Skip to main content

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

Kristina Bray

Kristina Bray

STAIR IR Grad Works as Customs Compliance Officer

Amy Fuerstenau

Amy Fuerstenau

Former Advisor to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and Senior Political Strategist at the Energy Foundation

Amy Bush

Amy Bush

Intern at Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies

Lizzie Heyboer

Lizzie Heyboer

National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations Fellowship

Sam Stephenson

Sam Stephenson

Member of U.S. Air Force, Graduate of the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, California

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/

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

 

News

Paul B. Henry Congressional Internship

Paul B. Henry Congressional Internship

January 18, 2017

The Henry Internship places a GVSU student in the Washington, D.C. offices of one of Michigans U.S. Representatives or Senators during the spring/summer 2017 session.

Professor Walhof's Book: The Democratic Theory of Hans-Georg Gadamer

Professor Walhof's Book: The Democratic Theory of Hans-Georg Gadamer

January 17, 2017

Walhofs book examines the distinctive contribution that the writings of Hans-Georg Gadamer make to democratic theory.

Scholarships from the Grand Rapids Sister City Perugia Committee

Scholarships from the Grand Rapids Sister City Perugia Committee

December 13, 2016

Two visiting students from the University of Perugia receive scholarships from the Grand Rapids Sister City Perugia Committee

GVSU Interns in Washington DC, Fall 2016

GVSU Interns in Washington DC, Fall 2016

October 25, 2016

Washington Center Interns Fall 2016

GVSU IR Grad Working on Clinton Campaign

GVSU IR Grad Working on Clinton Campaign

October 10, 2016

GVSU 2011 IR graduate Kelly McCurdy is working on the Clinton campaign in Pennsylvania.

View More News

Events

Summer Orientation Assistant

Summer Orientation Assistant

February 13, 2017 All Day

The application for the Summer Orientation Assistant position is now available.  It has been posted online at Laker Jobs and is attached below. The deadline to apply is Monday, February...

Miller Johnson Michigan Diversity Scholarship

Miller Johnson Michigan Diversity Scholarship

April 1, 2017 All Day

Miller Johnson West Michigan Diversity Law School Scholarship Students of color (African American, Asian, Hispanic, Native American, Pacific Islander) accepted to or presently attending an accredited...

Warner Norcross & Judd, LLP Minority Scholarship

Warner Norcross & Judd, LLP Minority Scholarship

April 1, 2017 All Day

Warner Norcross & Judd Law School Scholarship Students of color accepted to or presently attending an accredited law school within the US with a permanent residence in Michigan or attending...

Warner Norcross & Judd LLP - 2017 LSAT Preparation Course Scholarship Program

Warner Norcross & Judd LLP - 2017 LSAT Preparation Course Scholarship Program

April 30, 2017 All Day

As part of our ongoing commitment to promote diversity within the legal profession, Warner Norcross & Judd LLP announces the 10th annual LSAT Preparation Course Scholarship program. The program...

GVSU Dinner in Albania

GVSU Dinner in Albania

May 13, 2017 All Day

Join current GVSU President Tom Haas, his wife Marcia, and other GVSU alumni in Tirana, Albania on 13 May, 2017. Fellow GVSU alumni are eager to welcome you to the lovely capital...

View all Events