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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

Steven Richardson

Steven Richardson

Travel Assistance Coordinator for Youth For Understanding

Christopher Hoff

Christopher Hoff

Policy Advisor with U.S. Department of Commerce

Joey Courtade

Joey Courtade

GlobaLinks Learning Abroad Alumni of the Year

Jenny Ventimiglia

Jenny Ventimiglia

Peace Corps Volunteer and Fulbright Scholar Now Studying Education at U.C. Berkeley

Kristina Bray

Kristina Bray

STAIR IR Grad Works as Customs Compliance Officer

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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/

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

 

News

Professor Diven Researches and Teaches in Sri Lanka

Professor Diven Researches and Teaches in Sri Lanka

July 18, 2016

As part of her winter 2016 sabbatical project, Professor Polly Diven spent the month of February teaching and researching in Sri Lanka.

International Relations Summer Interns 2016

International Relations Summer Interns 2016

June 28, 2016

Many of our students are pursuing internships this spring/summer at a variety of Grand Rapids, DC, and international placements.

IR Major Khader Jabbar Receives Gilman Award

IR Major Khader Jabbar Receives Gilman Award

June 07, 2016

Khader Jabbar was one of two Grand Valley students who were recently selected to receive the prestigious Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship

Jiri Aberle Wins Thomas Seykora Award

Jiri Aberle Wins Thomas Seykora Award

June 07, 2016

Congratulations to Jiri Aberle, GVSU IR 2016, who won the Thomas Seykora Award for his "outstanding contribution to the campus community" and excellent academic standing.

Winners of the 2016 IR Scholarship for Study Abroad and Internship Abroad

Winners of the 2016 IR Scholarship for Study Abroad and Internship Abroad

June 07, 2016

Congratulations to the winners of the 2016 IR Scholarship for Study Abroad and Internship Abroad!

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Events

Fall Internship Information Meeting

Fall Internship Information Meeting

August 31, 2016 6:00 PM - 7:30 PM

It’s not too late for Fall 2016! Come find out about internships for credit in Political Science and International Relations. Wednesday, August 31, 6-7:30 pm in Kirkhof 2266 *Summer...

Pizza Social and Information Session

Pizza Social and Information Session

September 21, 2016 5:00 PM - 6:30 PM

Learn about study abroad, internships and careers. Eat pizza and socialize with your peers and professors. Open to current and prospective majors and minors.   For more information...

Sri Lanka: the Influence of a Small State Among Superpowers

Sri Lanka: the Influence of a Small State Among Superpowers

October 5, 2016 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM

Professor Diven will present her sabbatical research on Sri Lanka, including background on the history and culture of this "Pearl of the Indian Ocean." She will summarize her research into...

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