Cultural Minority and Gender Studies

An education in cultural minority and gender studies can prepare you for a variety of careers in the social sciences. Learn more about occupations, employment and common education programs that include the study of the arts, politics, education, economics and more, within the context of cultural minorities and their experiences.

Are Cultural Minority and Gender Studies Right for Me?

Career Overview

Cultural studies programs typically incorporate numerous lessons that discuss minority and gender groups. This field comprises a branch of the humanities, looking at questions of gendered constructions, racial and sexual identities, power relationships and histories of specific characterizations. In addition, programs analyze the daily activities, traditions and beliefs that define particular groups.

Sub-Specialties

Cultural, minority and gender programs are often interdisciplinary and diverse. Some cultural topics relevant to geography include African, Asian, Native American, Pacific Islander and Latino studies. You could also find historical cultural and gender concentrations that analyze labor movements, refugee diversity, youth, the elderly and women's studies. Other programs might identify cultural attributes of gay and lesbian communities, feminist groups or religious diversity along with gender roles in each area. You might study these cultural groups through various historical, scientific, religious, social, philosophical, artistic, psychological and geographical perspectives.

Career Opportunities

Within cultural minority and gender areas of study, you can pursue a college or university teaching career. Whether at a university, public agency, private business or nonprofit organization, you could - as part of a social science career - participate in projects involving research, analysis, outreach or advocacy. Opportunities for advancement might include moving up to departmental directorships or administrative positions, participating in community groups and heading initiatives. Understanding cultural differences could also help in business, commerce, marketing, finance and politics.

Career Outlook and Salary Information

In 2013, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that college-level teachers who taught area, ethnic and cultural studies programs earned a median salary of $66,770. The BLS also predicts that the number of college and university teaching jobs in this specialty will rise 16% from 2012-2022. During the same period, employment of social scientists in general is expected to increase 11%, although this figure varies by occupation; for example, a slower-than-average 6% employment increase is expected for historians, and a 19% increase is expected for anthropologists and archaeologists.

The median annual salary for social scientists in general was $69,290 in 2012, per the BLS; again, as more specific examples, historians made a median salary of $52,480 in 2012, while anthropologists and archaeologists earned median pay of $57,420 (www.bls.gov).

How Can I Work in Cultural, Minority and Gender Studies?

Undergraduate Programs

Studying minority cultures and gender characterizations through geographical, cultural or ethnic studies programs could prepare you for several careers in such areas as business, politics, advocacy or publishing. Often interdisciplinary, these programs cover a broad range of topics. You can find some undergraduate majors, such as language, civilization, cultural and women's studies, that specialize in a particular group while stressing comparative and research analysis, writing and theory. Cultural minority course topics and concentrated studies might include Asian immigrant workers, Native American history, U.S.-Mexican relations, African-American protests or Hispanic film. Gender-related classes could examine masculinity, women and food, genetic testing, modern sexuality, women leaders and the globalization of gender.

A bachelor's degree in this field can be a springboard for graduate programs in a variety of fields, such as anthropology, history, journalism, education, politics, international studies or business. The skills and knowledge you obtain can help you better understand the people and concepts involved in such disciplines.

Graduate Programs

While a graduate degree isn't necessary for many career options, the advanced study could give you a broader understanding of cultural and gender issues and help you advance in your career path. Master's and doctoral degree programs often refine your interests through research. Graduate cultural studies programs could prepare you for a career in academia and might include courses in ethnography, immigration, transnationalism, laws regarding particular cultural groups, sexual identities and indigenous philosophies. If you're interested in teaching, a Ph.D. could open up many academic positions that might combine your talents in research, writing and teaching.

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