Students

MA in International Affairs / Carleton or uOttawa

[OP]
Newbie
Oct 23, 2017
8 posts

MA in International Affairs / Carleton or uOttawa

Hello,

I decided to post here because I am uncapable of taking the decision by myself. I have read some similar questions here but they were dating from 2012 or so, and I would like more accurate opinions and information.

I just finished my degree in communication, and throught my last year I have decided that I would to go in the International affairs (more precisely I would eventually like to be a consular agent for Global Affairs). I thus decided to start a master and since I completed my degree in uOttawa, I felt normal to go to same university for my master. However, after discussing with some poeople, they asked me if I had considered Carleton, and their program do seem interesting, and maybe more established. In 2012, uOttawa’s program was fairly new but that it’s been more years, I would like to know which one is better, or maybe at the end they are quite the same?

Both have international opportunities and the coop program. They both have affiliations with the government. Carleton seems to have a better reputation but that I’m not sure.

I speak fluently French and English, although sometimes I am shy to do presentation so maybe doing it in French would stress me a bit less. I lived 1 year in England and I worked there as a waitress and au-pair, and I completed my last semester in Spain, so I also have an advanced level in Spanish (I am learning Arabic but I am unsure if this is relevant or not).

I don’t have any experience with the government, but I will start a position with them in the communication department. I might keep the position while starting my master.

So, my question really is, if I choose uOttawa, will I be in disadvantage compares to those going to Carleton?

Thank you! :)
14 replies
Newbie
Jun 10, 2013
67 posts
20 upvotes
Have you considered Toastmasters to get rid of presentation jitters? Which one has the better coop program? Real world experience >>> academic experience IMHO
Newbie
Jun 10, 2013
67 posts
20 upvotes
I think both Universities are pretty recognized, and in the workplace, any accredited masters would do. It's mostly a checkbox in a job that doesn't really require it (but asks for it). This is entirely opinion, the best person to ask is asking the person who is in the position where you want to be.
[OP]
Newbie
Oct 23, 2017
8 posts
You mean that doing a master is not very usefull right? I am unsure, I have heard many different opinions. I don’t think it’s mandatory but it seems to be of the only way to enter in Global Affairs, without spending 10-15 years in another department before getting transferred.
[OP]
Newbie
Oct 23, 2017
8 posts
I had never heard of it, but it seems interesting. I am unsure if or when I would have the time but I will look into it. Like I’m not that bad, I have been a tour guide before, but it’s not something I enjoy doing.
Newbie
Dec 24, 2009
29 posts
6 upvotes
Toronto
In my opinion, NPSIA has a better reputation with GAC. Co-op is pretty vital to getting hired/bridged in to the feds, and anecdotal evidence points to NPSIA being the favoured school to hire from. They're also part of APSIA, which boosts its international reputation.
Newbie
Jun 10, 2013
67 posts
20 upvotes
treecow wrote:
Oct 24th, 2017 11:23 pm
In my opinion, NPSIA has a better reputation with GAC. Co-op is pretty vital to getting hired/bridged in to the feds, and anecdotal evidence points to NPSIA being the favoured school to hire from. They're also part of APSIA, which boosts its international reputation.
Good info. Coop is vital (the real world experience bit + connections and networks). The issue with a lot of gov jobs and especially ones you'd get from a BA/MA is that there really isn't a hard barrier to entry (like hard skills such as programming/accountancy etc) so your competition pool is a lot larger - this makes a masters more necessary and more importantly are inside connections you'd get with coop...Everyone is gunning for government jobs for their stability and benefits.
Newbie
Jun 10, 2013
67 posts
20 upvotes
If your last job was a tour guide then a masters with coop will be worth it (mostly for the coop). See if you can get OGS (Ontario Graduate Scholarship) or SSHRC funding for it to lower your costs. The lack of a masters will exclude you from the management/executive rung in the public sector. Better future proof yourself. I only have a bachelors (with coop) so I have always worked analyst/sr analyst/specialist positions that pay quite well (I have no desire for management but I may do a masters soon for my own enrichment and for future-proofing.
[OP]
Newbie
Oct 23, 2017
8 posts
Hello,

It is not my last job, I have been an administrative assistant as well. It’s just that for most of my degree I wanted to work in the tourist industry and during my last year I decided otherwise, that’s why I’ve never really been interested by government jobs.

