AI News, Would a graduate degree in social sciences (psychology or economics, etc.) prepare you well for a career in data science, or is a hard science background a prerequisite?
- On Thursday, October 4, 2018
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Would a graduate degree in social sciences (psychology or economics, etc.) prepare you well for a career in data science, or is a hard science background a prerequisite?
If you’re certain that you want to have a career as a data scientist, a lot of universities offer specialized degrees in this subject.
Now, if you ask because you want to be able to make a career transition later, some disciplines in social sciences have generally a stronger focus on quantitative methods than others (e.g.
If I were you, I’d check the syllabus of a specific degree I’m interested in, and try to know what formers students are doing now.
They create opportunities for students to practice and sharpen a number of skills, including the ability to articulate and defend positions, consider different points of view, and enlist and evaluate evidence.
While discussions provide avenues for exploration and discovery, leading a discussion can be anxiety-producing: discussions are, by their nature, unpredictable, and require us as instructors to surrender a certain degree of control over the flow of information.
You might, for example, want students to be able to: When you can clearly envision the purpose of the discussion, it is easier to formulate stimulating questions and an appropriate strategy for facilitating the discussion.
Davis (1993) lists a range of question types, including: These question types can be mapped onto Bloom’s taxonomy of learning objectives, which shows increasing levels of cognitive complexity as students move from fairly simple tasks (such as recall of information) to more complex tasks (such as synthesis, evaluation, or creation.) While you might frame the entire discussion in terms of a Big Question to grapple with, it is a good general strategy to move from relatively simple, convergent questions (i.e., questions with correct answers, such as “According to this treatise, what is Argentina’s historical claim on the Falklands?”
For example, an instructor might move an abstract discussion to a concrete level by asking for examples or illustrations, or move a concrete discussion to a broader level by asking students to generate a generalization or implication.
Asking a number of questions together may also conflate issues you really want to help students distinguish (for example, the author’s thesis versus the kinds of evidence he uses to support it).
Asking yes/no or leading questions: Asking questions with a yes/no answer can be the starting point of a good discussion, but only if there is a follow-up question that calls for explanation or substantiation.
Also, summarize key issues occasionally as you go and refocus student attention if the discussion seems to be getting off track (for example, “How do the issues that have just been raised relate to the question originally posed?”
or “That’s an interesting point, Alexis, and one we will return to later in the course.”) While some lulls in discussion are to be expected (while participants are thinking, for example) the instructor must be alert to signs such as these that a discussion is breaking down (Davis, 1993): If the discussion seems to be flagging, it can help to introduce a new question or alter the task so as to bring a fresh kind of thinking or a different group dynamic to bear.
For example, you might switch from discussing an ethical issue in the abstract to a concrete case study, or shift from large-group discussion to small group or pair-work.
You could, for example, tell students that one of them (they won’t know who in advance) will be asked at the end of every discussion to identify the major issues, concerns and conclusions generated during discussion.
You could also ask students individually to write down what they believe was the most important point, the overall conclusion, and/or a question the discussion raised in their mind (these can be collected and serve as the basis of a follow-up lecture or discussion.) You might also provide students with a set of 2 or 3 “take-home”
For example: “The ability to articulate and defend a position thoughtfully and respectfully will serve you well in the work world when you are arguing for a particular policy solution or course of action.
Beyond explaining the relevance of discussion in general, it is a good idea to point out the relevance of particular discussions vis-à-vis contemporary social issues, your students’
Also, create a climate in which students feel comfortable taking intellectual risks: respond to their comments respectfully, even when you correct or challenge them, and make sure (perhaps by establishing clear behavioral ground rules) that their peers do as well.
It is important to note that assigning preparatory work does not necessarily add significant extra work for the instructor, who can collect student prep assignments, glance over them quickly to assess overall comprehension or to identify questions to address in class, and simply mark them Credit/No Credit.
One way to encourage students to engage in the style of intellectual exchange you desire is to model good discussion techniques in your own behavior, using language that demonstrates, among other things: In the interests of modeling a particular style of intellectual exchange, some instructors invite a colleague to their class and engage in a scholarly discussion or debate for the benefit of their students.
unsubstantiated claims, opinions based purely on personal taste, etc.) Explicit ground rules or guidelines can help to ensure a respectful environment for discussion.
The ground rules you use will depend on your class size and goals, but may include provisions such as these: You can set these ground rules yourself and specify them in your syllabus, or have students help create them.
If a subset of students seems reluctant to speak up in class, you might consider ways for them to share their ideas and engage with the material in an alternative forum, such as via discussion board or e-mail.
contributions to the attention of the class as a way of acknowledging their perspectives and encouraging further participation (“Felipe made an interesting observation in a post to the discussion board yesterday.
