Career Options: European Studies

In studying European studies at Reading you will have benefited from a course with rigorous academic standards which has developed a wide range of your skills and knowledge. Amongst these skills are, analytical thinking, communication both written and oral, IT and linguistic all of which will have prepared you for a wide range of careers. Your proficiency in at least two languages, your grasp of contemporary European issues, and your cultural sensitivity opens up a wide range of job opportunities in the UK and abroad.
European Studies Career Options
Graduate Destinations What did last year's undergraduates go on to do? For job titles and employers see the main Destinations section (grouped with Modern Languages).
Main Activity - Undergraduates (as %)
Main Activity - Undergraduates (as %)
Knowns only
Full-time paid work 50
Part-time paid work 12
Work and study 3
Full-time study 9
Unemployed 12
Other 15

Clearly Britain is part of Europe with all the advantages that brings for trade but also for opportunities in public administration within the European Institutions. But the world of employment is increasingly a global one, and the insights that you have gained from your academic background will have prepared you to enter this market in Europe and beyond.


These links show: how the sectors break down; the main graduate recruiters; characteristics of working in the sector and key current issues; as well as lists of job roles available in the sector.

European studies and language graduates may be found in every sector of the economy, and much depends on their interests and ambitions. However the public sector including UK central and local government is attractive to many, along with the institutions of Europe. In addition the linguistic and other skills that European Study graduates have mean that many work within the commercial sector, including industry, finance, advertising and marketing, tourism and transport. The Education sector both in the UK and Overseas will attract many. In addition they may be found in the communication sector of publishing and translation.


As with the sectors above the roles graduates train for and undertake are extremely diverse. The list below covers a number of working roles that European studies graduates have entered. Each job title typically links through to a detailed job description including the range of duties, salary and conditions, entry requirements, range of recruiters and links to many other useful and pre-assessed information sources.

Administrator: Civil Service

This is an accelerated development programme for graduates and prepares them for careers at the highest levels of the Civil Service. It allows graduates to gain a wide range of experience in a very short time. The Diplomatic Service and the European Fast Stream options allow graduates to be based outside the UK; in particular the European scheme is designed for graduates who want a long term role dealing with European issues. Graduates may also enter the Civil Service via other recruitment schemes for specialist roles, and via direct entry as support and administrative officers.

Links for further information

Administrator in the European Union

EU Administrator - In addition to roles in translation and interpreting within the EU, language graduates can apply to The European Commission, European Parliament and other EU institutions for generalist roles often labelled administrators. Typical responsibilities of the job include drafting legislation, developing and implementing policies and managing staff.

See also Careers with the European Union - The European institutions offer opportunities in a wide range of occupations. The above website gives details of all these and how, and when to apply. Be aware that the system for recruitment can be complex, drawn-out and time consuming. These rules are set to ensure equal opportunities for nationals of all the member countries.

Government Communications HQ Analyst

Government Communications HQ Analyst - This specialist department of government concerned with national security recruits graduates of particular 'hard' languages, IT and mathematicians but also onto their Leadership Development Programme. Language Analysts play a key role in translating and analysing foreign language material, often using their specialist knowledge and expertise to judge which pieces are of intelligence value.


Translator - Translators convert written materials from one language to another while ensuring that the translated version conveys the meaning of the original as clearly as possible. Translators usually need an excellent command of two or more languages. Also see: The Institute of Translation and Interpreting


Interpreter - Interpreters convert spoken or sign language statements from one language to another; this could be done in a variety of settings from large meetings and conferences to smaller meetings and could take place in a business, community, public/charity sector or NGO setting. See also: Oxford Careers Guide to Interpreting and Translation.

Secondary (languages) Teacher

Secondary School Teacher - Secondary school language teachers teach one or possibly two language subjects to pupils aged 11-18. Teachers support and record the progress of their class while also planning lessons in line with national objectives.