I have a relative that will get me a job in the communication department at the government, because I have to wait until next September to start the master. So I will get experience there, even though it is not with GAC. The only way to get in there I found is to do a master with coop so for sure I will do that!
[OP]
Newbie
Oct 23, 2017
8 posts
Hello,

Yes, for sure I want to do a master, especially to get into Global Affairs (seems to be the only safe and fast way really). Otherwise I’d need to apply the « normal » way and write the PSEE test among thousand of applicants. I will be working in the communication department in the government, so finding a coop placement will be easier since I’ll already be in the government. The thing is I am unsure where to do my master. I would have rather doing it at uOttawa since I know the school, the people, there is a flexibility with French/English, etc. Carleton seems great as well, but I’d need to pass the TOEFL to be accepted and since I am outside of the country until February, it makes it more complicated...
[OP]
Newbie
Oct 23, 2017
8 posts
I just saw that I need to do micro and macroeconomy, which is also the case at uOttawa, but in Carleton I have to do it before starting the program. At Uottawa you can take one class during your first semester and it works? I would also need to pass the TOEFL before the application... Weary Face I think I’ll have to go for uOttawa
Newbie
Jun 10, 2013
67 posts
20 upvotes
If it saves you time and money that can be the dealbreaker. School reputation can be important due to their alumnus network or their contacts in the field that can help get you a job, but if both have coop, go nuts...TOEFL, you need to write one of those despite after having graduated from a Canadian program? I've always seen that requirement waived...How hard can a TOEFL be? Those econ courses are a legitimate grievance though, it'd cost you an entire year otherwise right? Econ, at least at the introductory level, is pretty easy :).
[OP]
Newbie
Oct 23, 2017
8 posts
Thanks for your answer!
Yes, I don’t fancy doing the TOEFL, especially because I’d need to do it before applying and I am currently abroad until January, so that’s complicated. I also don’t doubt that the introductory in economy is easy, and it would only be one semester I think, but I don’t really wanna pay for another semester when I can do it at the same time in uOttawa. I read that some people had their whole studies paid, but I don’t know how nor why :P

I contacted the coop program at uottawa and they showed me the rates of their placements... GAC is the number one employer, probably like at Carleton. So uOttawa can’t be that much worse haha

I looked at toastmasters and it seems interesting, I might go for a few months. Anyone has heard about NPSIA- PT&D? It’s lole workshops with profesionals? That seems great but I’m unsure how it works.

Thanks!!
Newbie
Dec 24, 2009
29 posts
6 upvotes
Toronto
Regarding co-op placements - did you look at the job titles and divisions they worked in? I'm sure they place students in interesting departments, but that is a crucial detail schools don't tell prospective students. Are they in policy branches or something like procurement or ATIP? Where are their graduates 2 or 5 years after graduation?

Also you might want to doublecheck TOEFL requirements. I have friends at NPSIA and pretty sure they never did the TOEFL as they graduated from an English speaking school. This is a common requirement for international students only? Lastly, the NPSIA econ requirements suck, and from what I know, it's a very econ-heavy program which might be scary, but it makes their students stand out. A lot of MA and BA's (unless they majored in econ) aren't too well-versed in the subject, despite it being probably the most desirable academic background to hire as economics underpins all policymaking decisions.

Either way, I would just apply to both. Neither are easy programs to get into, and admissions is like a crapshoot sometimes. If you go on gradcafe forums btw, you might find better info on this!
Deal Fanatic
User avatar
Apr 16, 2006
5897 posts
343 upvotes
SabrinaG483041 wrote:
Oct 26th, 2017 4:52 am
Thanks for your answer!
Yes, I don’t fancy doing the TOEFL, especially because I’d need to do it before applying and I am currently abroad until January, so that’s complicated. I also don’t doubt that the introductory in economy is easy, and it would only be one semester I think, but I don’t really wanna pay for another semester when I can do it at the same time in uOttawa. I read that some people had their whole studies paid, but I don’t know how nor why :P

I contacted the coop program at uottawa and they showed me the rates of their placements... GAC is the number one employer, probably like at Carleton. So uOttawa can’t be that much worse haha

I looked at toastmasters and it seems interesting, I might go for a few months. Anyone has heard about NPSIA- PT&D? It’s lole workshops with profesionals? That seems great but I’m unsure how it works.

Thanks!!
Carleton's NPSIA program is one of the best, if not the best, in North America. Seriously.

I recall seeing rankings for international affairs programs a few years ago. Carleton was either first or second place. Their next closest competitor was Harvard.

If you want to go into international affairs, getting your degree from Carleton will go a long way to help you get the most out of starting your career on the right foot, If your two options are Carleton or OttawaU, Carleton should be the clear winner.

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