You might also consider asking students to take a minute to write about their reactions to what has been said so they can cool off, focus their thoughts, and consider one another’s perspectives before re-entering the discussion.
Also, think about whether the discussion environment in your classroom is sufficiently inclusive of all your students, regardless of race, class, gender, sexual orientation, political persuasion, religion, etc.
Make high-quality participation count While we all want students to participate in discussions for the sheer joy of intellectual exchange, not all students may be equally motivated to jump in –
For this reason it can be helpful to define what you consider high-quality contributions to discussions and distinguish them from low-quality contributions by using a rubric for discussion that makes your expectations and grading criteria clear.
For example, immediately following the discussion, you might ask students to write briefly about what they learned, how their thinking changed, or how the discussion relates to other course materials.
this can be helpful because instructors facilitating a discussion are busy juggling many things at once (time management, the flow of ideas, group dynamics), and often cannot assess the discussion as a whole.
If you want students to work in small groups, you might consider how chairs and tables can be positioned so that you can walk from group to group, or have students do so if the task demands it.
As a general rule, it is a good idea to set up the classroom so that students can (a) see each other and (b) see progress (e.g., to watch an evolving list of brainstormed ideas take shape, to focus their participation around a central question, to see several synthesizing points written on the board.) Clearly, the configuration of the room itself can limit your options, as can class size.
While there are a lot of issues to consider when planning and leading a discussion, the time you spend up-front thinking through the cognitive, social/emotional, and physical aspects of discussion will pay off later in more lively, productive, and rewarding discussions as well as greater student learning.
Many Rutgers students are attracted to the idea of pursuing some sort of career in international affairs.
Such careers are possible – Rutgers graduates can be found around the world, in positions that affect the functioning of our national and global political, economic, social, and cultural system in a wide variety of ways.
Whether one is working for the United States government, for an international organization such as the International Monetary Fund or World Bank, for a nongovernmental organization such as Greenpeace or Doctors Without Borders, for a transnational corporation such as Exxon or Nestle, or for an international bank like Citicorp or UBS, one’s actions will deeply affect the lives of others, some of whom may live far away and some of whom may be relatively powerless.
Rutgers faculty members have widely different opinions about how best to think about such issues and how work for various types of actors or agencies will raise these issues in your life and will be glad to talk to you about them.
First, while the number of new foreign service officers (FSOs) recruited each year varies dramatically according to the needs of the service, the selection process is always extremely rigorous and highly competitive.
Sixth, the Foreign Service will teach you the languages you will need to know – and, as already noted, it will decide where to post you, and this post may or may not take advantage of languages you already know.
They seem to be particularly interested in exotic languages, geographic area specializations, economics, mathematics, computer science, engineering, and physical science.
point worth emphasizing for Rutgers students who may be thinking about a government career like this is that the combination of a strong background in political science with some other set of skills or body of knowledge may be particularly valuable – whether it is the mastery of a “less commonly taught” language (for example, Chinese, Arabic, Farsi, or Russian – or one of the really unusual languages, like those of Central Asia), or of the economics needed to do sophisticated analyses of other societies, or of the biological, physical, or mathematical sciences associated with policy issues like pandemics, deforestation, global warming, rocket propulsion, or satellite imagery.
Although the number of former military officers who have gone on to pursue other careers in government has declined with the retirement of the generation of officers who served in World War II and Korea, military service is still a not-unusual path to other careers in international relations.
Information about military careers can be obtained from the ROTC groups on campus, and the heavy responsibilities given to young officers are often valued by future employers.
However, jobs on its permanent staff are allocated on the basis of national quotas, since it is clearly inappropriate to have most jobs held by citizens of one of its members, and therefore it is difficult for American citizens to get hired.
While the bulk of the professionals working at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (World Bank) are economists, these international organizations, which play critical roles in promoting international economic stability and development, also employ non-economists in a variety of roles.
There are a large number of private research groups (often known as the Beltway Bandits, from their location on the Beltway highway around Washington and their dependence on government contracts) with interests in foreign affairs.
Major national and international consulting firms can offer a high-profile, intensive way to get experience dealing with the problems experienced by major transnational businesses, foreign governments, and other players on the world stage.
Again, they are frequently looking for individuals with strong backgrounds in math and economics, or in business, or with special skills in languages or in the biological, physical, or mathematical sciences.
They were expensive, had a high failure rate (sometimes as high as 50%), didn't want to stay long, didn't know the language, and often alienated foreigners.
Many transnational businesses also maintain large offices to evaluate business opportunities with foreign governments or in foreign markets, or to lobby governments, particularly the American government.
