supercali2
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Hi there,

I was hoping I could get a bit of advice from Masters students who know a bit about Politics and International Relations courses. I'm about a year away from graduating (hopefully) with a BA in History from Oxford. The kind of areas I'd be most interested in working in involve some element of political science or at least IR. These areas are fairly varied at the moment, so I'm afraid I can't be helpful and say I want to do one particular thing. All I know is that I'd like to end up doing something involving relations between different countries, whether that is working for somewhere like the FCO or the British Council or a media outlet like the BBC or Reuters.

I've been looking at Masters courses to try and convert my fairly theoretical History degree into something a bit more practical, but I've quickly found out you tend to need an undergrad degree in Politics (or at least a social science) or at least a social science to be considered for most of them. I'm also aware that plenty of them seem very academic and might not be looked on as helpful by employers at all. I would normally go off and work for an organisation for a year or so and find out if I really like the area and I really need a Masters but to get to that stage I think I may need more than a History degree. Applying for internships and the like has also not been particularly successful so far.

So after that very long preamble, a couple of qs:

1) Is there a particular course that is prestigious, with a taught rather than research emphasis (rigorous academically and loved by employers? (Yes I would also like cream on top)

2) In people's general experience, do organisations like the ones I've mentioned even think postgrads are that desirable anyway?

Thank you to anyone who replies for taking on a long, braod question.
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Tcannon
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Students at some MA IR programmes have work experience (internships or full time jobs) prior to starting their MA.

1) These programmes are highly rated for its balance of academic rigour and putting theory into practice. Trained policy analysis and implementation, foreign policy
JHU SAIS (more quant, econ analysis, IO, career oriented but stingy with FinAid)
Harvard KSG
Princeton WWS (respected by academics and IO professionals, generous with FinAid)
Columbia SIPA (lots of electives, some adjuncts are former politicians, close to UN but large intake with little cohesion)
Georgetown GPPS or Foreign Service programme
LSE

These IRs are strong in certain subjects
Public Policy: Berkeley, Duke Sandford
Security: Syracuse, American, George Washington, Denver Koerbel
Development, Human Rights and Aid: Fletcher,
Yale IR is good, but I can't remember its area of excellence. Ditto some mid tier (UMichigan, Texas Austin)

Avoid Uni of Chicago (Harris) and Northwestern, highly theoretical with lots of methods

Go to Gradcafe.com and its discussion forum. Good luck
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sj27
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Well, tcannon's correct that the US IR programs are better regarded as professional preparation rather than academic. They also invariably require fluency in a foreign language and much higher fees than the UK courses. As he stated, Princeton tends to fund everyone they give offers to but competition obviously is massive, as it is for all the top US programs.

Cambridge will happily take a history undergrad, with a pre-requisite of a first and a decent research proposal.

As with many other masters, the content of the course is much less important than prospective students think. It's a screening mechanism that ensures you know something to do with the organization you want to work for, but most of your learning will be on the job and not from your degree. So by all means look at the usual "destinations of graduates" stuff, but don't get overly hung up on course content, other than ensuring you can find a course with contents that interest you.
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Tcannon
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Graduate Institute Geneva's MA IR is a good alternative in Europe, lower tuition fee, strong policy analysis and placement to Geneva IOs. Relatively less known in the UK with small UK alumni chapter

PSIA Sciences Po MIA and European Studies

You need to learn French
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supercali2
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Thanks guys, hadn't even considered going overseas because of tuition fees, but really appreciate the advice about Europe!

Anybody know if there are any good British masters along these lines?
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Tcannon
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Oxford MPhil IR and LSE MSc IR are the best UK IR programmes. But their tuition fees are rather steep. Then you have other UK IR (Edin, Cam, York, Sussex, Warwick, Nott etc) but they are interchangeable and little known outside the UK.

If you wish to concentrate on European Studies, the College Europe Bruges trains EU professionals and it is taught in English. But the UK government cut scholarship funding aggressively. I think only two scholarships for UK applicants available.
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