JD for PI, MA and PhD for International Relations/PoliSci

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SehMeSerrious
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JD for PI, MA and PhD for International Relations/PoliSci

Postby SehMeSerrious » Wed Sep 14, 2011 4:28 pm

I'm going to keep some details out, but if you feel that more information is needed to give better advice, please let me know.

I'm in my senior year and I'm looking to the future with a little anxiety and nervousness, but hopefully that helps motivate me. I'm looking at the CVs/resumes of people I'd like to emulate or even outdo and it's honestly a little overwhelming at first, so I definitely need to get focused and get on track now.

My game plan right now is to finish doing research and/or get a professional master's (in my field those are better than doing research-based/theoretical masters) so I can feel satisfied that my BA degree isn't just a piece of paper, and then doing research for a think tank or other group to get some solid experience including field work, then going to law school, practicing PI law, and finally finishing my career/life in academia as a professor or researcher, *possibly* getting some position as an advisor between practicing law and becoming an old academic.

At the end of my education, I want to have a solid:

Certificate or Professional Master's in my field (area studies/language)
MA in International Relations/Area Studies
JD
PhD in International Relations/Political Science

But I'm not really sure in what order I should get it (except for the Certificate/Professional Master's).

I know a lot of this doesn't need to be decided until years from now, and I'll probably change my mind a few times between now and then, but I've always like having a general sense of where I'm going in the long run to help motivate me to put in work and make the right decisions in the here and now. Next year is definitely going to be spent doing research, whether it be in the programs I mentioned or in the professional master's I'm looking at, and even if I don't get into any of those program's, I'll just do the research on my own (the main cost will be cost of living and if I work I can manage that.)

After that, I'm not really sure what comes next. I'm not sure if I should go straight into any Master's, JD, PhD, or joint MA/JD, MA/PhD, JD/PhD program, or if I should first do internships and entry-level positions at a think thank or other group where I can apply my undergrad studies, or if I should do both (most of these Master's and PhD not only allow but encourage you to take a research position or something on the side.) I'm also not sure when I should get my JD. I want to practice PI law before I end up an old man in academia, but I'm not sure if I should get it before my PhD or if I should get it in a joint program. I know many people have said that if you do anything unrelated to practicing law after getting a JD, it makes you seem uninterested in practice, but what about joint programs? If I get not just a Master's, but a PhD together with a JD, will that be a turnoff as well? Or could I practice law for a few decades and then use my PhD credentials way later down the line? A lot of the joint programs seem like money savers and some PhD/JD programs offer the type of funding that PhDs get, meaning I could get my JD mostly/completely paid together with the PhD.

Does anyone here have experience in international relations, political science, area studies, etc. and/or relevant law experience or have some knowledge of people who are in this field that could offer me some advice?

Any help would be deeply appreciated.

MumofCad
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Re: JD for PI, MA and PhD for International Relations/PoliSci

Postby MumofCad » Wed Sep 14, 2011 10:22 pm

I'm not an expert, but I think most people get their PhDs/Masters before JDs if that is the track you wish to pursue. I think going to law school and then not practicing in some way, but rather going into an advanced degree program would be generally frowned upon.

With both though, I would look for some relevant work experience either while pursuing your degree or before.

FWIW- I will be getting my PhD this year, then heading to law school. I've been working in the IR field as a consultant throughout my grad work, but took a full year off before getting my masters to work on a political campaign/start my own non-profit before going back to school.

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worldtraveler
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Re: JD for PI, MA and PhD for International Relations/PoliSci

Postby worldtraveler » Wed Sep 14, 2011 10:25 pm

First of all...breathe. You're way too young to be trying to plan all of this out.

Second, without defining your field, I'm not sure how anyone can really help you. Why does that need to be kept private? No one can identify you by that. Without answering that I can't tell if you need foreign languages, how competitive your area is, etc.

With the vague scenario you proposed, I really think you're better off doing none of the above and getting direct experience in whatever area of the world it is that you're talking about.

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SehMeSerrious
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Re: JD for PI, MA and PhD for International Relations/PoliSci

Postby SehMeSerrious » Thu Sep 15, 2011 2:30 am

MumofCad wrote:I'm not an expert, but I think most people get their PhDs/Masters before JDs if that is the track you wish to pursue. I think going to law school and then not practicing in some way, but rather going into an advanced degree program would be generally frowned upon.

With both though, I would look for some relevant work experience either while pursuing your degree or before.

FWIW- I will be getting my PhD this year, then heading to law school. I've been working in the IR field as a consultant throughout my grad work, but took a full year off before getting my masters to work on a political campaign/start my own non-profit before going back to school.


Thanks for your advice. I'm definitely looking to get some solid experience before getting a PhD and/or JD, but the joint degree programs have me seriously considering just jumping into that since it could mean getting it mostly/completely paid for. But what you're doing makes more sense in the long run, I guess.

