGill University
North Carolina State University
Queen's University
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
Simon Fraser University
University of British Columbia
University of Calgary
University of California
University of Illinois at Urbana – Champaign
University of Kentucky
University of Maryland, College Park
University of Massachusetts at Amherst
University of Missouri at Columbia
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
University of Tennessee at Knoxville
University of Toronto
University of Vermont
Wellesley College

OP’s posts: |
Ginmere Sun 19-Aug-18 12:38:25

My DS studies American Studies at Birmingham and has just arrived at the University of Alabama for his year abroad. He said his first year modules were heavily focused on literature if that's any help? He has managed to avoid cultural type modules and has concentrated on history since which is his real passion.

Justawaterformeplease Sun 19-Aug-18 12:50:23

Some of those colleges are Canadian - McGill is (apparently) the Harvard of Canada and is well-regarded, especially for business courses. Wellesley is hard to get into (although it’s a women’s college so depends on gender of your DC). UMass and UNC are also very competitive. They’re good colleges on the whole. I was put off doing American studies twenty years ago because of the “studies” snobbery and still wonder what might have been. I did end up here anyway but it was a much more circuitous path!

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