Graduate schools for international affairs seek Whitman applicants

While graduate schools look for applicants with real-world experience, students ask: ‘What am I going to do after I graduate?’
by Andrea Miller

“So what’s next?” is a common question asked to the liberal arts student. For some, the answer might include further education pursuing “skills necessary to develop policy and become strong and effective leaders.”

On Oct. 25, the Career Center hosted an International Affairs Graduate Program information session. Representatives from five schools on a tour of the Northwest each gave a short description of their program and then answered questions from students.

Represented schools included the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, the Public Policy and International Affairs (PPIA) Junior Summer Institute at Princeton University, the Fletcher School at Tufts University, the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University, the School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) at Johns Hopkins University, and the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University.

The Fletcher School and SAIS are both “stand alone schools,” meaning that their campuses are totally separate from the other schools and programs at their respective universities.

SAIS has campuses in Washington, D.C., Bologna, Italy—which is a smaller extension of the DC campus—and in Nanjing, China. All of the schools boast strong programs that can be developed into joint degrees and will definitely prepare students for a career in their respective fields.

Upon a student’s question about the ideal applicant, all five representatives strongly emphasized the importance of professional work experience. The representative from the Woodrow Wilson School, John Templeton, said that work experience in any sector is good “as long as [the student] shows progression in full time work.” He stressed that applicants must show that they are truly prepared for the graduate school experience and advised students to take the GRE and build relationships with people who would be willing to write letters of reference.

For more information about international affairs programs, go to or visit the Whitman College Career Center.


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