Pomerantz Career Center 100 Pomerantz Center, Suite C310, Iowa City, IA 52242
Phone: 319-335-1023

What Can I Do With a Major in... Asian Languages and Literature

Asian Languages and Literature majors study the languages of many diverse countries in Asia which include Chinese, Tibetan, Japanase and Korean; Hindi and Urdu; Filipino and Vietnamese; and Micronesian and Polynesian languages. Studies in this major include not only learning the Asian Languages, but these skills are also applied to business, literature, and science/technology. Students interested in this major are generally very good at communicating both orally and in writing, while also being successful in the acquisition of new languages. Many students take the opportunity to travel and study abroad while completing their degree. Studying abroad is highly recommended because it allows the students to become fully immersed in the language and culture of the foreign country for an extended amount of time.

With this degree, many students go on to careers teaching Asian Languages or working as translators or interpreters. Although these jobs are seen as most "common" to this major, there are many other opportunities available in several different career areas. Other less known areas of employment include: jobs at airports, international business, travel agencies, social services and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Job applicants with a strong knowledge of a second language are highly sought after by employers because of their usefulness and applicability to many situations.

General Career Information


Sample Job Titles

Entry Level

  • Customs Officer
  • Interpreter 
  • Language Teacher
  • Peace Corps Volunteer
  • Social Worker

Education + Experience

  • Border Patrol Officer
  • Foreign Service Officer
  • Professor
  • Translator

These job titles are not an exhaustive list, but rather, represent the types of positions most widely recruited for.

  • Bilingual Administrative Assistant
  • Border Patrol Officer
  • Cultural Officer
  • Customs Officer
  • Defense Language Institute Officer
  • FBI Agent
  • Foreign Correspondent
  • Foreign Language Instructor
  • Foreign Service Officer
  • International Consulting
  • International Development Officer
  • International Journalist
  • Interpreter
  • Language Librarian
  • Language Teacher
  • Law Enforcement Officer
  • Missionary
  • Peace Corps Volunteer
  • Press Officer
  • Professor
  • Program Specialist
  • Social Worker
  • Teacher
  • Tour Guide
  • Translator
  • United Nations Officer
  • United States Information Service Officer
  • U.S. Department of State Officer
  • World Health Organization Officer
Employment Areas
  • Academia
  • Government
  • Private Corporations
  • Non-Profit Organizations
  • Publicly Traded Corporations
Job and Internship Listings
Professional Organizations
Organizations That Have Hired UI Students and Alumni

To view a complete list of organizations that recruit UI students and alumni, please visit: www.careers.uiowa.edu/students/uirecruit.html

Additional Resources
UI Resources
UI Websites
UI Student Organizations