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

Amanda Miralrio

Amanda Miralrio

Compliance Office for U.S. Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control

David Johnson

David Johnson

Attorney in Global Sourcing and Technology Transactions

Amy Bush

Amy Bush

Intern at Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies

Quinlyn Mork

Quinlyn Mork

Studying Abroad in Ghana

Nerina Cevra

Nerina Cevra

Human Rights Lawyer and Advocate

View More Spotlights

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

Research Student Position at GVSU's Dorothy A. Johnson Center for Philanthropy

Research Student Position at GVSU's Dorothy A. Johnson Center for Philanthropy

October 07, 2014

The Johnson Center for Philanthropy is seeking an undergraduate or graduate student to assist in its community-based research and evaluation projects.

IR Alumni Speak About Their Experiences in the Peace Corps

IR Alumni Speak About Their Experiences in the Peace Corps

October 03, 2014

Anel Guel, Lyndia McMullen, and Jillian Zirnhelt came to GVSU to talk to students about their Peace Corps Experiences

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.

View More News

Events

Undergraduate Research Opportunity in Comparative Philanthropy

Undergraduate Research Opportunity in Comparative Philanthropy

November 1, 2014 All Day

Join Dr. Michelle Miller-Adams (Associate Professor, Political Science), recipient of GVSU’s Mawby Fellowship for 2014-15, in a project comparing the philanthropic cultures of Grand...

Humanity in Action Fellowship

Humanity in Action Fellowship

January 8, 2015 All Day

Intensive and demanding, the Humanity in Action Fellowship brings together international groups of college students and recent graduates to explore national histories of discrimination and resistance—including...

View all Events