Josef Korbel School opens door to employment, bright future

The majority of our graduate admission decision letters have been sent and one of the most commonly asked questions these days is:  “what kind of career opportunities will I have with this degree?”

To help answer this question, one of our second year MA students (who also serves as one of our marketing assistants) wrote the following article about the services and opportunities available through the Josef Korbel School’s Office of Career and Professional Development.

Deciding to attend graduate school is not just about seeking higher education, but ultimately about finding a job in a career that’s right for you. As a graduate student at the Josef Korbel School, you’ll have doors opened to you for internships and fellowships and access to the Office of Career and Professional Development (OCPD) which provides a wealth of resources to assist matriculated students working through the internship and career search process

An example of these efforts includes organizing career fairs that introduce students to potential employers from across the country. Last year, the school hosted both a security fair and a non-government organization (NGO) networking forum where students were able to interact directly with the hiring managers from places such as the CIA and the Department of State at the security fair and ACCION and Global Greengrants Fund at the NGO forum.

In total, the OCPD held 118 events last year helping students develop skills, engage with employers and network. The office offers advising appointments and conducts resume and essay reviews, mock interviews and job-search related workshops.  Additionally they offer opportunities for students to network with alumni and other contacts.  Representatives from the Department of State, ACCION, Catholic Relief Services and many others attend career fairs in Denver, and speak to students attending Career Connections trips to Washington, DC and to New York.  These professional development opportunities, coupled with a Josef Korbel School education, appear to pay off. According to the most recent OCPD report, 84% of alumni one year after graduating are employed and 7% continued on to get another graduate degree. Of those employed, 40% work for NGOs, 32% work in the private sector and 21% work in the public sector

Approximately half of all graduates stay in Colorado after graduation.

“They don’t come in thinking that they’ll stay here but they fall in love with Colorado,” Mira Morton Luna, the Associate Director of Employers and Career Development, said. “The skills they learn here are applicable to many different jobs.”

One reason graduates opt to stay in Colorado is because of its plethora of NGOs and government contractors that students familiarize themselves with while at the Josef Korbel School, whether through internships, career fairs, volunteer work or a number of other informational outlets the school utilizes

Approximately 75% of Josef Korbel students’ degree or certificate programs require an internship for graduation and many internships pave the way for students to find employment in their field.  Some students complete multiple internships, many of which are in Denver or the surrounding area.

During the 2010-11 academic year, Josef Korbel School students registered for 227 internships or practicums, in 32 countries with 106 of them taking place during the summer. Most of those summer internships were at non-profits and NGOs (71), while 27 were in the government. While most students opt to do their internships over the summer, there are opportunities to complete one during any academic quarter.

And for those students who ultimately want to work in the nation’s capital, the Josef Korbel School certainly offers a pathway to get there through the school’s D.C. program. This is a partnership program with the Maxwell School at Syracuse University and GPSIA at the University of Pittsburgh whereby students spend the fall quarter of their second year interning and taking classes in D.C..

As the world’s 11th best international relations masters program, according to Foreign Policy, the Josef Korbel School has shown it can offer something for everybody and has a knack for getting students to where they want to be.

I hope you found this article helpful, please be in touch if you have additional questions.


Nicole Vilegi-Sandage
Associate Director of Graduate Admissions
Josef Korbel School of International Studies
University of Denver


Think long term

I had a great conversation with a prospective student recently about the necessity of a graduate degree in securing a specific job. We both came to the conclusion that graduate school might not be necessary for him. I would like to pass along the same advice to you that I offered him. Please realize however that this goes against everything I am trained to do. My job consists of rounding up the most talented students available and helping them matriculate to the Josef Korbel School. While we are looking for talent, we are also looking for fit with the school—and that fit has to go both ways. My advice to this student (and to you) is this:

  1. Think about your ideal career. Research job postings that you believe you would like to pursue as a future career. Then, look at the requirements for the job to see if an advanced degree is essential. If it is, give us a call. If not, go after the job! Even if graduate school is a job requirement, knowing what you want to do with your career will make graduate school all the more rewarding as you’ll be able to tailor your classes, independent studies and thesis towards your future career.
  2. Join Linkedin.  This is a great resource for everything professional. Don’t be afraid to join professional groups for the sole purpose of asking questions related to your career search, (i.e. “Do I need an advanced degree to pursue this career, if so, what kind of degree do you recommend?”). Remember that social media is a great way to make connections and if used correctly it can help propel you into your ideal career. If used incorrectly, it can get you a job rejection letter, a pink slip and a stained online image quickly.
  3. Start networking now. Truth is the field of international relations is extremely competitive. We tell our incoming students that the job search starts on the first day of new student orientation (2 years before they graduate). The more connections you have going into graduate school the more you will have coming out.

Finally, don’t be afraid to contact us. I’ve helped numerous students determine that graduate school might not be necessary for their ideal career. I’ve also helped others determine that a different focus might be a better route. Contact us, we are happy to talk.

Brad Miller

Director of Graduate Admissions

Josef Korbel School of International Studies

A current student experience @ the Josef Korbel School

I recently came across the following article about a current student’s experience here at the Josef Korbel School and wanted to share it with you. No – we did not pay this student :). For additional current student experiences, check out our grad student blogs. And no, they aren’t paid either.

The state of Colorado has earned a national reputation as a one-of-a-kind, liberal thinkers’ environmental oasis. Not only is it home to some of the most gorgeous and inspiring American geographical landscapes, Colorado’s capital city of Denver is home to the University of Colorado at Denver, Metropolitan State College of Denver, Johnson & Wales University, Regis University, Remington College, and University of Denver. Colorado is also ranked #3 in the United States for greatest number of bright, sunny days enjoyed by its students per calendar year (behind only the cities of San Diego, California and Miami, Florida)! That being said, studying in Colorado has drawn students even from these states, as well as the rest of the world!

Michael was one such prospective student. A native to the sunshine state of Florida, Michael made the decision to pursue graduate studies at the University of Denver’s Josef Korbel School of International Studies. Michael’s decision to move to Colorado was based largely on his academic interests, which include U.S. foreign policy and international affairs. As Michael explains, “I wanted to expose myself to non-traditional perspectives on issues such as U.S. foreign policy and global trade, and with so many diverse and internationally recognized centers throughout the country I felt it was worthwhile to travel somewhere new and exciting for my graduate education.”

Read the full article about Michael’s grad school experience at the Josef Korbel School.



Nicole Vilegi
Josef Korbel School of International Studies
University of Denver