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European Studies: What to Expect

European Studies (EURO) majors have an unusual degree of latitude in choosing courses to fulfill requirements. With only two required core courses, EURO majors have the opportunity to explore areas of interest related to matters European, whether it’s history, the arts, politics, law, business, economics, or languages. Faculty members from across the disciplines ensure a breadth and depth of knowledge that is unusual in programs of this kind. You will develop a working knowledge of Europe and the European Union before exploring and concentrating on more specific areas of interest including the history, language, and culture of one or more specific European countries. You will have the opportunity to learn from guest lecturers by, both USC faculty and visiting specialists. During your senior year, you will expand your academic experiences by focusing intensely on one area of interest, often drawing on study abroad experience.

The following courses fulfill some of the course requirements for a Bachelor of Arts with a major in European Studies:

  • Introduction to European Studies
  • Senior Seminar

The Senior Seminar is generally a 1 to 1 or 1 to 2 student-faculty ratio. A detailed list of degree requirements can be found in the Undergraduate Bulletin.

Enhancing your Experience

Study Abroad allows you to earn academic credits toward your USC degree while seeing the world! As a European Studies major, you will participate in a study abroad experience that is tailored to your interests. You will learn to negotiate – that is, to live and learn in – a European environment and to put the theoretical knowledge you gain through USC coursework to the practical test. Each EURO major receives an automatic $500 scholarship to help offset the costs of this experience, and is encouraged to apply for more via the Walker Institute for International and Area Studies. For more information on opportunities to broaden and extend your knowledge and perspectives, visit The Walker Institute Web site and the Study Abroad Web site.
Student Organizations can be instrumental in helping you adjust to life on campus and network within your field. The University of South Carolina has a family of nearly 300 student organizations. Getting involved in an organization that interests you can help you network, meet new friends, and develop leadership skills. EURO majors participate actively in the many European-language clubs and conversation groups, including EPI’s conversation partners. Find a student organization on campus that interests you and check the various European language programs at USC for EURO-related language opportunities!
Graduate School is one of the many possibilities following graduation. European Studies majors often attend Law School or pursue a graduate degree in Political Science.
Scholarships are available for European Studies majors through the Walker Institute for International and Area Studies. Each EURO major receives an automatic $500 scholarship to help offset the costs of their study abroad experience, and is encouraged to apply for more via the Walker Institute for International and Area Studies.

Internship and Research Opportunities

As a USC student you will have numerous resources at your disposal to assist you with locating internship and research opportunities. The USC Career Center is the central location at USC for assisting students with internship preparation and finding an internship. In addition, be sure to visit your academic department as many programs offer supplemental internship guidance specific to your major. The Office of Undergraduate Research assists all USC undergraduates by providing research and scholarly experiences in their chosen fields.

European Studies majors are encouraged to develop their required study abroad and language experience into research projects. The Senior Seminar provides the framework for this, and majors often seek and win outside funding for this. One current major, for example, won a Magellan Grant to underwrite his year in Paris to study the impact of secularism (la laïcité) and Islamophobia on the 2012 French presidential elections. Another recent graduate, also interested in Film Studies, turned a semester’s coursework on Irish politics and culture at the University of Limerick into a half-hour documentary on the 1916 Easter Rising.

Student Spotlight

James Ovenden, a European Studies and French major, traveled to Paris, France to get hands-on experience in a European environment. He spent his time in Paris studying French and European politics and getting an inside view of how Europeans view the European Union. While in Paris, James enjoyed classes that were taught by well-known and influential politicians. In addition to making new friends from many countries, James learned practical skills that he was able to take back to USC. “My French improved,” he said. “I also learned a lot about the history and the functioning of the European Union.” James said that his French classes and professors at USC, in addition to Dr. Persels’ EURO class, helped prepare him for his classes while studying abroad in Paris. For European Studies majors planning to study abroad, James offers some advice. “If you aim to improve language skills, it is imperative to live with a host family or in a lodging where native students speak the language everyday,” he said. While in Paris, James immersed himself in the culture and the language and was able to enhance his educational experiences as a Gamecock.

Career Opportunities

European Studies majors often pursue careers in law and international business. Other possibilities include careers in government administration, communications, education, transportation, export and import, international law or commerce, international-based industry, and immigration.

You can find more information about career options in the US Department of Laborís Occupational Outlook Handbook.

The USC Career Center offers numerous resources which provide more information about career opportunities for students in this major. Once admitted, a Career Development Coach is available to help you assess your interest areas, make decisions about your career path, and identify the experiences and skills that will help you accomplish your goals. Spur Connections will help you locate mentors from among USC alumni, employers and community members who can provide insights based on their careers and experiences. Early planning and preparation are keys to success.

About the European Studies Program

European Studies is one of many interdisciplinary majors and minors under the auspices of the Richard L. Walker Institute for International and Area Studies. The program’s primary focus is to encourage and facilitate the study of Europe and the European Union from a broad array of disciplines. This program stands out among similar programs at other colleges and universities. Due to the size of the program, students receive a high degree of individual attention. It is a student-focused program that allows for a great deal of freedom in planning and executing a course of study. The program has outstanding faculty and has financial support available for study abroad opportunities. The European Studies Program is in the College of Arts and Sciences.

Additional Resources.
European Studies Website
College of Arts and Sciences Website
University Career Center
Undergraduate Bulletin