Jesse (chordoflife) wrote in int_development,

Degree in Int'l Relations.. good move?

I have been increasingly drawn to the the NGO and internationally focused non-profit sector since coming back from 10 months in Kenya almost 2 years ago. I have found a few programs that look great that I want to apply to, but I am not applying until I get a firm Idea that I can get a job if I complete a Masters in Int'l Relations.

Can anyone tell me their experience? Is it a viable option right now, or should I focus on a Nonprofit Management degree/cert program? I am really more passionate about the International stuff then I am other things right now, and it appears that some of the places I might want to work for you need a relevant MA to get into.
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I have an MA in international relations, and I'm currently looking for ID-related work (after working for 5 years in the government, sort of development-related). I think whether it's a good move depends on a few things. I'm happy with my degree and think it will take me where I want to go, I just wish I didn't spend so much danged money on it. The debt really is not good. I could have gotten a cheaper, less prestigious degree and I think it would have been ok.

If you want to do management, I think you should get a degree that includes management. Like an MPA with an international or development focus (if there is such a thing, I don't know for sure because I never really looked). Also if you want to be really hire-able you might consider a more technical degree, like agricultural economics. I have a friend who went that route and she seems to do pretty well, she works for profit consulting firms mostly, but could easily get non-profit work.

So it depends, is the answer I give.
Thanks.. I'm not very technical, so I think a general International Relations degree will work for me. I'm more of a policy/writing person anyways..
A degree in IR is definitely the way to go if you're a policy/writing person. Especially if you don't mind working in DC or a few other places.
A degree will not give you a job. If that is your reason for doing it, don't.

If you are interested in international relations, want to expand your knowledge and add theory to practical experience, then go for it. If you are simply looking at ways to get a job fast, then get work experience.

I have a degree in IR (specifically conflict studies) and yes, I did learn a lot of things that are certainly useful in my work life, and it does give me the edge over other colleagues (I work for a development consultancy) who do not have a degree in this subject area in the sense that I'm moving up the career ladder faster, but more than anything work experience is what employees are looking for.

I also agree with the above comment about technical degrees being much more marketable.
I want to expand my skills and knowledge.. which is why I am considering further education. Of course, it would be great to get a job that could give me solid work experience in my area of interest, but so far that hasn't happened. I'm not getting a Tech degree.. It's just not my skill set.. I'm not a Technical person. What I do best is policy ideas and writing.