By the way, what do you intend to do with your law degree? What do you want to practice? I noticed a lot of CVs for PhD students said that they already got their JDs and practice for a couple of years before starting the PhD program. It seems like it was always their intention to eventually teach law or to apply it to something other than practice, so it's interesting to see someone else on the other path.
Last edited by SehMeSerrious on Thu Sep 15, 2011 3:26 am, edited 1 time in total.

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SehMeSerrious
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Re: JD for PI, MA and PhD for International Relations/PoliSci

Postby SehMeSerrious » Thu Sep 15, 2011 3:23 am

worldtraveler wrote:First of all...breathe. You're way too young to be trying to plan all of this out.

Second, without defining your field, I'm not sure how anyone can really help you. Why does that need to be kept private? No one can identify you by that. Without answering that I can't tell if you need foreign languages, how competitive your area is, etc.

With the vague scenario you proposed, I really think you're better off doing none of the above and getting direct experience in whatever area of the world it is that you're talking about.


Well, the program I want to get into has very few students, so it'd be relatively easy to find me with that and some other details, but then again I'm not important enough to stalk that hard so alright.

I'm in Arabic studies and my eventual goal is to work in American foreign policy in the Middle East and North Africa before practicing PI law.

Of course I want to get some more advanced language study and some more experience before doing anything else, so I'm applying for some programs to do that for the next year to two years. I have one relevant internship in the field and I'm planning to do more during this time.

So basically for the next year or two my focus is getting more proficient in Arabic and getting more relevant work experience. But it's the step that comes after that that I'm not sure about.

I was thinking about going to Georgetown for a MSFS (foreign service, basically IR) or a master's in Arab studies, or John Hopkin's for a master's in international relations. Georgetown's new master's in Global Human Development looks pretty cool, too. Their program has a major summer development project component between the two years, but it's still new (they start next year) and I'm not sure about it yet.

I'm not sure if I should just go ahead and start getting work experience before going to get this master's or after. If I get this master's first, there'll way more opportunities in different fields available to me, and being at Georgetown would open doors for some think tanks that seem to exclusively recruit from DC area schools, especially Georgetown.

After that, I could get more field experience, then do a PhD, and finally a JD to practice PI law.

By the way, worldtraveler, you seem to have a lot of experience, but with a lot of that done in undergrad. Do you mind if I ask a few questions about your experience? I'll send you a PM.

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Odd Future Wolf Gang
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Re: JD for PI, MA and PhD for International Relations/PoliSci

Postby Odd Future Wolf Gang » Thu Sep 15, 2011 12:20 pm

Have you considered Public Policy schools? MPA/MPP?

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SehMeSerrious
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Re: JD for PI, MA and PhD for International Relations/PoliSci

Postby SehMeSerrious » Thu Sep 15, 2011 7:12 pm

Odd Future Wolf Gang wrote:Have you considered Public Policy schools? MPA/MPP?


First off, I appreciate your response, I'd like to hear as many ideas as possible to make the best choice.

But no, not for a second. I just considered it again when I read this, but really it would really help with what I'm trying to do.

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samsonyte16
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Re: JD for PI, MA and PhD for International Relations/PoliSci

Postby samsonyte16 » Mon Sep 19, 2011 5:35 pm

Why is a law degree necessary for your goals? What sort of public interest law do you intend to practice?

jamesireland
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Re: JD for PI, MA and PhD for International Relations/PoliSci

Postby jamesireland » Mon Sep 19, 2011 5:57 pm

It sounds like you might be looking at some of these degrees as ends in themselves. This is a bad idea. Advanced degrees have two proper roles. The first is as an entry qualification for some career. The second is as a by-product of scholarly pursuits. The ultimate first-world is problem slogging through a graduate program that is neither necessary for entry to some career one finds interesting, nor in a field where one finds the work itself inherently interesting.
Last edited by jamesireland on Mon Sep 19, 2011 6:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Nicholasnickynic
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Re: JD for PI, MA and PhD for International Relations/PoliSci

Postby Nicholasnickynic » Mon Sep 19, 2011 6:22 pm

jamesireland wrote:It sounds like you might be looking at some of these degrees as ends in themselves. This is a bad idea. Advanced degrees have two proper roles. The first is as an entry qualification for some career. The second is as a by-product of scholarly pursuits. The ultimate first-world problem slogging through a graduate program that is neither necessary for entry to some career one finds interesting, nor in a field where one finds the work itself inherently interesting.


wtf?

jamesireland
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Re: JD for PI, MA and PhD for International Relations/PoliSci

Postby jamesireland » Mon Sep 19, 2011 6:51 pm

Nicholasnickynic wrote:
jamesireland wrote:It sounds like you might be looking at some of these degrees as ends in themselves. This is a bad idea. Advanced degrees have two proper roles. The first is as an entry qualification for some career. The second is as a by-product of scholarly pursuits. The ultimate first-world problem slogging through a graduate program that is neither necessary for entry to some career one finds interesting, nor in a field where one finds the work itself inherently interesting.


wtf?


missing an 'is', although I'm not sure that is why you are confused. Care to elaborate?




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