Sounding off on researching global development graduate degree programs

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Pursuing a graduate degree presents one of the biggest investments you could make in your global development career. But before doing so, there are certain things you need to consider such as location, faculty membership and alumni support, according to Kate Warren, senior director and editor of careers and recruiting content at Devex.

Warren reminded too that the purpose of graduate programs is to build on practical experience.

“Will the program provide opportunities for hands-on learning through facilitated internships, practicums or research projects?” she wrote in a recent Career Matters blog post. “Does the coursework focus on both theory and its real-world application? Are there opportunities to travel, work or do research in a developing country? What skills will you gain beyond the degree that will round out your resume and demonstrate hands-on experience in the areas you hope to work?”

Indeed, experience matters in the selection process more than a graduate degree, some Devex readers commented.

That said, the majority of job descriptions indicate postgraduate qualifications as essential, Russell Lewis said.

“Unless the position is for an academic institution, it should be weighted far less than experience; even to the point of being desirable only,” Lewis argued.

The Development Book Club chimed in with a few more questions those thinking of attending graduate school should ask.

“Can I afford this? How do I plan to cover the expenses and will I be able to live on lower salary while working in development and paying back student loans?” the Development Book Club wrote.

Do you have advice for those considering getting a global development degree program? Let us know by leaving a comment below.

About the author

  • Ma. Eliza Villarino

    Eliza is a veteran journalist focused on covering the most pressing issues and latest innovations in global health, humanitarian aid, sustainability, and development. A member of Mensa, Eliza has earned a master's degree in public affairs and bachelor's degree in political science from the University of the Philippines.