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Graduate Certificate & Diploma Programs in International Relations

If you want to develop skills in international relations without committing to a full-time master's degree, there are short but respected certificate programs that can help prepare you for a range of careers in international relations.

Comparing Graduate Certificates and Diplomas in International Relations

Graduate Certificate in International Business

A certificate in international business familiarizes professionals and recent graduates with the global business and finance landscape. To complete the certificate, students must take 12-15 credits (or 4-5 classes) in various subjects including the cultural aspects of business, global finance, and international marketing. Most programs include some form of hands-on project, such as a portfolio, internship or 3-5 week international excursion. Students develop an understanding and skill set needed to navigate the global market, understand global production and distribution, and deal with challenges within the international business field. They are well-prepared to begin or advance careers in marketing, business development, or financial analysis.

Graduate Certificate in International Development

Through this program, mid-career professionals and students who want to start their career in development can explore the relationship between poverty and policy. Students develop practical skills in how to manage, monitor, and evaluate international development projects. To complete the certificate, students take at least three graduate-level courses and may have the option to add-on electives in an area of their choice. Students choose between a wide range of classes like economic development policy, infrastructure and development, energy in the developing world, and development management. Graduates are prepared to apply their analytical, policy-making and management skills in military organizations, international NGOs, or government agencies.

Graduate Certificate in Security Studies

This certificate is designed for students who want to develop their expertise in global security issues and solutions. The courses push scholars to examine domestic and international security threats, examine policy, and understand the basic models of conflict. Accepted applicants are required to take 3-4 courses within a period of 3 years to complete the program (1-2 core courses then electives of a student's choice). Graduates have a great way to display their expertise in global security issues on their resume, and thus pursue careers in law enforcement, intelligence, counterterrorism, diplomacy, military affairs or advising NGOs and nonprofit organizations.

Graduate Certificate in Public Policy

A certificate in public policy emphasizes developing and evaluating international policy. The program balances skill-based classes in advanced statistics, quantitative research, and economic analysis with content-centered classes to help students deepen their understanding of international issues. To apply students must have a bachelor's degree (with at least a 3.0 GPA) in any discipline. The program lasts 1 year full-time or up to 3 years part-time. Graduates are ready to jump into careers as program analysts, lobbyists, or business consultants.

Graduate Certificate in International Migration Studies

An international immigration studies graduate certificate program offers students the chance to study the history, economics, public policy, long-term causes and consequences of international migration. The coursework for this certificate blends academic knowledge and up-to-date research in migration studies with hands-on experience. Most programs require students to work with refugees and migrants in a student's home community. These programs are designed to meet the needs of full-time mid-range professionals and range in length from 6 months to 3 years. After taking 12-15 credit hours, students are prepared to continue research in a master's degree or Ph.D. program or jump into work at a governmental organization or NGO.

Degree Program Program Length Program Requirements Related Careers
Graduate Certificate of International Business 1-3 years Undergraduate degree *Financial Analyst
*Director of International Business Development
*International Business Consultant
Graduate Certificate in International Development 1-2 years Undergraduate degree *Project Manager at an NGO
*Policy advisor
Graduate Certificate in Security Studies 1-3 years Undergraduate degree *Security analyst
*Strategic intelligence agent
*Counterintelligence analyst
Graduate Certificate in International Public Policy 1-2 years Undergraduate degree *Policy advisor
*Political analyst
Graduate Certificate in International Migration Studies 6 months to 3 yearsUndergraduate degree*Researcher
*Graduate studies
*Political consultant
*College-level instructor

Sources; School Websites

Getting into a Graduate Certificate in International Relations

While some graduate certificate programs require students to be enrolled in a separate master's or Ph.D. program at the university, there are universities that offer stand-alone graduate certificate programs in all of the fields mentioned in this article. To apply students to fill out the university's graduate school application, meaning they must send in their bachelor's degree transcript, personal statement, and letters of recommendation. A bachelor's degree GPA of 3.0 or higher is a common requirement for graduate certificate applications.

Graduate certificate programs are a great way for students to display their skills to potential employers without the full commitment of a master's or Ph.D. degree. If you are interested in understanding and solving complex global problems, a graduate certificate in international relations can help push your career forward.