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

Nerina Cevra

Nerina Cevra

Human Rights Lawyer and Advocate

Clair (Radyko) Scheiderer

Clair (Radyko) Scheiderer

Attorney for Freedom House Represents Asylum Seekers

Haley Gerlofs

Haley Gerlofs

Studying in Jordan

Megan Murphy

Megan Murphy

Project Manager at Community Research Institute

Mario Amaya-Velazquez

Mario Amaya-Velazquez

Graduate Soaks Up Languages Abroad

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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

Student Scholars Day Registration

Student Scholars Day Registration

February 05, 2016

Registration for Student Scholars Day is opening soon! REMEMBER: it is so important that you showcase your academic work! Do not miss this amazing opportunity!

Celebrating 40 years of International Collaboration and Friendships

Celebrating 40 years of International Collaboration and Friendships

November 06, 2015

STAIR (Studies in Trans-Atlantic International Relations) is one example of the many collaborative programs and exchanges between Grand Valley and Cracow University of Economics. The two institutions are celebrating a 40-year partnership this year!

PLS 302 Winter 2016

PLS 302 Winter 2016

October 13, 2015

Interested in the politics of Planned Parenthood? The War on Women? The gender wage gap? Or women in campaign and elections? Then check out this course offering!

New U.S. citizens take oath at DeVos Center

New U.S. citizens take oath at DeVos Center

October 05, 2015

New U.S. citizens take the oath of allegiance during a naturalization ceremony at the DeVos Center September 28

Chelsea Kendziorski's Research Published In Pi Sigma Alpha: The Undergraduate Journal of Politics

Chelsea Kendziorski's Research Published In Pi Sigma Alpha: The Undergraduate Journal of Politics

July 16, 2015

Recent PLS graduate, Chelsea Kendziorski, has had an article published in Pi Sigma Alpha's Undergraduate Journal

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Events

Outstanding Paper Award

Outstanding Paper Award

February 10, 2016 All Day

The Department of Political Science and International Relations program are holding our third annual Outstanding Paper Award competition. We invite all students who major or minor (including...

Paul B. Henry Congressional Internship

Paul B. Henry Congressional Internship

February 15, 2016 All Day

The Henry Internship places a GVSU student in the Washington, D.C. offices of one of Michigan’s U.S. Representatives or Senators during the spring/summer 2016 session.  Students may also...

Great Decisions Global Discussion Series: "Climate Change: Local Solutions to Global Problems"

Great Decisions Global Discussion Series: "Climate Change: Local Solutions to Global Problems"

February 15, 2016 6:00 PM - 7:15 PM

When it comes to climate change, the local can impact the global! Former Mayor Heartwell draws on his decades of work creating a more sustainable Grand Rapids and insights gained for...

Great Decisions Global Discussion Series: "Never Again: the UN's Role in Genocide Prevention"

Great Decisions Global Discussion Series: "Never Again: the UN's Role in Genocide Prevention"

February 22, 2016 6:00 PM - 7:15 PM

Though 70% of Americans believe the U.S. should prevent mass atrocities world wide, according to a recent study by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, how do we do it? Dr. O'Bannon discusses...

Career Fair

Career Fair

February 25, 2016 1:00 PM - 5:00 PM

Career Fair is for Everyone! First & Second Year Students: explore job titles, career paths & employers Juniors: meet employers & learn about internship opportunities Seniors &...

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