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Choosing an offer for MA studies in International Relations/Development - help! Watch

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    Hi all,

    I'm an American student looking to do my postgraduate studies in the UK. I studied history for my undergrad and hope to pursue a career in an international setting, particularly in a government agency, diplomacy, foreign aid, or in policy. I'm aware that the fields of International Relations, Development and Studies consist of different focuses, though I chose to apply to all, as I think I would enjoy pursuing any of these courses (and I hate to admit- I was leaving it up to luck to choose for me).

    My offers are:
    SOAS - MA in International Studies and Diplomacy
    University of Bath - MSc in International Development
    Queen Mary, (QMUL) - MA in International Relations.

    Can someone give me a little guidance as to what program they would choose and why? For anyone studying in these fields, can you offer me a little advice on what your goals are for after graduation and how the job market is seeming to you? I truly would appreciate any advice, I'm quite nervous and excited for what's to come.

    Thanks!
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    I am judging just by the course titles here, but since you want to be a practitioner, I'd say go for the SOAS or Bath options. They sound the most directly relevant to people who want to work in development/policy. But most importantly, you should consider:

    1) Funding opportunities at each university

    2) Which has the best placement record for your dream sector (after all, you want a higher chance of a job at the end, right?)

    3) Which department (NOT university generally) has the better reputation in your dream sector

    I'm an MA IR student who will be going on to do a PhD in IR with the aim of becoming an academic. My Masters was very theoretical and research-focused, which is great considering my goal. If I'd pursued my original dream of being a development worker, I would have applied for Masters in Development or Policy or Management or Diplomacy or something more specific. Occasionally I wish I had, because the future for aspiring academics is pretty bleak right now. Not at all sure what the outlook is like for those wanting to get into IOs/NGOs/government.
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    (Original post by DeMoomin)
    I am judging just by the course titles here, but since you want to be a practitioner, I'd say go for the SOAS or Bath options. They sound the most directly relevant to people who want to work in development/policy. But most importantly, you should consider:

    1) Funding opportunities at each university

    2) Which has the best placement record for your dream sector (after all, you want a higher chance of a job at the end, right?)

    3) Which department (NOT university generally) has the better reputation in your dream sector

    I'm an MA IR student who will be going on to do a PhD in IR with the aim of becoming an academic. My Masters was very theoretical and research-focused, which is great considering my goal. If I'd pursued my original dream of being a development worker, I would have applied for Masters in Development or Policy or Management or Diplomacy or something more specific. Occasionally I wish I had, because the future for aspiring academics is pretty bleak right now. Not at all sure what the outlook is like for those wanting to get into IOs/NGOs/government.
    DeMoomin,

    Thank you for the reply-

    I'm not dismissing the idea of pursuing a PhD, it really is something I hope to pursue in the future though I thought it would be better for my personal growth to first study, get some experience in the field, and only then go back to get my PhD in a few years. I come from a state university in the U.S. and would hope to make a stepping stone with this Master's and (hopefully) someday have a chance at Oxford/Cambridge- would be a dream!

    I believe I have more funding options at the University of Bath than I would at either of the other two options. Bath offers scholarships for international students that I would apply to, however, funding isn't as great of a concern for me because I will be able to fund my studies one way or another.

    The rankings for the schools in the UK seem to be a little confusing for me, Bath's rankings are higher on some tables and not quite exceptional on others, and SOAS doesn't seem to feature very well in ranking tables although I hear it is well recognized in some social sciences fields.

    Right now I'm considering most strong SOAS, then Bath, then QMUL. Any other help would be appreciated!
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    You don't need a masters degree to work in development.

    I would really get some experience first. I also have a degree in history and have been working for a large international organisation. Try with some internships before a masters, look at some of the big European NGOs they do paid internship programmes.
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    I second beefmaster, the most important in this field is work experience.

    As for the choices you listed, the only one I know in depth is SOAS. Even if they aren't listed in the ranks, they are one of the most recognised schools in terms of region-specific studies and in that respect you will probably receive some of the best education there, particularly if you have a region you wish to specialise in.

    But in my personal opinion, you should really check out the specifics of each programmes - what modules, do they have (will you like the core modules?), do you enjoy the optional courses? Check out the professors, if any focus on a specific field you are interested it. More than the rank, is the nature of the programme you are enrolling in you should look at in detail.

    Good luck!
 
 
 
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