To anyone with a STEM background looking to study International Relations: don’t be put off by the potentially daunting switch from the world of scientific facts and quantified uncertainty to the inexact, subjective world of politics. It can be hard to make that cognitive switch at first, but learning to think and write in different ways and understanding global forces can only help with your endeavours, even if those endeavours remain in the realm of science.
Jamal came to study at ANU for the opportunity to learn from world-leading academics. Soon after commencing his study, Jamal began to work as a Policy Analyst at the General Delegation of Palestine to Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific.
"With its focus on the intersection of history, culture and politics, a Master in International Relations at ANU became a pretty clear choice. I chose ANU because of its proximity to government in Canberra and its high international rankings".
“My sister mentioned that International Security was the ‘cool new brother’ to IR. Security appealed to my interest in learning about the transnational issues that our world faces. Asian Studies was the perfect pair to Security because it allowed me to study another language without doing linguistics. It was a very strategic choice!”
An array of reasons led Jack to study at ANU and move to Canberra from The Oaks in New South Wales. “ANU made perfect sense. One of Australia’s best universities in one of the most liveable cities where key government departments and institutions are located”. He admires ANU first-rate quality academics and former practitioners.
Henry’s story at ANU is extraordinary. He decided to study his Master of Diplomacy (MDIPL) and move to Canberra from Tasmania. “I quickly concluded that ANU is the only place in Australia to study international affairs, diplomacy and politics. The proximity to government and diplomacy is extremely beneficial”.
Shay recognises that she was, and still is, amazed by the program and the high and well-renowned reputation from the Strategic Defence Studies Centre (SDSC) professors, lecturers and tutors. “Their varied expertise brings a fresh perspective and an interesting theoretical viewpoint”.
Thomas believes that the Strategic & Defence Studies Centre (SDSC) is very unique. “I highly recommend the MSS especially to anyone that is planning to study national security. Why? The calibre of lecturers and the internships opportunities.
“I had a lot of great recommendations about ANU and the Strategic & Defence Studies Centre (SDSC). I investigated the Master of Strategic Studies (MSS) and its academics. SDSC plays a crucial role in preparing future leaders to face challenges. I said to myself oh my God! I have to be here”.
Originally from Germany and fluent in three languages, Stephan moved to Canberra to study his Master of International Relations at ANU. Among other reasons, he chose ANU because the Coral Bell School of Asia and the Pacific is well renowned for its amazing think tanks and world-leading academics.
In 2019 Lauren graduated from the Master of Strategic Studies (MSS). Lauren is amazed by the opportunities she had throughout her degree. She highlights the study tour to Borneo run by Garth Pratten, which also happened to be her favourite course of the MSS.
When looking for Masters programs, the chance to combine international law with diplomacy was the primary reason for selecting ANU, with ANU being the only university to offer this particular double-degree.
I moved from Sydney to study the Master of Strategic Studies (Advanced) as it had a perfect mix of course topics I was interested in. The fact that the Centre has close links to government provided amazing career opportunities.
The understanding of international dynamics, global governance mechanisms and diplomatic practice developed through my studies in Diplomacy have been invaluable in my current role working on a multilateral process to develop a 'global compact on refugees.
My ability to think critically has gained new depth. I had a wonderful mentor who taught me the importance of rigorous methodology. I developed a strong ability to think about how strategy is implemented, and gained a greater confidence in my problem-solving skills. All of these skills have proven useful in my job as a consultant at PwC.
I came to ANU to undertake a Master of Strategic Studies after being awarded the New Zealand Defence Freyberg Scholarship. I chose this program because of the world class scholars in the Strategic & Defence Studies Centre. The education I've received here really aligns with what is expected in the sector.
I decided to study at the Dept of IR at ANU as it is well known as the best IR centre in Australia and ranks sixth in the world. I found all the courses interesting, but the 'IR Theory' and 'Human Security' courses are among the best and most challenging ones. These courses forced me to think critically and systematically.
I came to study International Relations at ANU to fulfill a childhood dream. I always knew that I wanted to study overseas and the first time I saw the ANU campus was such a moment of pride. The program has provided the best academic expertise and amazing opportunities for me to engage in contemporary content as a student.
