Scandinavian Culture

Learn how a formal study of Scandinavian culture can lead to a career in journalism, tourism or interpretation and translation. Find information about degree programs, study abroad options and potential salaries for Scandinavian cultural experts here.

Are Studies in Scandinavian Culture for Me?

Career Overview

Scandinavian cultural studies focus on the Northern European countries of Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Norway and Iceland, as well as several nearby islands and borderlands, and typically include topics in Scandinavian history and society. Undergraduate programs can lead to a Bachelor of Arts in Scandinavian Languages and Cultures; graduate programs may culminate in a Master of Arts in Scandinavian Languages and Literature or a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Scandinavian Studies. Some colleges and universities offer study abroad programs that allow you to spend several semesters experiencing Scandinavian culture firsthand.

Career Options and Salary Potential

A Scandinavian cultural program can help you acquire the communication, critical thinking, foreign language and research skills you need to pursue a career in business, education, journalism or tourism. You may also be able to find a job in the fast-growing field of interpretation and translation.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), management analysts earned a mean annual wage of $89,990 in May 2013. Postsecondary teachers of area, ethnic and cultural studies had an average salary of $77,550.

Travel agents who were employed in May 2013 had a mean annual salary of $37,200. Interpreters and translators earned an average of $47,920. (www.bls.gov).

How Can I Work in Scandinavian Culture?

Undergraduate Programs

You can begin by pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Scandinavian Studies. In general, the curriculum may include topics in Scandinavian literature and history and Old Norse and Viking culture. Foreign language instruction may include the study of Danish, Norwegian and Swedish.

As a Danish language student, you may have the chance to study abroad in Copenhagen or Aarhus. If you're studying Norwegian, you can choose to visit either Bø or Oslo. Stockholm and Umeå are excellent choices for practicing your Swedish.

Graduate Programs

A Master of Arts or Doctor of Philosophy in Scandinavian Studies program may allow you to focus on modern literature, folklore, philology or area studies. Proficiency in at least one Scandinavian language is required; a working knowledge of one or more regional languages may be recommended. Expect to work closely with a graduate advisor, especially when researching and preparing your thesis. Both master's and doctoral programs may require a passing score on a comprehensive examination; as a Ph.D. student, you'll also need to write and defend a dissertation.

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