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FP Guide

2017 Graduate Education | International Affairs

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Model UN: A Great Learning Resource
BY SAM POVEY | 2016 graduate of the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)

What to Do With a Heinous Statue
Lessons for Trump from post-Nazi Germany and post-Soviet Eastern Europe.


China Looks at Western Universities and Smells Weakness
The West’s naive hopes for China have encouraged the biggest crackdown on free inquiry since the Cultural Revolution.



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International Affairs: Degrees of Choice


One of the beauties of a master’s degree in international affairs is its flexibility. Rather than following a professional superhighway, you are free to set your own career path and to change course in response to changing global needs and opportunities.

You will also find a wide range of program options: Looking for a strong public policy orientation? The chance to focus on diplomacy, economic development, global security, or a particular region? Some schools offer a wide range of master’s degree programs. Others offer multiple concentrations or tracks within a given program, and some let you design your own program.

Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) students outside the U.S. Capitol

We are living in rapidly changing times. “We expect continuing shifts in employment markets, particularly as opportunities in the public sector become more uncertain,” says Carmen Iezzi Mezzera, executive director of the Association of Professional Schools of International Affairs (APSIA). “That doesn’t necessarily mean government jobs are less desirable or that there will be fewer opportunities in the public sector, but we are not sure which areas will grow. No one knows what’s going to happen. This drives home the need for the kinds of transferable skills students acquire in international affairs programs.”

Organizations also need professionals with impact assessment skills: the ability to assess a situation, determine a response, and evaluate the outcome. NGO funding, via projects such as those supported by the Gates Foundation, is also increasingly subject to impact assessment.

Demand will continue to grow for professionals with statistical analysis, engineering, or other quantitative skills who also understand international affairs. “There are increasing opportunities to marry STEM skills with international affairs and be incredibly competitive,” says Mezzera.

Although cities like Washington, D.C., and New York will continue to be global affairs hubs, demand for global professionals is spreading geographically. Mezzera sees a growing relationship between highly local activity and global activity. “Cities and states have increasing demand for international affairs graduates,” she says. “Officials in Detroit, for example, are interested in professionals with a background in international trade and regional studies. They need people who can help market the city to attract international talent, tourists, and trade.”



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