Their job consists of teaching (communicating skills and knowledge to students) and research (creating new knowledge and communicating it to others).
University faculty usually have a great deal of freedom in selecting what they will research and teach, enabling them to develop specialized knowledge in a wide variety of areas.
For the past twenty years or so, university teaching jobs have been quite scarce, making it hard to encourage undergraduates to aim toward such careers.
In addition, increasingly colleges and universities are meeting their teaching needs by hiring “adjuncts” – often fully qualified academics who are being hired on a piecework basis so the number of full-time faculty positions becoming available may be small.
Moreover, summer interns are so common that they are often used by offices as clerical labor, people to run xerox machines, address envelopes, etc.
(The Rugers Washington Internship program also runs during the summer term – per above, this is probably less good than a full semester-long term, but much better than nothing.)
Once you state your specific areas of interest through your application essay, the Center or Institute will find several suitable internship sites from which you may choose including many private organizations concerned with international affairs.
Generally, you will receive more responsibility and hands-on experience in these other organizations because they are not large scale bureaucracies and your work is not limited by your lack of a high level security clearance.
attend several speaker series and small group sessions, and submit a term paper to the Rutgers faculty supervising the internship program.
Including housing provided by the Washington Center, fall and spring semester costs are approximately $10,000 for in-state students plus food, local transportation, laundry, and pocket money.
While most internships in the New Jersey/New York area are likely to be less immediately or less visibly relevant to a career in international relations, at the margin any experience working in a governmental, political, administrative, or legal setting is likely to provide useful insights and skills.
Beyond this, though, with careful hunting it is possible that you may find an internship that may be more directly tied to long term interests – for example, with the state’s department of homeland security, with consulates in New York, or with organizations tied to the United Nations.
(Especially if you are studying abroad as part of a non-Rutgers program, be sure to consult with your deans before you go, to make sure all of the necessary paperwork is taken care and that the credits will transfer as easily as you think they will and will meet the Rutgers requirements that you think they will meet.)
There is no right answer to this question, but two factors to bear in mind are the value of getting experiences as different as possible from those you can acquire here in America and the value of creating in yourself a maximally designed piece of human capital.
The Peace Corps is an agency of the U.S. government which sends Americans abroad, usually for two years to Third World countries, to help the people of other countries toward economic and social development.
If one wants to be a businessman or an architect or an urban planner, it helps to go to business school, or graduate school in architecture, or graduate school in urban planning.
A terminal MA degree in a traditional academic discipline is often a “going away” prize for students who discover that they don’t really want to pursue the academic life, who have been strongly discouraged by their program from continuing, or who have decided to shift their studies to another university or field.
typically involves the completion of several years of coursework, successful passing of broad “general” or “comprehensive” exams, and then the completion of a major, book-length piece of independent research called a thesis or dissertation.
in rare cases, students manage to finish all their doctoral work in four years, but five to eight years is more common, and it is not at all rare for doctoral study to take ten or twelve years.
Or they may be academics, or use academic training to work in international relations by advancing our general knowledge of the forces and behavioral patterns that may be at work.
lot of very senior people in international affairs are lawyers, but in general law school is probably not the most efficient way to start a career in international affairs.
It's true that you may be able to get an interesting non-legal job with a law degree, since employers figure you must be reasonably intelligent if you have survived law school, but there are other alternatives.
Public international law is concerned with whether or not the behavior of governments corresponds with international law, whether the American invasion of Panama was legal, for example.
the Commerce Department or the Office of the Trade Representative, for example, may need lawyers to figure out correct legal procedures for handling anti-dumping complaints, and the Defense Department will use lawyers not only to review its own purchases of jet fighters from Boeing or Lockheed Martin but to review its sale of used equipment to foreign allies.
Most international lawyers are concerned with private international law, how individuals and corporations can carry on transactions within different and sometimes conflicting legal systems.
On balance, then, law school is the best alternative for anyone who wants to practice private international law, but you must remember that you have to be a lawyer first and an international lawyer second.
One option for individuals who are absolutely certain that they want to work on public international law, or who would like to practice private international law with a possible eye to later government service, is to pursue a combined JD/MPA or JD/MPP degree.
In particular they recommend that you do not take law courses before you get to law school, arguing (probably correctly) that we will just teach you incorrectly and that they will have to undo all the damage we have caused.
However, anyone interested in law school should take one course which requires intensive reading of cases, just to see if you can tolerate it for three years, since that is what you do in law school.
American business schools claim to teach management, the coordination of people and resources to accomplish a given goal, which is what all large organizations try to do.
As a result, government and even non-profit institutions are hiring business school graduates for jobs which, twenty years ago, would probably have gone to lawyers.
