Undergrad major

Submitted by buecherwurm on June 12, 2007 - 7:28pm.

I have a quick question regarding the selection of an undergraduate major relating to international development.

Do you think it would be wiser to do a broad major like international relations, or a region-specific (language-focused) major like African Studies? My aspiration is a job in international relief once I graduate. Would one type of major be more useful than another?

Thanks for your time.


Submitted by Jennyk on June 13, 2007 - 4:59am.

Hi Elizabeth,

It is very easy to go either way with your degree. However, from my experience (which of course varies from person to person), for your undergraduate I would almost recommend taking a broader focus. This way you get to experience a wider variety of areas, providing you a better chance to see what areas you do and do not prefer.

And since most positions working in relief will require you to return for your master's at some point, hopefully by that time you would have a better idea of where you want to focus.

Hope this helps!

Submitted by jcravens42 on June 13, 2007 - 6:04am.

You aren't going to get a job in development work with an undergrad degree in most anything; instead, pick the subject that interests you most, that you can feel some passion and sustained interest in. For the next few years, you will be "marrying" this subject, it's something that you will live with every day, so pick something that won't bore you.

Work in development requires tangible, transferable, ready-to-use immediately skills, so you need to accompany your undergrad studies with lots of practical experience and volunteering in areas that relate to what it is you actually want to *do* in development. Let that be your guide for further studies and skills development beyond whatever undergrad you choose.

Jayne Cravens
Kabul, Afghanistan

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