Career development

Your academic studies will expose you to complex movers and thinkers across the discipline of International Studies, while dedicated exploration through professional placements will better orient you to work that suits you, as you begin to build your career outside of the university setting.

Your degree is itself a big step that you are taking towards building your career. Throughout school, students also take on additional applied (that is, “out of the classroom") career building opportunities — often referred to as professional development. Whether it’s through a research fellowship, a volunteer contract, an internship, further skills training, or entry-level work with a reputable organization, pursuing Professional Development during your studies benefits you in two major ways:

  1. Standing apart from other applicants means doing more than just your degree, whether at the undergraduate or master’s level. Professional development allows you to gather practical experience which demonstrates to prospective employers that you hold a breadth of skills and the ability to apply your learning in the “real world.”
  2. There is no better way to know what kind of work you would want to keep doing than to try it out, sampling shorter and therefore more manageable commitments. Professional development placements will give you tangible, lived evidence from which you can narrow down the kinds of work you’d like to go on to pursue, suiting it to your values, lifestyle, and aspirations.


This workshop series runs according to the academic year, with each topic coming up once a year (unless otherwise advertised). Workshops are open to all IS masters students, and declared IS major students in their 3rd, 4th, or 5th year. Some workshops are also open to students in the first and second year of their Undergraduate degree and, if so, the event’s promotional information will mention this.

Workshops are organized into two categories.

Careers in International Studies

Gain exposure to professionals within various industries which link to International Studies through the Careers in International Studies series. These events commonly feature guest alumni, friends of the School, and contacts within SFU’s wider network.

Select Topics/Field of Work:

  • Indigenous Relations
  • Foreign Service
  • United Nations and IGOs
  • Non-profits, local and international

Career Readiness

Gain relevant, in-demand skills which commonly feature within the listed qualifications on job postings across Canada’s non-profit, government, and private sectors. These events are facilitated by SIS staff, or else staff from associated SFU offices and services.

Select topics:

  • Networking Strategically
  • Project Management
  • Writing Grant Applications
  • Utilizing Informational Interviews


Co-op represents a phenomenal opportunity to find work that you truly believe is worth doing; once you have found that, everything else comes easily.

Eleanor Li, IS Major, co-op student at Global Affairs Canada

Read more about Eleanor's co-op experience →

Students may also choose to supplement their studies with hand-on experience on the job. Co-op is an optional program where students can explore career possibilities by alternating between study semesters and paid work in real-world organizations. To learn more about how to qualify and apply to Co-op, please check out the FASS Co-op Program or else book an appointment with one of their advisors. Co-op offers a wealth of opportunities, both here in Vancouver and abroad.

Please note: International students will not be able to access jobs within the Canadian government, as these require Canadian citizenship or else permanent residency. Applying for Co-op is not an effective method around this restriction, which stands regardless of an applicant’s program of study in Canada.

Previous placements

Here are some of the organizations with which our International Studies Majors have worked thanks to co-op placements:

  • Canada Border Services Agency
  • BC Ministry of Jobs, Trade and Technology
  • Global Affairs Canada
  • Consulate General of the United States
  • Consulate General of Mexico
  • Government of Spain
  • Chinese Ecosystem Research Network
  • Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada
  • Tata Institute of Social Sciences
  • Grameen Bank
  • Foundation for Agrarian Studies
  • Korean Broadcasting System
  • BC Ministry of Finance

Professional Development Advisor


Coordinator, Professional Development and Academic Services

Harbour Centre 7233

Gain assistance with:

  • Goal setting and constructing a plan for career exploration
  • Accessing opportunities that exist currently – at the local, national, and international levels
  • Preparing for work with individualized coaching on applications, resumes, interviews, etc.
  • Workshops and skills training on topics in:
    1. Career Readiness and
    2. Areas of IS-associated work, with guest speakers
      (more about workshops)

Book an appointment