Western European Culture

European nations are abundant with cultural traditions and historical actions that have shaped ideas worldwide. If you'd like to partake in studies of Western Europe, read on to learn about relevant career options. Get the details about employment information and degree options, too.

Is Western European Culture for Me?

Career Overview

The study of Western European culture encompasses languages, history, art, literature, music, philosophy, religions, politics and conflicts of the people living in past and modern Europe. Western Europe has historically been defined in different ways, so the scope of your studies may vary.

If you enter a degree program, you'll typically concentrate on one or more areas of your choice. With a formal education covering Western Europe, you might pursue a career in teaching or archive administration. Taking some marketing or global commerce courses can aid you in entering an international business career. The research, writing, communication and foreign language skills you acquire may also be prepare you for a career in journalism or interpreting. If you decide to pursue law school after earning a bachelor's degree, a background in cultural studies of Western Europe can lend to an international law career. Many doctoral graduates become professors in tenure-track positions.


According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), roughly 20% of interpreters and translators were self-employed in 2012, and they earned a median annual wage of $42,420 in 2013 (www.bls.gov). The BLS also predicts that employment of translators and interpreters will increase 46% from 2012-2022. Reporters, or journalists, can expect a 14% decline in employment between 2012 and 2022. Still, in May 2013, they earned a median annual wage of $35,600.

If you become a professor of area, ethnic and cultural studies, you can expect to work at least seven years before obtaining tenure at a university. The median annual wage for that profession in May 2013 was $66,770; jobs in this occupation are expected to increase 16% from 2012-2022, per the BLS. Lawyers earned a median annual wage of $114,300 in 2013; the BLS predicts that the number of jobs for lawyers will increase 10% from 2012-2022.

How Can I Work in Western European Culture?

Undergraduate Education

You can begin with a bachelor's degree program, which can include coursework covering a range of topics like classic literature, political theory, art history, historical analysis, European socialism, government, economics, music history and comparative literature. You might be able to choose a concentration, such as Western European studies, Medieval studies or area studies of Spain. Two years of a European language is commonly required and a study abroad experience is encouraged.

Graduate and Professional Education

Next, you might enter a Master of Arts in West European Studies or a Doctor of Philosophy in European Studies. Graduate degree programs are typically interdisciplinary, allowing you to explore the politics, history and ideas of Europe from various perspectives. Your training might involve historical research methodology, humanities studies, the unification of Europe and modern British politics. Additionally, you'll be required to engage in intense studies of foreign languages. You'll choose the majority of your coursework according to your area of interest and concentrations, which is how you can specialize your studies in the Western countries of the continent.

You will need to complete a comprehensive master's thesis in order to earn the degree. A doctorate degree program will commonly require you to have proficiency in French and German. You will need to defend a dissertation in order to earn this terminal degree. If you want to become a lawyer, you'll need to pursue a Juris Doctor (J.D.) instead of the Ph.D. - or in addition to it, if you're aiming for a more scholarly law career.

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