JD vs MA International Relations

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lawschoolkid87
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JD vs MA International Relations

Postby lawschoolkid87 » Thu Feb 19, 2009 1:53 pm

If one plans on a government career in Washington DC, would it be better to get a JD from George Washington University or an MA in International Relations from a top school like Georgetown or John Hopkins?

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SoxyPirate
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Re: JD vs MA International Relations

Postby SoxyPirate » Thu Feb 19, 2009 1:54 pm

Find a place you'd like to work in DC...get a job or an internship...ask the people there what you should do.

Zephyr873
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Re: JD vs MA International Relations

Postby Zephyr873 » Thu Feb 19, 2009 2:22 pm

How about you sack up and do a dual-degree?

secondshiaprince
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Re: JD vs MA International Relations

Postby secondshiaprince » Thu Feb 19, 2009 6:30 pm

Georgetown Masters of Foreign Service (even their M.A.) or a degree from SAIS are tops for Masters level in the country. Saying in government, of course, is very vague. If you want to be a foreign service officer then those M.A. programs would be a huge help. If you want to work for the Attorney General then a legal degree would help more, obviously. If you want international law you need to do both.

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badlydrawn
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Re: JD vs MA International Relations

Postby badlydrawn » Thu Feb 19, 2009 7:18 pm

+1 Georgetown Masters of Foreign Service

lawschoolkid87
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Re: JD vs MA International Relations

Postby lawschoolkid87 » Thu Feb 19, 2009 9:24 pm

Zephyr873 wrote:How about you sack up and do a dual-degree?


??
Last edited by lawschoolkid87 on Thu Feb 19, 2009 9:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.

secondshiaprince
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Re: JD vs MA International Relations

Postby secondshiaprince » Thu Feb 19, 2009 9:28 pm

lawschoolkid87 wrote:
Zephyr873 wrote:How about you sack up and do a dual-degree?


How about I don't, say I did, and the save $200,000 in student loan debt. :?:


A dual degree at a school doesn't save the debt. And if you're working public interest after it (most) any T-14 school has loan repayment for PI work and I think the government counts.

lawschoolkid87
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Re: JD vs MA International Relations

Postby lawschoolkid87 » Thu Feb 19, 2009 9:33 pm

secondshiaprince wrote:Georgetown Masters of Foreign Service (even their M.A.) or a degree from SAIS are tops for Masters level in the country. Saying in government, of course, is very vague. If you want to be a foreign service officer then those M.A. programs would be a huge help. If you want to work for the Attorney General then a legal degree would help more, obviously. If you want international law you need to do both.


I want to help developing countries in south america with their development, though I'm not sure how law school would help me do that.

lawschoolkid87
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Re: JD vs MA International Relations

Postby lawschoolkid87 » Thu Feb 19, 2009 9:35 pm

secondshiaprince wrote:
lawschoolkid87 wrote:
Zephyr873 wrote:How about you sack up and do a dual-degree?


How about I don't, say I did, and the save $200,000 in student loan debt. :?:


A dual degree at a school doesn't save the debt. And if you're working public interest after it (most) any T-14 school has loan repayment for PI work and I think the government counts.


A dual degree is more expensive though...

secondshiaprince
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Re: JD vs MA International Relations

Postby secondshiaprince » Thu Feb 19, 2009 9:38 pm

lawschoolkid87 wrote:I want to help developing countries in south america with their development, though I'm not sure how law school would help me do that.


Well, I am sure USAID has lawyers and most of those organizations do but I believe there are probably better ways to get jobs doing that. Although, to be honest, the aid business isn't the biggest sector around. If you work out of an embassy for State most of them will have something at least tangentially related to development. Private sector probably has more things... but your best bet might be just to go teach there or get a productive job that helps their economy or provides a knowledge and service that is lacking in the area. And, as far as I can tell that puts you more on the path of engineering than law.

A dual degree is more expensive though...


But how are the loan collectors going to contact you when you're out in the field saving lives in South America?

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Globalnomad
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Re: JD vs MA International Relations

Postby Globalnomad » Thu Feb 19, 2009 10:06 pm

lawschoolkid87 wrote:
secondshiaprince wrote:Georgetown Masters of Foreign Service (even their M.A.) or a degree from SAIS are tops for Masters level in the country. Saying in government, of course, is very vague. If you want to be a foreign service officer then those M.A. programs would be a huge help. If you want to work for the Attorney General then a legal degree would help more, obviously. If you want international law you need to do both.


I want to help developing countries in south america with their development, though I'm not sure how law school would help me do that.


It depends on what you want to do in development. If you are interested in health side get an MPH, if you are interested in refugee studies, human rights then a JD or a variety of Masters degrees can work (MSFS, MIA, MALD and etc.). Decide on what you are interested in and then start looking of reliefweb and the USAID website on the requirements for the jobs that you are interested in. While you are in school volunteer part time with an organization and know the players, this industry is very incestuous and just having a degree will not get you a job.