Upon the completion of her Master of International and Development Economics at ANU College of Asia & the Pacific, Amy Liu returned to work at the Asian Development Bank Headquarters in Manila, before relocating to Naypyidaw, Myanmar, to commence in her role as Advisor to the Department of Labour.
Through my studies at the Asia Pacific College of Diplomacy I have been able to develop a far deeper and more nuanced understanding not only of international affairs but of the nature of diplomatic work.
I did my Masters in the evening while working full-time at the Department of Defence. It was manageable because the program is designed to accommodate the needs of full-time professionals looking to advance their careers. What I learned in class I applied in my professional life, which was a great way to mix theory and practice in my early career.
I decided to study at ANU because the Department of International Relations in the Coral Bell School is well known as the best International Relations centre in Australia and ranks seventh in the world.
“ANU provides various courses in which students can engage in in-depth cultural and/or political studies in relation to Asian countries as well as a variety of language courses and translation courses, which makes it an excellent environment for translation studies.”
“The labs are incredible. There’s an archaeobotany lab, there’s a pollen lab, there’s heaps of microscopes. They’re incredible resources. With Menzies Library as well, you have access to a lot of Pacific literature.”
ANU is generally well-regarded in most of the disciplines I work in. The academic staff in IR have a global reputation, and the Asia-Pacific College of Diplomacy has a key advantage of focusing on the practice of international relations beyond theory.
"I’ve learnt from the very best,” he says. “Now I can email somebody who is the best in their field, and ask for feedback. If I’m faced with any challenges, there are people who are more experienced and knowledgeable than I am who I can draw on for support."
“We have good teachers. They’re really professionals in the field so even if we ask a lot of tough questions, they’re able to answer them. And if they don’t know, they challenge us to find out the answers ourselves.”
"The whole program is really eye-opening, especially when you discover the policy of another country is very similar to the situation in your country, and you have a chance to see many areas and many policies that are in need of reform, for example, or are missing in a particular country at a certain time."
"I was working in the policy and strategy division of the Ministry of Finance in the Seychelles, and I thought it would be good to have a degree in public policy, because my first degree was in the field of finance and economics. I wanted to link my study with my work more."
"Just to demonstrate how supportive the ANU College of Asia and the Pacific and Crawford are, from my initial email to me physically being here took less than three weeks. That gave me a really good impression of ANU and Canberra."
It gives you insights, and challenges the ways in which you’ve looked at these sorts of problems. I could have done a lot of other courses which reinforced what I already knew, but what strategic studies offers is that big picture analysis that allows you to start asking and answering some really big questions.
"With the knowledge I have on public policy and economics, I have a broad picture of how the world works. I want to use this knowledge I’ve accumulated to work on projects that are helpful to the planet and the population."
"I just liked the sound of it! It’s more relevant to me than Asia Pacific studies, being focused specifically on the Pacific. It gives you a chance to learn at a university level about the place that you come from. Most Pacific Islanders don’t really get that chance in high school."
"It’s a critique of academia that educators don’t have real-world experience or are in a bubble, but what’s great about the MAAPD is all of the educators have experience working in the field, so that really helps with the practical skills."
"I wouldn’t have been offered opportunities like the internship in the Humanitarian Emergency Response unit at CARE if I wasn’t enrolled in this course. This degree is well recognised, and employers actively recruit from this degree."
"I would approach my work differently now. I’ve learned so many techniques for participatory development, and about scholarly debates in the development area. Before, I was learning by doing, but now I’ve gained the theoretical background."
"The Master of Translation equips you with the theory and training, but literary translation is not a science; it’s an art. You can’t judge one translation as good and one translation as bad against some kind of universal criterion. You just enjoy their creativities."
"For me, learning about Aboriginal languages is fascinating on a linguistic level but it’s also part of Australia’s history, and I feel like you can do something that’s worthwhile socially, with social justice aspects tied to it. I love what I do, because I feel like I’m doing something useful and meaningful at the same time."
"I would recommend ANU hands down. I grew up in San Diego and the US has really wonderful universities but I feel, for American students especially, if you want to work in a field like anthropology or anything with an international emphasis, you need to think about going outside your own country."