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Department of Sociology and Anthropology

International and Global Studies BS - Career Opportunities

Research Institutes

Research institutes come in all sizes and directions, so it should not be difficult to find one that matches your particular interests and political leanings.  There is considerable turnover at all levels, constantly generating new openings.  Planning and persistence are critical for locating a position at the precise time that you need one.  One of the best strategies for getting an entry-level position is to begin as an intern – paid or unpaid.  From that position you can establish a foothold that lets you search for full-time positions, learn the skills necessary to qualify for those positions, and have the satisfaction of doing work with a project that may have a real policy impact.

Positions are competitive at most centers and institutes.  Those with a bachelor's degree can expect to be considered for administrative positions only.  Some institutes, such as the Carnegie Endowment, have special programs offering one-year positions for recent college graduates.  These are highly competitive.  With a master's degree, particularly from a prestigious school, applicants can expect to be placed at the top of the list for consideration for a research assistant position.  Strong writing and communication skills are essential.  Computer and web skills are a decided plus.  Beginning salaries should range in the mid-twenties to mid-thirties, depending on the size and funding base of the institute.  Work hours are usually nine to five, but researchers who come in early and stay late rise more quickly in the field.  The work is often hard, but not repetitive, and even new researchers often find themselves on the cutting edge of international events with the opportunity to learn from and meet leading scholars and officials from around the world.  Smaller institutes may pay less, but they are often engaged in advocacy work that will appeal to many, particularly in the environmental, human rights, and national security fields.

Expect to start off doing basic research work, working up to drafting sections of papers and articles as you demonstrate your writing skills.  If you are at the right place working for the right person, you should expect that during your first year you will have the opportunity to author your own articles and begin to build your publishing credits.  Most centers have a collegial atmosphere where you can make friends, develop your own personal career networks, and find mentors that can guide your career advance.  Because most senior research positions require a Ph.D. or extensive experience in the field, research assistant positions will not lead directly up the career ladder at a research institute.  After two or three years, most people change jobs, go into government, or commercial consulting firms, or go back to schools for an advanced degree.  Nevertheless, you will find that even a beginning-level career at a research institute can be challenging and exciting since you will be contributing to important social and political issues.

American Enterprise Institute: a non-partisan, nonprofit research and educational organization that sponsors original research on government policy, the American economy, and American politics.  The institute's research aims to preserve and strengthen the foundation of a free society (limited government, competitive private enterprise, vital cultural and political institutions, and a vigilant defense) through rigorous inquiry, debate, and writing.  The Institute employs forty-five resident scholars, recruited from colleges and universities.  There are approximately twenty-four full-time research and staff assistant positions with four to five new vacancies filled throughout the year. A degree in international studies and, depending on the job description, expertise in a region, and/or public policy, government relations, foreign politics, etc., highly desired.,contentID.20038142214500071/default.asp

The Aspen Institute: The Aspen Institute is an international non-profit organization dedicated to informed dialogue and inquiry on issues of global concern. Founded in 1950, it has pursued its mission of fostering enlightened leadership through seminars, policy studies and fellowship programs. The Institute is headquartered in Washington, DC, and has campuses in Aspen, Colorado, and on the Wyes River on Maryland's Eastern Shore. Its international network includes partner Aspen Institutes in Berlin, Rome, Lyon, New Delhi, and Tokyo, and leadership programs in Africa. Through its seminar and policy programs, the Institute seeks to foster enhanced understanding of global and national relations. Research and staff assistants hired throughout the year.  Job or internship opportunities at the international partner institutes are available and are processed by the partner institutes directly (see third link).

Atlantic Council of the United States: a non-partisan network of leaders who are convinced of the pivotal importance of effective U.S. foreign policy and the cohesion of U.S. international relationships. The Atlantic Council of the United States promotes constructive U.S. leadership and engagement in international affairs based on the central role of the Atlantic community in meeting the international challenges of the 21st century. The Council embodies a non-partisan network of leaders who aim to bring ideas to power and to give power to ideas by: stimulating dialogue and discussion about critical international issues with a view to enriching public debate and promoting consensus on appropriate responses in the Administration, the Congress, the corporate and nonprofit sectors, and the media in the United States and among leaders in Europe, Asia, and the Americas; by conducting educational and exchange programs for successor generations of U.S. leaders so that they will come to value U.S. international engagement and have the knowledge and understanding necessary to develop effective policies.

Brookings Institution: a private, nonprofit, nonpartisan organization devoted to research, education, and publication in economics, government, foreign policy, and the social sciences.  Brookings Research Topics include business, cities and suburbs, defense, global economics, U.S. economics, education, environment and energy, governance, global politics, science and technology, social policy. Its principal purpose is to bring to bear new knowledge on current and emerging public policy issues facing the United States and to provide an expanded body of knowledge to better inform scholars, decision makers, and the American public. Research assistants usually have a master's degree in international studies with fluency in a foreign language, primarily Chinese, Arabic, or Russian.