EDIT: for grammar.
Last edited by Globalnomad on Thu Feb 19, 2009 10:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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nyyankees
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Re: JD vs MA International Relations

Postby nyyankees » Thu Feb 19, 2009 10:16 pm

lawschoolkid87 wrote:If one plans on a government career in Washington DC, would it be better to get a JD from George Washington University or an MA in International Relations from a top school like Georgetown or John Hopkins?



johnS Hopkins....ugh sorry a pet peeve

To be honest, i think its mostly about getting in with the right people. Either way you will have to work your connections to get into the field. As someone already said, it does tend to be very incestuous, but that also means once your in, you are significantly ahead of the others. SAIS and Georgetown are both very prestigious programs and should put you in touch with the right people. To be frank, I dont see what a law degree will do for your career goals that a MA wouldnt, maybe im wrong here, but I say go for the MA, save on a years tuition and get down with the get down.

lawschoolkid87
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Re: JD vs MA International Relations

Postby lawschoolkid87 » Sat Feb 21, 2009 2:18 am

nyyankees wrote:
lawschoolkid87 wrote:If one plans on a government career in Washington DC, would it be better to get a JD from George Washington University or an MA in International Relations from a top school like Georgetown or John Hopkins?



johnS Hopkins....ugh sorry a pet peeve

To be honest, i think its mostly about getting in with the right people. Either way you will have to work your connections to get into the field. As someone already said, it does tend to be very incestuous, but that also means once your in, you are significantly ahead of the others. SAIS and Georgetown are both very prestigious programs and should put you in touch with the right people. To be frank, I dont see what a law degree will do for your career goals that a MA wouldnt, maybe im wrong here, but I say go for the MA, save on a years tuition and get down with the get down.


great point. though as a rule of thumb, would it be more difficult to be accepted into the SAIS or Georgetown than say a top 20 law school?

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Marmot
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Re: JD vs MA International Relations

Postby Marmot » Sat Feb 21, 2009 10:09 am

lawschoolkid87 wrote:
secondshiaprince wrote:Georgetown Masters of Foreign Service (even their M.A.) or a degree from SAIS are tops for Masters level in the country. Saying in government, of course, is very vague. If you want to be a foreign service officer then those M.A. programs would be a huge help. If you want to work for the Attorney General then a legal degree would help more, obviously. If you want international law you need to do both.


I want to help developing countries in south america with their development, though I'm not sure how law school would help me do that.


Forget USAID. If you want to really help development in South America on the J.D. track, you want to become a tax attorney representing South American companies in the US Court of International Trade. You're probably better off getting a master's if you want to do pure policy work, although I hear there are a good number of JDs working as Foreign Service Officers with the State Department.

Total Litigator
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Re: JD vs MA International Relations

Postby Total Litigator » Tue Sep 21, 2010 1:35 am

Sorry to necro, but I was told by a prominent International Law professor that 2/3 of foreign service officers have J.D.'s. Do with that fact as you will.

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worldtraveler
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Re: JD vs MA International Relations

Postby worldtraveler » Tue Sep 21, 2010 2:40 am

Dual degree at a school with a good LRAP. Columbia has a good MA in international affairs. Berkeley can also do it but it's a pain in the booty to arrange. I would imagine NYU, Gtown, Michigan, and other T14 schools also have good programs.

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Shaggier1
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Re: JD vs MA International Relations

Postby Shaggier1 » Sat Sep 25, 2010 5:50 pm

Do you want to be a lawyer?

wajihc
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Re: JD vs MA International Relations

Postby wajihc » Sat Jan 29, 2011 11:46 pm

For the State Department, go through these profiles: http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/biog/index.htm.

You'll see that the ones that have J.D.'s are fluent in another language aside from English.

Personally, I believe that a J.D. is a better investment than a Master degree in I.R./I.D. because not only can one become an attorney, s/he can also aim to work in I.D./I.R. or government. Let me point out that I already have a M.A. in econ, but I would prefer getting a J.D. over a Ph.D. in IR/ID/econ.

I spoke to a professor who has a Ph.D. in IR from Cambridge. Then, he went on to get a J.D. from UVa. I asked him about why he didn't stop after the Ph.D. He said that he was already planning to get a law degree, and that he felt that the J.D. was taken a bit more seriously than the Ph.D. in IR. He also pointed out that to be taken "seriously" in ID/IR, one must have either a Ph.D. or a J.D., and definitely not stop at a M.A./M.S.

haveaniceday111
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Re: JD vs MA International Relations

Postby haveaniceday111 » Sun Jan 30, 2011 11:09 pm

From what I've gathered talking to diplomats/academics/lawyers, neither is necessary or sufficient. You can do plenty of IR work straight out of undergrad, provided you have experience, a solid working knowledge of another language, and are smart. That said, once you're in a position, having the experience of earning an MA/JD can help you rise faster and do more interesting work.

If you're interested in the State Dept, take a look at the Foreign Service Exam. The written portion is hard, but not impossibly hard that a well-read, intelligent college senior couldn't pass, but the interview portion is more tricky. I imagine having an MA and a JD can both help, especially with being more knowledgeable and more articulate, as well as having spent more "real-world" time. (I hate to sound condescending, but there's a very noticeable difference between how most 22 year-olds conduct themselves and how most 26 year-olds do.)

I've faced the same question, and I'm going with the JD because it's more versatile. If you can though, a JD/MA would be sweet. (I'm considering doing it too actually.)


EDIT: another thing - not all MA's in IR are the same. Some are terminal degrees, which are meant to prepare you for employment in an NGO/IGO/gov agency directly after graduating, while some lead to PhDs. (There was an interesting article in the Economist a few weeks ago about the value of PhDs and academia in general, might be work checking out.) It all depends on what you wanna do - teach/publish, advise heads of state, build houses in Latin America, help refugees get legal status, etc.




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