The American Graduate School of International Business, just outside of Phoenix, more familiarly known as Thunderbird, is the only major business school in the country not affiliated with a university, and it has developed an impressive reputation for training high quality personnel in international business.
Anyone interested in business school should take microeconomics and macroeconomics (the order doesn't matter) and several advanced economics courses to see how well they do and whether or not they are comfortable with that mode of analysis.
The distinction between a graduate program in political science on the one hand and a school of international affairs (or public policy or management, discussed below) on the other hand is sharp.
Graduate programs in political science are designed to provide academic training: the required coursework and research are aimed at preparing students to become professors of political science.
The study of “international relations” within a traditional, disciplinary political science department, however, focuses on understanding competing theories of international relations, learning the methods one might use for empirical testing of such theories, and mastering the extensive literature by earlier scholars dealing with various central questions of international behavior.
Much as law schools teach their students the practical knowledge needed for a career in law, and business schools teach their students the practical knowledge required for a career in business, schools of international affairs aim to teach the management, communications, economics, statistics, and foreign language skills needed in a professional career involving international affairs.
However, since so few applicants are accepted into the Foreign Service and since admission is now by examination, these schools have altered their focus and now try to prepare students to work for other government agencies and for international businesses as well.
Some put relatively more stress on management skills and economic and statistical training, seeking to train generalists who can comfortably move into a variety of jobs or fields.
Others put relatively more stress on language or area skills, or on specialized training in a particular policy problem (for example, international trade or arms control), in an effort to prepare students for a more narrowly-defined career track.
To varying degrees these schools also provide training that is useful (and is seen by potential employers as useful) in the business world, particularly in the world of international banking and finance.
It is less clear, however, whether this training is optimal for a business career and whether or not graduates of international affairs schools may have to go back to business school later on.
Increasingly, the top schools strongly prefer admission candidates who have already had some relevant career experience -- for example, who have worked in Washington for a few years, have been in the Peace Corps, or have worked with an international charity, PVO, or NGO.
Graduate schools of public policy typically offer very similar training to graduate schools of international affairs, but may not have a clear international relations focus or international relations track.
That is, they offer professional training in public policy or policy management designed to prepare students for a career in government or dealing with government but do not offer as much specialization in the particular problems of international affairs.
others are geared very much toward “public administration” – that is, toward training on how to carry out or implement programs efficiently, rather than on how to design optimal programs.
Before selecting a program, students should not only review the program description carefully, but discuss the program with administrators and faculty members at that program to make sure the program will actually meet the student’s interests and career aspirations.
One group of Foreign Service examiners, when asked how useful graduate school would be, said that the two to three years of coursework would be useful, but that the candidate would do better spending a couple of years in the Foreign Service than working on a doctoral dissertation.
Our view is that it makes sense to study international politics within the larger context of political science as a whole – that to understand in international politics it is useful also to have a solid grounding in political thought and in American politics.
Double majors in related areas are usually not worth the trouble because students with such programs have no room for anything else, which is silly in a liberal arts institution.
several years ago a student double majored in Political Science and dance, for example, and Political Science and Biology is an unusual but occasional – and quite sensible -- combination.) The point of a major is to provide an intellectual focus for a number of courses.
An interesting alternative to the usual disciplinary major is the individual major, in which students select their own central topic, choose courses from a number of disciplines related to it, get a faculty member to supervise it, and get it approved by the appropriate committee.
This is often useful, although it tends to be a little cumbersome bureaucratically, since you have to list all your courses for the rest of your college career, and then every semester some of them aren't offered or you change your mind, so you have to fill out a substitute form and get it approved.
A student seriously interested in international relations should develop a curriculum which includes the following as a minimum: In addition, there are a number of options which individual students may also wish to consider.
Disciplines like sociology, geography, comparative literature, classics, art history, philosophy, religion, and the various foreign language and literatures should not be overlooked, and people who are competent in science and international affairs are also at a premium.
This said, it is useful to think about your curriculum as an entirety, and to think about the package of skills, knowledge, and experiences you will be able to offer to a prospective employer or graduate school.
or the study of Portuguese and some coursework on tropical deforestation and environmentally sustainable economic development – particularly if coupled with appropriate study abroad or internships – might jump-start a career.
And if you love playing the violin or field hockey, or collecting stamps or butterflies, don’t give it up simply because it doesn’t seem related to the career in Arctic conflict resolution you are dreaming about.
– that you are creating.) Don’t be hesitant about taking advantage of the special skills, knowledge, or experiences you already have, or those that, by chance, luck, or fate are easily open to you.
- On Friday, October 18, 2019
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