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Understanding global issues is key

Published on Friday, 16 Apr 2010
A master’s of international relations could help in getting a job with a non-governmental organisation or a United Nations agency.
Photo: AP

A good understanding of globalisation and how it affects organisations is an asset keenly sought after by multinational corporations, non-governmental organisations and government departments when they recruit new staff.

For people looking to expand their knowledge of global issues, a master's in international relations is often the best way forward.

For students who are particularly interested in security, globalisation, development, ethnicity, culture and the environment, a master's programme offered by the University of Plymouth in Britain could be the ideal place to head.

Titled Master's in International Relations: Global Security and Development, the year-long, full-time programme is designed to address how and why serious issues, such as poverty, disease, environmental degradation, social inequities and politics, create the international framework in which conflicts emerge.

Ultimately, graduates will leave equipped with the knowledge and skills needed for employment in any profession "acting at the interface between one or other of the state, international institutions, global society, industry and the voluntary sector."

After a career in the Hong Kong police followed by substantial consulting work around the world, Eric Lockyear graduated from the programme in 2008. "I found the return to academia challenging, timely and stimulating," he says. "[The course] involved lively debates guided by our tutors on key issues in international affairs, while my fellow students provided a range of perspectives from around the world." He now works as an international consultant in anti-corruption and good governance.

Students in the programme tend to have previous qualifications in the areas of development studies, economics, geography, history, politics or sociology, and of course international relations.

Overseas applicants who have not had much experience in studying in an English-language environment are expected to achieve a minimum English language level equivalent to IELTS 6.5, including a level of 7.0 in written work, or score of 600 in the TOEFL written paper.

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