What can I do with a degree in International Relations?
Virtually no sector of contemporary life is immune to global influences. Organizations operate internationally in every area ranging from health and education to farming and government and cultural affairs. Developing a broad appreciation for the wide range of international problems and influences is the focus of the interdisciplinary major in International Relations (IR) at GVSU. In the study of International Relations, students examine the behaviors of world leaders and explore issues of power, conflict, globalization, and justice.
International Relations is a liberal education major. At GVSU, IR students learn to analyze global phenomena from perspectives of the four disciplinary subfields: economics, geography, political science, and history. In addition, students are required to become proficient in a foreign language.
One disadvantage of majoring in international relations is that students are not preparing for one particular career, as occurs in nursing or engineering. However, there are several advantages of majoring in international relations. Students gain critical thinking, analytic, and research skills that can be applied to understanding significant concepts, institutions, actors and debates in international affairs. A second advantage is our emphasis on communication skills. The IR curriculum emphasizes writing, and students also develop verbal communication skills through class discussions, simulations, and debates. A final advantage is that 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.
The International Relations program at GVSU helps students to:
· think analytically
· read, write, and speak effectively
· develop problem-solving skills
· enhance understanding of world cultures and institutions
· acquire knowledge of other languages
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. Students are also prepared to pursue graduate program, including programs in area studies, business, law, pubic administration or international affairs.
CAREER PATHS TO CONSIDER:
· Foreign Service and other government agencies including
o Department of Defense
o Agency for International Development
o Central Intelligence Agency
o Department of Commerce
o 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
· International Education Specialist
WHAT YOU CAN DO TO ENHANCE 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
RECENT IR MAJORS FROM GVSU HAVE BEEN EMPLOYED BY:
• U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
• 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
For more information about careers, visit the following web sites:
Identifying overseas job opportunities:
Careers in government:
Non-profit and volunteer job opportunities overseas:
U.S. State Department and Foreign Service Careers:
Careers in U.S. Intelligence:
U.S. Military Careers:
United Nations Careers:
GVSU Career Services can help with resume-writing, practice interviews, and alumni contacts.
Suggestions for Further Reading:
· 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.
Graduate and Law School Information:
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)
· Association of Professional Schools of International Affairs (APSIA)
· Law School: If you are contemplating law school, check out our helpful prelaw FAQ available via http://www.gvsu.edu/prelaw/
Page last modified November 22, 2011