Editor’s note: This is part one of a letter prepared for students in Dr. Armstrong Willams’s capstone IR Theory class (delivered virtually after the closing of campus in the spring 2020 semester).  Traditionally the final weeks of this course are used to discuss future plans including graduate school, study abroad, and career opportunities.  

Graduate Education & Transition Experiences: Part One

Dr. Dlynn Armstrong-Williams in Dover, UK. (Photo courtesy of Dr. Armstrong-Williams)

For many of you this course was one that you entered with a great deal of trepidation.  I hope that you have become a stronger student and are now ready for your next steps.  This class in many ways is a transition class that is structured to prepare you for topics and discussions that you will have if you choose to transition into graduate school.  I know that many of you may be considering that.

IPE focuses on competitiveness, and many of you right now are trying to determine what might make you the most competitive you can be for future opportunities.  By this point you understand that IA is a broad field that combines both Comparative Politics (Regional study) with IR (International Relations), and IPE falls within the field of IR.

As you approach graduate education (if this is your choice), I encourage you to begin to consider if you want a career as a practitioner or if you would like a more academic route.  Academic programs tend to offer more financial support, and practitioner programs tend to be quite expensive but provide a direct pipeline to many governmental positions.  As you contact graduate programs, the issues for your consideration might be slightly different.  For practitioner programs, make sure to find out their placement rate into the types of jobs/positions that you are interested in.  You are spending a great deal of cash and not considering a PhD in the field so you need a high rate of return for your investment.

Dr. Dlynn Armstrong-Williams in front of Parliament in the UK. (Photo courtesy of Dr. Armstrong-Williams)

If you are considering governmental employment, you might want to check out this PSIA and National Scholarship video: https://youtu.be/GR5g7rNnDtc.

The other site that you should check out is the APSIA website.  APSIA is the professional organization of the best practitioner schools in IR https://apsia.org/.  These schools have some of the best reputations throughout the world.