I was filling out my application online, but under expected major, International Relations was not listed. Does this mean its not a major, but just a program (like pre-med or pre-law)? Or is it just under Political Science?
I found something called a Bachelor of Philosophy in International Studies, but it is only offered by the Honors College and I must still have another major in progress. Does this mean I have to be part of the UHC? Also, what conjoining major would you recommend?
I don't know aboutthe major specifically, but there are regional area studies certificates (e.g. East Asia studies and others). If you are interested in a specific region of the world, you might search the site through the department. I hope that makes sense.
Also, shadowzoid, I could not find that two plus two program at Temple that someone told me about, but those programs in general are called dual degree or dual diploma if you want to do a search.
My son saw that coming...so he applied at the few colleges that actually had an undergraduate degree in IR (rather than just a masters degree) and one school is Georgia Tech ie. The Sam Nunn School of International Affairs. They have a combined degree (as an option) with economics. Also, they have the Jr. year abroad all laid out for you.
You can choose any of the following fields or tracks in the Poli Sci major as a major field:
I called them tracks, but they're called "fields" in this major. If you look at p. 2 of the major sheet, for the BA, you have to pick a major field (3 1000 level classes), a minor field (2 1000 level classes) and an elective field (1 1000 level class). There are additional requirements for a BS or BPhil.
Pitt isn't really a jaugernaut in Poli Sci/IR, so it doesn't matter which you major in, in fact, Poli Sci would probably be better because it will give you courses in research methodology. I believe they have a "track" just for research methodology, which is the most practical Poli Sci related field. Their GSPIA program is OK, the best in the area, but that doesn't really say much.
When you apply for jobs, Poli Sci and IR are apples and apples - don't sweat it.
If you plan on working for the government afterwards, it matters even less.
Major in Poli Sci with a Research Methodology track. That will at least give you some good skills to bring into the workforce.
Pitt isn't a bad school for Poli Sci/IR, in fact, it's very good, but if you want to go to school for this subject - go to where the action is, DC/VA/MD.
Bigeastbeast: I'm gonna have to disagree. UPitt has a nationally recognized program for international studies, and their international studies are used as a resource for the State Department. Though their diplomatic training may not be as good as DC/VA/MD, they definitely have an outstanding international studies program.
As for Maryland, I'm from there. The two best colleges located here are College Park and John Hopkins. John Hopkins definitly has a good international program, but it isnt overwhelmingly better than UPitt, while College Park has nothing. DC schools are good for what I'm assuming is do to their closeness to the US seat of power. Idk about VA.
Other than those disagreement, your reply was very helpful. Yet, the reason I'm applying for Internaitonal Studies is not because of job prospects, but because of my interest. The only thing I can confidently say I love is cultural studies and their interactions. Area studies would limit me to focus on one area, but IR allows me to deal with the entire world.
Really you could argue Pitt's international studies are, collectively, in the top 20 in the nation because only 16 other schools have as many different Dept. of Education designated National Resource Centers (Asian, Latin American, Eastern Europe/Russia, Europe), in addition to Pitt being one of only 10 schools with a EU Center of excellence (EU sponsored) as well as having one of the first Confucius Institutes (Chinese government sponsored). Now this isn't an individual department or school as all of the international studies are coordinated through the University Center for International Studies (UCIS). UCIS basically oversees curricula in specific topics (like business or whatever) with existing departments/schools in those specialties. For whatever area a student wants to delve into, internationally, you have to combine the strength of that program with the strength of that area of UCIS, which is very strong in its areas of expertise.
Now for international affairs, Pitt's primary focus is its graduate level programs run by the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs (GSPIA). It is extremely well respected, one of the seven founding schools of the APSIA, and its international relations program was ranked #16 by Foreign Policy magazine. Like many such programs, they have a program in Washington, D.C. What I don't know is how GSPIA may interact with undergrads. I would imagine there would be some opportunity for interaction and research, but that question would need to be addressed specifically to individuals at GSPIA.
Pitt may or may not be a "jaugernaut" or as good as some specific school located in D.C., depending on the field of interest, but overall its international programs are among the better ones in the nation, and I believe it would easily place among the top 20 in terms of faculty and graduate programs if there were overall international studies rankings. Separately, Pitt's overall PolySci itself is ranked 39th by US News grad rankings which ties it with Georgetown, George Washington, and John Hopkins.
It really depends on what the OP wants to do with the degree.
If the OP is interested in working for the government, it really doesn't matter at all. Strength of programs have no bearing in the hearing process. Unfortunately, they are just a check mark on the application.
You are hired based on civil service tests (or other similiar tests), your answers to KSA, which are typically related to work experience, not academics.
The only thing some programs can really do better than others is provide opportunities for internships, which is why going to a school near DC is a better choice. Some programs offer "better" study abroad programs, but it really has no bearing when it comes to hearing decisions.
When I got my current job, my education was only brought up once during the entire hiring process. I clicked "YES" when they asked me if I had a B.A., and filled in my school and major. That's just how government works, kinda sucks because it makes you feel like your efforts aren't appreciated, and they really aren't.
Strength of programs are more recognized once you are already working for an agency, and are looking to get promotions or special assignments.
So if the OP wants to go to Pitt, great. Certainly not a bad choice. However, being near DC would be more beneficial in terms of volunteer work, internships, networking, and contacts.
It all depends on what you would like to do. If you want to work privately the strength of your program will be significanly more important come job time.
Also to the OP, I don't put much stock in rankings, but UMD is actually ranked ahead of Pitt for Poli Sci
If you decide to go to Pitt, really look into the Research Methodology. Poli Sci grads often fall into a trap when it comes to job hunting. Other than government and some policy work (which is slim for undergrads), Poli Sci/IR doesn't have a whole lot of practical skills. The Research Methodology track will provide you with more skills. Things like statistics, research, ect - so look into it.
Last edited by BIGeastBEAST; 07-25-2010 at 06:48 PM.