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

Quinlyn Mork

Quinlyn Mork

Studying Abroad in Ghana

Dorothy Sewe

Dorothy Sewe

International Refugee Work in Grand Rapids

David Johnson

David Johnson

Attorney in Global Sourcing and Technology Transactions

Lizzie Heyboer

Lizzie Heyboer

National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations Fellowship

Haley Gerlofs

Haley Gerlofs

Studying in Jordan

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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

PLS 385 Russian and Post-Soviet Politics

PLS 385 Russian and Post-Soviet Politics

March 28, 2015

Offered winter semester 2016, Mondays and Wednesdays at 1:30-2:45 p.m.

PLS 382 Politics of Post-Communist Europe

PLS 382 Politics of Post-Communist Europe

March 28, 2015

Offered this fall semester, Mondays and Wednesdays at 4:30-5:45 p.m.

Kendziorski Wins PLS/IR Outstanding Paper Award

Kendziorski Wins PLS/IR Outstanding Paper Award

March 19, 2015

Chelsea Kendziorski's paper, "The Politics of Exclusion in Georgia and Moldova," has been selected as the Outstanding Paper written in 2014.

The Washington Center in the Lanthorn

The Washington Center in the Lanthorn

February 19, 2015

The Lanthorn recently published an article about internship opportunities at the Washington Center

Human Rights Minor Being Developed

Human Rights Minor Being Developed

February 18, 2015

GVSU Student Senate supports developing a Human Rights minor.

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Events

Peace Corps at GVSU

Peace Corps at GVSU

April 1, 2015 1:30 PM - 2:30 PM

Want to become engaged in work that really matters? Stop by to speak to a recruiter and learn more about Peace Corps!

WMWTA Scholarship

WMWTA Scholarship

April 3, 2015 All Day

The West Michigan World Trade Association is a non-profit organization dedicated to maintaining West Michigan’s competitive edge in the global marketplace. As part of this commitment, the...

Miller Johnson Paid Pre-law Intern

Miller Johnson Paid Pre-law Intern

April 10, 2015 1:00 AM - 4:00 PM

Miller Johnson Pre-Law Student Intern Program Description Miller Johnson partners with Grand Valley State University to provide an academic semester-long internship opportunity (two opportunities...

2015 LSAT Preparation Course Scholarship Program

2015 LSAT Preparation Course Scholarship Program

April 30, 2015 All Day

As part of our ongoing commitment to promote diversity within the legal profession, Warner Norcross & Judd LLP announces the eighth year of our LSAT Preparation Course Scholarship program. The...

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