Carnegie Endowment for International Peace: an operating, as opposed to grant-making foundation, the Carnegie Endowment conducts programs of research, discussion, publications, and education in international relations and American foreign policy. The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace is a private, nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing cooperation between nations and promoting active international engagement by the United States. Founded in 1910, its work is nonpartisan and dedicated to achieving practical results. Through research, publishing, convening, and on occasion, creating new institutions and international networks, Endowment associates shape fresh policy approaches. Their interests span geographic regions and the relations among governments, business, international organizations and civil society, focusing on the economic, political, and technological forces driving global change.

Cato Institute: It is a non-profit public policy research foundation headquartered in Washington, D.C.  The Cato Institute seeks to broaden the parameters of public policy debate to allow consideration of the traditional American principles of limited government, individual liberty, free markets and peace. Toward that goal, the Institute strives to achieve greater involvement of the intelligent, concerned lay public in questions of policy and the proper role of government.

Center for Defense Information: The Center for Defense Information is dedicated to strengthening security through: international cooperation; reduced reliance on unilateral military power to resolve conflict; reduced reliance on nuclear weapons; a transformed and reformed military establishment; and, prudent oversight of, and spending on, defense programs. CDI seeks to contribute alternative views on security to promote wide-ranging discourse and debate.  CDI educates the public and informs policy-makers about issues of security policy, strategy, operations, weapon systems and defense budgeting, and pursues creative solutions to the problems of today and tomorrow. CDI is part of the World Security Institute, whose divisions include the Center for Defense Information, International Media, Azimuth Media and International Programs with offices in Beijing, Brussels and Moscow.  The Center offers full-time paid internships.  It employs undergraduate and graduate students with a strong interest in security affairs and related public policy questions.  Interns can serve in research, television production, or web production positions.

Center for Strategic and International and Global Studies: dedicated to providing world leaders with strategic insights on — and policy solutions to — current and emerging global issues. The center's focus is primarily on three subject areas. First, CSIS addresses the full spectrum of new challenges to national and international security. Second, we maintain resident experts on all of the world's major geographical regions. Third, we are committed to helping to develop new methods of governance for the global age; to this end, CSIS has programs on technology and public policy, international trade and finance, and energy.

Chicago Council on Foreign Relations: one of the largest independent, non-profit international affairs organizations in the United States, serving over 7,000 members and the community through diversified programming. The Council provides members, specialized groups and the general public with a forum for the consideration of significant international issues and their bearing on American foreign policy. In over 150 meetings annually, including lectures, seminars, conferences, publications, a travel program and other activities, the CCFR seeks to represent all sides of complex issues on the global agenda. Council events feature major policy makers and other foreign experts from around the world, offering participants the opportunity to ask questions, voice their opinions and engage in candid discussions.

Council on Foreign Relations: an independent, national membership organization, nonpartisan research center, and publisher. Founded in 1921, CFR is dedicated to producing and disseminating ideas so that individuals and corporate members, as well as policymakers, journalists, students, and interested citizens, can better understand the world and the foreign policy choices facing the United States and other governments.  The Council is headquartered in New York with an office in Washington, D.C.  The Council offers exceptional opportunities for individuals at all levels in their careers, from recent graduates interested in pursuing a career in international relations to skilled professionals in a service area such as development or information services.

East-West Center: an education and research organization established by the U.S. Congress in 1960 to strengthen relations and understanding among the peoples and nations of Asia, the Pacific, and the United States. The Center contributes to a peaceful, prosperous, and just Asia Pacific community by serving as a vigorous hub for cooperative research, education, and dialogue on critical issues of common concern to the Asia Pacific region and the United States. Funding for the Center comes from the U.S. government, with additional support provided by private agencies, individuals, foundations, corporations, and the governments of the region. Employment opportunities at the East-West Center include a variety of positions which contribute to multi-national, multi-disciplinary research, education and seminar activities that support the institutional objective of fostering the development of an Asia-Pacific community.

Foreign Policy Associations: a non-profit organization dedicated to inspiring the American public to learn more about the world. Founded in 1918, FPA provides independent publications, programs and forums to increase public awareness of, and foster popular participation in, matters relating to those policy issues. Provides an excellent job board with career opportunities in all areas of international studies.

Foreign Policy Research Institute: founded in 1955, FPRI is devoted to bringing the insights of scholarship to bear on the development of policies that advance U.S. national interests; adds perspective to events by fitting them into the larger historical and cultural context of international politics.  The institute conducts research on pressing issues— the war on terrorism, developments in the Middle East, nuclear proliferation in South Asia, relations with China, Russia, and Japan— and long-term questions, such as the roles of religion and ethnicity in international politics, or the nature of Western identity and its implications for the U.S. and the Atlantic Alliance.

