Jun 19, 2018 at 12:00am ET By Joanna Hughes

Our increasingly global world is also increasingly complex. (Just turn on the news at any given moment on any given day, and you’ll quickly see what we mean.) Whether you want to further your career prospects in business, social policy, politics, public health, diplomacy, development, research or journalism, navigating the obstacles and leveraging the opportunities that arise from globalization depend on one thing: the ability to understand and unravel these complexities. Enter studies in international policy and practice.

Here’s a closer look at how international policy expertise can put you on the fast-track to a more challenging job as an international leader in your field, along with why online studies are the best way to pursue a master’s degree in this sought-after area.

Why Study International Policy?

Want to take your place among the world’s power players? You must first understand the many ways in which power is exercised on the international stage. But strategic international leadership is just the start when it comes to what you’ll learn as an international policy graduate student. From economic issues and economic policy problems to transnational security and terrorism, international policy comprises a breadth and depth of topics.

Knowledge and practical skills in international policy don’t just promise to give you a career boost; they can also have world-changing impact. Not only do international policy experts offer critical insights into the state of international affairs, but they also play vital roles in influencing policies and institutions toward desired outcomes.

Furthermore, the skills learned in international policy are not only directly applicable in international policy fields, but they also comprise invaluable leadership and analytical skills which seamlessly transfer to other areas.

And while the words “policy experts” may not bring to mind thoughts of heart-pounding, pulse-raising excitement, the reality is that international policy is a fascinating field offering the chance to engage with new cultures and people while making a difference. 

The Online Edge

We’ve established that international policy studies offer a bright future. Introduce an online component and the opportunities grow exponentially. Because just as the world we live in is increasingly borderless, so do online degrees expand the context in which we can learn and practice necessary skills.

For starters, online degrees in international policy mean you can study from the location of your choice -- anywhere in the world -- making it a perfect fit for civilian and military professionals alike.  It also means the ability to enjoy discourse with people of diverse nationalities, backgrounds, and frames of reference. In bringing together many different kinds of people, online programs facilitate true global discussions toward enhanced understanding.

Building Leaders for the World

These added benefits -- and more! -- are exactly what aspiring international leaders get with the Master of International Policy and Practice Online (M.I.P.P. Online) at George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs. In this accelerated 27-credit distance-learning program, students gain the chance to complete a master’s degree from a top-ranked institution within a single year of full-time study (or 16-24 months of part-time study).

Master of International Policy and Practice
Lisa Curry - GWU

One aspect that makes the M.I.P.P. stand out from other programs? A flexible curriculum in which students can design their own course of study comprising nine core course credits and 18 elective credits to achieve an overarching functional or regional specialization.

And then there’s the extraordinary M.I.P.P. community. In addition to a diverse body of students and alumni, M.I.P.P. also boasts an extensive network of international policy leaders. But you don’t have to take our word for it -- just ask an M.I.P.P.’s alumnus. Says 2015 graduate Jonathan Bissell, “At its core, the MIPP is unmatched in its ability to put students in direct touch with successful practitioners from around the world in the fields of diplomacy, business, defense, politics, and non-governmental organizations. It’s a solid foundation for a huge step forward in the international policy practitioner’s path to success.”

It’s hardly a surprise that so many M.I.P.P. graduates go onto exciting careers with top employers, including everything from the U.S. Department of the Army and the EastWest Institute to the Global Partnership for Education and Facebook.

Between this unprecedented access to networking opportunities and the many other advantages afforded by its customizability and online learning mode, M.I.P.P. constitutes a truly unique experience for students.

Enthuses 2016 alum Keya Guimaraes, “The MIPP offered access to world-class practitioners and professors, while also allowing the freedom to design a curriculum that served my particular interests and professional goals since I was a mid-career professional transition to a new field. The program broadened and transformed my capabilities as a leader, which will continue to serve me for the rest of my professional life.” 

GW Elliott School's MIPP program online from GW's Elliott School on Vimeo.

Joanna worked in higher education administration for many years at a leading research institution before becoming a full-time freelance writer. She lives in the beautiful White Mountains region of New Hampshire with her family.

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