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Learn area studies with online courses and programs

Equip yourself with skills such as intercultural competence, language proficiency, and the ability to critically analyze global issues within a regional context. Learn more about area studies with edX.
Area Studies | Introduction Image Description

What are area studies?

Area studies is an interdisciplinary field of study that focuses on exploring and understanding specific geographical regions or cultural areas across the globe. This academic discipline combines elements of various fields, including history, anthropology, sociology, political science, and languages to provide comprehensive insights into the people, cultures, histories, and contemporary issues of a particular region.

For example, a course in Latin American Studies may examine the histories of countries in Central and South America, delve into the intricacies of indigenous cultures, and analyze political movements and social change.

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Area studies course curriculum

In a course focused on area studies, learners explore a wide range of topics related to a specific geographical region or cultural area. The goal is to gain a comprehensive understanding of the region. Some key areas and subjects that learners might study include:

  • Historical development of the region

  • The region’s cultural heritage

  • Physical geography, climate, and natural resources of the area

  • Social structures

  • Contemporary challenges in the region

Start building the knowledge you need to work in area studies with edX. From accelerated boot camps to comprehensive programs that allow you to earn a bachelor’s degree or (for more advanced learners) a master’s degree, there are many different learning formats available to fit your needs. Busy professionals can even take advantage of executive education courses. Find the right course for you.

Explore jobs related to area studies

The interdisciplinary knowledge and intercultural skills acquired through area studies programs are useful in various fields. Some careers that someone with a background in area studies can pursue might include:

  • Foreign service officer: Works as a diplomat for your country's foreign service, representing national interests, negotiating agreements, and fostering international relations with countries within the area of expertise.

  • International relations specialist: Analyzes and contributes to international policy, diplomacy, and global affairs, particularly focusing on the region studied.

  • Foreign correspondent: Reports on regional events and developments for international news organizations, providing in-depth insights and analysis.

  • Academic: Teaches and conducts research at universities, think tanks, or research institutions, specializing in the region's history, politics, culture, or social issues.

Each of these roles will have different education and skills requirements. Some employers may seek candidates with a degree in a specific region depending on the role. Before deciding on a specific learning path, research the positions you hope to pursue and align your coursework with your career goals.