Heritage Foundation: founded in 1973, The Heritage Foundation is a research and educational institute - a think tank - whose mission is to formulate and promote conservative public policies based on the principles of free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values, and a strong national defense. The Heritage Foundation Job Bank assists conservatives in finding employment with conservative Congressional Offices, faith-based organizations, other public policy organizations, lobbying groups and trade associations.

Hoover Institution: the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace, Stanford University, is a public policy research center devoted to advanced study of politics, economics, and political economy—both domestic and foreign—as well as international affairs. With its world-renowned group of scholars and ongoing programs of policy-oriented research, the Hoover Institution puts its accumulated knowledge to work as a prominent contributor to the world marketplace of ideas defining a free society. The overall mission of this Institution is, from its records, to recall the voice of experience against the making of war, and by the study of these records and their publication, to recall man's endeavors to make and preserve peace, and to sustain for America the safeguards of the American way of life. This Institution is not, and must not be, a mere library. But with these purposes as its goal, the Institution itself must constantly and dynamically point the road to peace, to personal freedom, and to the safeguards of the American system. The principles of individual, economic, and political freedom; private enterprise; and representative government were fundamental to the vision of the Institution's founder. By collecting knowledge, generating ideas, and disseminating both, the Institution seeks to secure and safeguard peace, improve the human condition, and limit government intrusion into the lives of individuals.  The Hoover Institution is a unique center of scholarship and public policy research, committed to generating ideas defining a free society.

Hudson Institute: Hudson Institute is a non-partisan policy research organization dedicated to innovative research and analysis that promotes global security, prosperity, and freedom. The Institute challenges conventional thinking and helps manage strategic transitions to the future through interdisciplinary and collaborative studies in defense, international relations, economics, culture, science, technology, and law. Through publications, conferences and policy recommendations, we seek to guide global leaders in government and business.  Current research agendas include: The War on Terror and the Future of Islam; the Rise of Asia and U.S.-Asian Relations; Human Rights in Asia and Africa; Civil Justice Reform and Judicial Policy; Agricultural and Biotechnology Policy; Civil Society and Global Philanthropy; Market Reforms and the 21st-Century Welfare State. The Hudson Institute's staff includes thirty-four research professionals.  Qualifications for entry-level research positions generally include advanced academic training and/or some professional experience in an area related to the Institute's research interests.  Excellent written and oral communication skills are also required. The Institute offers internships in both Indianapolis and our office in Washington, D.C. to undergraduates, graduates, and postgraduate students. Hudson has garnered local, national, and international acclaim with its hands-on research and offers a unique opportunity for its interns to work with Hudson researchers in policy areas such as Campaign Reform, Crime Control, Central European and Eurasian Studies, Economic Competitiveness, Education, Middle East Policy, National Security, and Welfare, as well as Communications, Marketing, Development, and the American Outlook magazine.

Institute for Defense and Disarmament: a nonprofit institute that studies global military policies, arms holdings, production and trade, arms control and peace-building efforts; it runs educational programs on current and alternative policies.  The Institute's educational programs all reflect the belief that in order to move the United States, and parts of the world influence by the United States, toward constructive, peace-building policies and actions, we must train a new generation of leaders in matters relating to the military side of security: armaments and disarmament, arms production and trade, international arms control and disarmament negotiating fora, and options for confidence-building, arms-reducing defense policies. Internship programs and research associate positions.

Institute for Policy Studies: For more than four decades, IPS has transformed ideas into action for peace, justice, and the environment. The Institute has strengthened and linked social movements through articulation of root principles and fundamental rights, research and analysis on current events and issues, and connections to policymakers, academics, and activists at all levels. As a multi-issue think tank that has worked with the movements that shaped the late 20th Century, from Civil Rights onwards, it offers a cross-cutting analysis with a historical perspective.  The major areas of work are built around social change, democracy and fairness, global justice, and peace and security.  The institute provides a variety of opportunities for college students and recent graduates to get involved in its work through the internship program.

Institute of Peace, United States: The United States Institute of Peace is an independent, nonpartisan federal institution created by Congress to promote the prevention, management, and peaceful resolution of international conflicts. Established in 1984, the Institute meets its congressional mandate through an array of programs, including research grants, fellowships, professional training, education programs from high school through graduate school, conferences and workshops, library services, and publications. The Institute's Board of Directors is appointed by the President of the United States and confirmed by the Senate. The institute's mission is to serve the American people and government through the "widest possible range of education and training, basic and applied research opportunities, and peace information services on the means to promote international peace and the resolution of conflicts among the nations and peoples of the world without recourse to violence." Candidates for positions should have a background in international studies or international affairs and strong research and writing skills.