English as a Foreign Language Teacher or English as a second language teacher

English as a Foreign Language Teacher - Teaches English to international students in either the UK or overseas. Also known respectively as TEFL or EAL (English as an additional language) in schools and as ESOL (English for speakers of other languages) within adult education.

Broadcast Journalist

Broadcast Journalist - Broadcast journalists research, investigate and report news for television, radio and the internet. Their aim is to present information in a fair and objective way through news bulletins, documentaries and other factual programmes.

Newspaper journalist

Newspaper Journalist - With an increasingly multi-platform press, a journalist develops news stories for a range of media. The core of the job is to research and write news stories. Journalists can specialise in areas such as politics, sport, arts, culture and business and work at national or local papers. See also: Oxford Careers Guide to Journalism.

Sales Executive

Sales Executive - sales, or business development as it is often called, involves taking on responsibility for huge deals through the development and brokering of relationships with retailers. Deals have increased in complexity as brands team up, space and merchandising issues are brought to the fore and retailers sales ideas change. A firm grasp on the figures is essential in sales as is the ability to negotiate and build relationships.

Marketing Executive

Marketing Executive - This role creates marketing campaigns to improve sales of products or services and involves planning campaigns, organising advertising and PR, research with consumers and new product development. Brand Managers focus on the visual concepts in marketing.

Chartered Accountant/Auditor

Chartered Accountant - Chartered Accountants/Auditors provide services for and safeguard clients ensuring business accounts are a true and fair reflection of their real financial situation. If you'd prefer to advise one larger business, then consider Management Accountancy. Chemists can specialise with science employers or scientific clients.

Corporate Investment Banker

Investment Banker - Corporate investment bankers provide a range of financial services to companies, institutions and governments. Key activities include supporting clients involved in mergers and acquisitions, raising bonds and shares, lending, privatisations. Corporate investment bankers also advise and lead management buyouts, raise capital, provide strategic advice to clients, and identify and secure new deals.

Travel and Tourist Manager

Travel and Tourist Manager - The travel and tourism industry has grown substantially and offers a variety of roles. These could include being a tour planner for a travel company, an overseas representative, or working as a hotel or leisure centre manager, or being employed by an airline involved in logistics and other supporting management functions. Also see: Passenger Transport Manager


Solicitor - This role provides expert legal advice to clients: from private individuals to large companies. Solicitor specialisms have either a personal focus or a commercial one, so understand where your interests lie.


Barrister - Barristers (in England and Wales) represent individuals or organisations by acting as independent sources of legal advice in and outside a court. Barristers specialise; for example criminal law, commercial law, or common law, which includes areas such as family or personal injury law. See also: Bar Council Guide to Becoming a Barrister.

Finding Opportunities

For researching professional training and other postgraduate courses, Prospects is a comprehensive source of information. Translators and interpreters would need to follow a professional training course, as would those wishing to qualify as lawyers. Websites of Professional Societies often have information too, e.g. The Institute of Linguists, and The Institute of Translators and Interpreters.

A number of European Studies graduates continue studying their subject within the UK and Europe. Such courses are useful in accessing roles in public administration and research bodies, in particular within the European Institutions and policy Think Tanks. See the Prospects website, and as an example, The College of Europe.

As with most occupations work experience, internships, voluntary work and work shadowing can help enormously in helping you to decide not only on the work area that suits you, but also in finding employment. The links below will provide details of some opportunities. Many opportunities aren't advertised so networking through contacts, departmental alumni, Societies, and direct approaches to potential employers may also be profitable. Don't neglect the possibility of approaching small organisations and companies local to your home area with a suitably composed covering letter. Using your local media may also be useful as advertising nationally can be expensive for employers. See our Placements guide which has advice on how to go about this activity, and links to many useful vacancy sites.

Use The European Commission for details of traineeships within European institutions. Other useful sources include:

For vacancies in all areas make use of My Jobs Online.

You'll find the links listed below also helpful to explore opportunities and vacancies:

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