Career Guide

Career Benefits of International Relations Major

 

  • IR students gain critical thinking, analytic, and research skills that can be applied to understanding significant concepts, institutions, actors and debates in international affairs. 
  • IR majors develop their communication skills. The IR curriculum emphasizes writing, and students also develop verbal communication skills through class discussions, simulations, and debates.
  • IR majors have a variety of career paths that they may pursue, and the flexibility to apply their knowledge and skills to a variety of careers in a rapidly changing job market.

Spotlights

Courtney Johnston

Courtney Johnston

Entrepreneur Founds Copywriting Business

Clair (Radyko) Scheiderer

Clair (Radyko) Scheiderer

Attorney for Freedom House Represents Asylum Seekers

Mario Amaya-Velazquez

Mario Amaya-Velazquez

Graduate Soaks Up Languages Abroad

David Leestma

David Leestma

Winner of Nationally Competitive Critical Language Scholarship

Dorothy Sewe

Dorothy Sewe

International Refugee Work in Grand Rapids

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Career Options

With a strong foundation in the liberal arts, International Relations majors are well suited for a variety of careers. Occupational opportunities include government administration, politics and campaigns, public policy, non-profit organizations, international relations, business, law, and journalism. 

  • Foreign Service and other government agencies including
    • Department of Defense
    • Agency for International Development
    • Central Intelligence Agency
    • Department of Commerce
    • Department of Homeland Security 
  • Education as a Teacher or Professor
  • International Organization Program Officer
  • Legal profession as Lawyer or Judge
  • Lobbyist or Political Analyst
  • Public Policy Researcher
  • International Sales and Marketing
  • Social Service Worker
  • Non-Profit or Public Administrator
  • Journalist
  • International Education Specialist

Careers of GVSU IR Graduates

  • U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
  • NATO
  • University International and Study Abroad Offices
  • Congressional Research Service
  • U.S. Naval Intelligence
  • The Carter Center for Human Rights
  • Steelcase Corporation
  • Motorola Corporation
  • USF Holland
  • Landmine Survivors Network
  • World Learning International Training
  • U.S. Customs
  • Catholic Charities
  • Peace Corps
  • Social Security Administration
  • Lutheran World Services
  • United Way
  • Ovation Travel Agency
  • Detroit Free Press

Building Your Career Prospects

  • Get good grades and foster strong relationships with your professors
  • Study abroad and develop language skills
  • Pursue internships
  • Engage in extracurricular groups on campus
  • Network with GVSU alumni and professionals
  • Keep abreast of global news and issues
 

Career Resources

GVSU Career Services

There are so many career resources available to undergraduates that it can be a bit overwhelming. To get you started, we recommend that you take advantage of GVSU's Career Services office, and read two books. GVSU's Career Services site can be found at http://www.gvsu.edu/careers/

The Career Services office has a very helpful Career Guide available at this site that is mandatory reading for anyone at GVSU contemplating a career. The office offers practice interviews and assistance with building and refining your résumé. They also sponsor periodic career fairs, which are chances to meet directly with potential employers.

 

 

Helpful Career Books

  • Careers in International Affairs. Maria Pinto Carland and Candace Faber. 2008. Georgetown University Press.
  • Working World: Careers in International Education, Exchange, and Development.  2008. Sherry Mueller and Mark Overmann. Georgetown University Press.
  • International Jobs:  Where They Are and How to Get Them.  Nina Segal and Eric Kocher.  2003.  Basic Books.
  • Alternatives to the Peace Corps: A Guide to Global Volunteer Opportunities.  Caitlin Hachmyer.  2008.  Food First Books.
  • Go Global! Launching an International Career Here or Abroad.  Stacie Nevadoski Berdan.  2011.  Amazon Kindle Edition.

 

Websites

 

Graduate School & Law School

Graduate School
These three sites can link you to all the professional master’s degree programs offered in the public administration, international affairs, and public policy fields:

National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration (NASPAA)
http://www.naspaa.org/

Association of Professional Schools of International Affairs (APSIA)
http://www.apsia.org/apsia/index.php

Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management (APPAM)
http://www.appam.org/education/gradschools.asp

Law School
If you are contemplating law school, check out our helpful pre-law FAQ.

 

News

Phelan ('11) Awarded Fulbright Teaching Scholarship

Phelan ('11) Awarded Fulbright Teaching Scholarship

June 24, 2014

Kathryn Phelan will be teaching English in Brazil.

GVSU Team Wins World Quest 2014

GVSU Team Wins World Quest 2014

May 09, 2014

PIC Corp Team wins the 2014 World Quest competition hosted by the World Affairs Council of Western Michigan

PLS 339 Comparative Democratization

PLS 339 Comparative Democratization

May 07, 2014

PLS 339 offered this fall semester, Mondays and Wednesdays, 4:30-5:45 p.m.

IR Students Awarded PIC Study Abroad Scholarship

IR Students Awarded PIC Study Abroad Scholarship

April 29, 2014

Three IR students have been awarded PIC Study Abroad Scholarships for 2014-15

Leestma Awarded Boren Scholarship

Leestma Awarded Boren Scholarship

April 29, 2014

IR major David Leestma wins nationally competitive Boren Scholarship.

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Events

WMWTA Panel Discussion:

WMWTA Panel Discussion:

September 30, 2014 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM

Background: The recent annexation of Crimea, subsequent downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17, and ongoing unrest in East Ukraine have significantly altered US and European Union (EU) relations...

Boren Scholarship Information Session

Boren Scholarship Information Session

October 1, 2014 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM

The Frederik Meijer Office of Fellowships will host two information sessions on Boren Scholarship to discuss the purpose of the scholarship and the application process ·         Wednesday,...

International Relations Discussion Series: International Sex Selection Abortion: Causes and Controversies

International Relations Discussion Series: International Sex Selection Abortion: Causes and Controversies

October 1, 2014 6:00 PM - 7:15 PM

The video “It’s a Girl” and the book “Unnatural Selection” have attempted to draw greater attention to the  phenomenon of sex selective abortion. Widespread in India,...

What is the Peace Corps Really Like?

What is the Peace Corps Really Like?

October 2, 2014 7:00 PM - 8:30 PM

Three recent IR alumnae have all completed their Peace Corps service in the past year.  They have agreed to come to GVSU and discuss their experiences on Thursday, October 2, 7-8:30 pm.  The...

Study Abroad Fair

Study Abroad Fair

October 9, 2014 10:00 AM - 3:00 PM

Thinking about studying abroad? Be sure to attend this fall's Study Abroad Fair. Remember that studying in another country not only helps you to gain important language and intercultural communication...

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