Middle East Institute: Since 1946 the Middle East Institute has been an important conduit of information between Middle Eastern nations and American policymakers, organizations and the public. It strives to increase knowledge of the Middle East among our own citizens and to promote understanding between the peoples of the Middle East and America. Today it plays a vital and unique role in expanding the dialogue beyond Washington, DC, and actively with organizations in the Middle East. The institute's Public Policy Center and Department of Programs present programs with top regional experts and officials from the US and foreign governments.  The institute sponsors political and economic programs dealing with both current policy and historical issues.  In addition, it conducts classes in Arabic, Hebrew, Persian, and Turkish; coordinates cultural presentations; publishes the Middle East Journal; and maintain an extensive library.

The Population Council: an international, nonprofit, nongovernmental organization, headquartered in New York, which seeks to improve the well-being and reproductive health of current and future generations around the world and to help achieve a humane, equitable, and sustainable balance between people and resources. The Population Council applies social science expertise toward the better understanding of population problems and promotes applications of that knowledge to the design and implementation of policies and programs responsive to individual and societal needs.  Its research and programs focus on frontiers in reproductive health, gender, families and development, HIV/AIDS, microbicides, and biomedicine. A listing of current job openings and instructions on how to apply is available at the website.

RAND: a non-profit research organization. For nearly sixty years,the RAND Corporation has pursued its nonprofit mission by conducting research on important and complicated problems. Initially, RAND (the name of which was derived from a contraction of the term research and development) focused on issues of national security. Eventually, RAND expanded its intellectual reserves to offer insight into other areas, such as business, education health, law, and science. RAND's innovative approach to problem solving has become the benchmark for all other “think tanks” that followed. For many years, decision makers in the public and private sectors have turned to the RAND Corporation for objective analysis and effective solutions that address the challenges facing the nation and the world. These challenges include such critical social and economic issues as education, poverty, crime, and the environment, as well as a range of national security issues. Today, RAND researchers and analysts continue to be on the cutting edge of their fields, working with decision makers in both the public and private sectors to find solutions to today's difficult, sensitive, and important problems. Through its dedication to high-quality and objective research and analysis and with sophisticated analytical tools developed over many years, RAND is engaged with its clients to create knowledge, insight, information, options, and solutions that will be both effective and enduring. Areas of research are education, health care, national defense, and criminal and civil justice.  Most researchers work at the Santa Monica headquarters, although a few others are based in Washington, D.C., or Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

The Chatham House (formerly Royal Institute of International Affairs): Chatham House is one of the world's leading organizations for the analysis of international issues. It is membership-based and aims to help individuals and organizations to be at the forefront of developments in an ever-changing and increasingly complex world. It is an independent, London-based organization founded in 1920 to encourage, facilitate, and inform the debate on international affairs.  The Chatham House organizes research by individual scholars and expert study groups; publishes books, periodicals, and pamphlets; arranges lectures and discussions; and maintains a specialized library.

Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars: The mission of the Center is to provide a link between the world of ideas and the world of policy; and foster research, study, discussion, and collaboration among a full spectrum of individuals concerned with policy and scholarship in national and world affairs. Its location in the U.S. capital makes the Center a unique nonpartisan meeting ground where vital current issues and their deep historical background may be explored through research and dialogue. The Center is charged by the Woodrow Wilson Memorial Act with symbolizing and strengthening the fruitful relations between the world of learning and the world of public affairs. The Center encourages contacts among scholars, policymakers, and business leaders and extends their conversations worldwide through its publishing, broadcasting, and Internet programs. As a nonpartisan institute for advanced study, the Center does not have a legislative or policy agenda, but aims to shed the light of the timeless on the timely. The Center has supported research on topics throughout the humanities and social sciences, with the greatest concentrations of topics in history, political science, and international relations. The center offers internships and project assistant positions to college graduates in international studies.

Worldwatch Institute: offers a unique blend of interdisciplinary research, global focus, and accessible writing that has made it a leading source of information on the interactions among key environmental, social, and economic trends. The work revolves around the transition to an environmentally sustainable and socially just society—and how to achieve it. The Worldwatch Institute is an independent research organization that works for an environmentally sustainable and socially just society, in which the needs of all people are met without threatening the health of the natural environment or the well-being of future generations. By providing compelling, accessible, and fact-based analysis of critical global issues, Worldwatch informs people around the world about the complex interactions between people, nature, and economies. Worldwatch focuses on the underlying causes of and practical solutions to the world's problems, in order to inspire people to demand new policies, investment patterns and lifestyle choices.


(Acknowledgment: our information is based on Careers in International Affairs, 7th ed., edited by Maria Pinto Carland and Lisa A. Gihring; Washington, D.C.: Georgetown University Press, 2003; the descriptions of and links to the different entries have been updated and corrected based on our review of each entry.)