European Civilization

The study of European civilization examines many aspects of Eastern and Western Europe and its place in the world and can lead to a career in education, law, history or business. Read on to learn more about degree programs, course topics and employment for experts in European civilization.

Are Studies in European Civilization for Me?

Overview of the Field

Defining the meaning of 'Europe' or 'European' is complicated, since it refers to both a geographical location and a shared cultural identity. In general, the study of European civilization takes an interdisciplinary approach to the multiple regions and countries located on a single continent. In most programs, knowledge of multiple European languages is required, including French, German, Spanish, Italian, Greek and Latin. In an effort to understand present-day Europe, you'll also examine its past while pursuing topics in culture, history, religion and politics.

As a European studies major, you might study the Middle Ages, Renaissance and modern Europe. Depending on the program, you may also conduct an in-depth examination of British, French, Russian and German cultures, among other areas. Additional topics in ideology, philosophy and sociology might be included. A study of the formation and politics of the European Union may lead to a career in international business or relations.

Career Options

Due to its multidisciplinary nature, a formal study of European civilization can prepare you for independent research and help you acquire the analytical and communication skills valued in a variety of fields. Depending on your area of expertise and interests, you may find a position with the government or in international business. An advanced education might also open the door to a career in academia, law, political science or history. Additional areas of employment might include banking, journalism, public relations and publishing.

Employment and Salary Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) in May 2013, history professors at colleges and universities earned a mean annual wage of $74,100. In the same month, the mean annual wage for lawyers was $131,990, while writers and authors earned $69,250. The BLS has projected a faster-than-average growth in employment for postsecondary teachers nationwide between 2012 and 2022; an average rate of growth is expected for lawyers during the same period. As reported by the BLS, opportunities for writers and authors are less promising, with a slower-than-average increase in job growth expected through 2022 (www.bls.gov).

How Can I Become a European Civilization Specialist?

Educational Options

Many bachelor's, master's and doctoral degree programs in European history or the humanities include coursework in European civilization. Bachelor's degree programs that focus on languages and area studies are also available. While a 4-year program may cover multiple aspects of the European continent, more advanced degree programs may focus on a specific region or culture. Most degree programs in European studies or civilization include topics in mythology, religion, philosophy, art and culture; studying abroad is strongly recommended.

Educational Requirements

If you're interested in teaching European studies or history at a university, junior college or professional school, you'll most likely need a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in the field. To become a licensed lawyer, you'll have to earn a law degree and achieve a passing score on a state bar exam. Prerequisites include an undergraduate degree; a major in European studies may be particularly useful if you're interested in practicing international law. A graduate program in global business or studies, internships and study abroad may help you prepare for a career in international business.

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