Get an inside look at what it is like to pursue a Master's degree at the Graduate Institute.

Our doctoral students are trained in all the main fields of the discipline and have extensive research and teaching experience.

Our graduates have gone on to outstanding careers in higher education, international organisations, public service and the private sector.

If you are interested about graduate student placement or our Ph.D. programme in general, please contact our Head of Department, Professor Anna Leander.

Class Representatives

The class representatives respond to and assist with academic concerns of students, and represent the programme to relevant administrators. If you have any questions about student life at the Institute, please feel free to contact one of our class representatives.

Mirko Reul | GISA PhD Representative, International Relations & Political Science
Fabian Hofmann | 1st year Master student representative
Astrid Skjold
Astrid Skjold | master class 2019-2021
Gurgen Tadevosyan | 2nd Master year student representative

Master Students' Placement after Graduation

Data collected since 2008 shows that after graduation the International Relations / Political Science Master’s students have been employed in all four sectors:

  • The public sector attracted one-third of our alumni from which more than half work in international organisations and approximately one-third work for foreign governments.
  • The next favourite sector is represented by the voluntary sector, our graduates going mainly for NGOs and Think Tanks.
  • One out of four Master graduates either continued their studies towards a Ph.D. or conducted research work as part of an academic institution.
  • The private sector accounted for 16% of our graduates, most of them working in consulting, banking, finance and insurance organisations.

PhD-Students' Placement after Graduation

Information gathered since 2008 shows that after graduation, International Relations/Political Science PhD students have been employed in all four sectors:

  • The academic sector is the most popular with nearly 40% of our alumni pursuing a career in academics after they received their PhD.
  • The public sector appealed to one-third of our alumni from which three-quarters work in international organisations.
  • The voluntary sector attracted 16% of our graduates; every tenth alumni decides to work in the private sector, most of them working in consulting, banking, finance and insurance organisations.
PhD Students - Where do they go after graduation?

PhD-students about the programme

Nina Schlager


Nina Schlager from Germany, PhD 2018

The Graduate Institute is a unique environment for learning and sharing ideas with a cosmopolitan faculty, who are widely regarded as experts in their fields. PhD candidates are supported, challenged, and pushed to produce postgraduate research of the highest caliber.

Looking back, it’s amazing to see how much I’ve learned through the PhD program. One year in, my understanding of both the field of political science and applied research more generally have been fundamentally re-shaped by the theories and methods to which I’ve been exposed.


Bugra Güngör


Bugra Güngör from Turkey, PhD Student 2016

After majoring in Conflict Analysis and Resolution at Sabanci University, Istanbul, I decided to pursue a doctorate at an institution where I can further enrich my understanding of political violence and inter/intra-group conflicts. In this respect, the Institute was my only preference to carve out the best academic career in Political Science and International Relations. The rationale behind the afore-stated is four-pronged: (i) Academic supervision; (ii) International Geneva; (iii) The strong partnership with policy world; (iv) the Institute’s prestige. First of all, the supervisory interests of the faculty give me an important academic privilege on my dissertation. Next, thanks to the location of the Institute, it is very easy to establish connections with different UN agencies and international NGOs. This leads me to stress that academic and policy research/communities often speak with each other in the sense that theoretical insights are excellently combined with the practitioners’ experience.  Lastly, as the Institute is a renown higher education institution in International Affairs and Development, this certainly increases the job opportunities in academia and policy sector after the graduation.

Asees Puri


Asees Puri from India, PhD Student 2019

A lot can be said about why The Graduate Institute is a perfect fit for anyone hoping
to pursue a career in international affairs. What is often forgotten, is the academic potential
the university has, especially with regards to the extensive research that is being conducted
here. My choice to be a part of this institute was grounded firmly in the realization of the
latter- a choice I have become increasingly proud of. The faculty here have created an
environment that has allowed me to pursue projects that are rather creative and unique in
scope and the methods and epistemologies which I employ for my research, taught to me
through intensive contact with my mentors, have allowed me to grasp the politics of everyday meaning-making better than I would have ever hoped. Moreover, the support that the faculty extends to the students does not limit itself to the realm of the classroom. My professors have supported me in my endeavour to peruse a Fast Track at IHEID and in laying the foundations of my academic career – all made possible through the generous scholarship offers that allow for students to realize their academic potential despite financial concerns. Thus, the availability of close guidance, financial support and a stimulating student community have made my experience at IHEID a truly memorable one.

Master students about the programme

Iasson Chryssikos


Iasson Chryssikos from Greece | Switzerland - class 2017-2019

Although it was suggested to me by academic staff at my previous university, the Graduate Institute always figured high-up my list for graduate studies. Being interested in international organizations and public-private partnerships, Geneva’s geography is key in achieving big due to the highly qualified academic staff and networking opportunities presented by the Institute. The courses provided by IRPS include a vast variety of diverse subjects, with approaches ranging from quantitative and qualitative ones to less orthodox ones. Moreover, interacting constantly with the other departments at the Institute provides us with the potential to develop an interdisciplinary mindset which can prove valuable in a future academic or professional career. All things considered, the Graduate Institute is an exceptional opportunity to challenge oneself and thrive.

Leopoldo Biffi


Leopoldo Biffi from Italy | Switzerland - class 2018-2020

Applying for a master at the Graduate Institute was for me a vocation, rather than a simple post-graduate choice. The Institute combines academic excellence with its unique position and historical legacy in the field of international affairs. Studying here is particularly suitable for a graduate student like me, aiming to join his national foreign service, whilst also being enthusiastic about carrying out research. As part of the International Relations/ Political Science Department, I find myself in a highly stimulating environment which is significantly developing my knowledge in the discipline, allowing me to focus on subfields most in line with my interests and career goals. 

Daniela Barrientos


Daniela Barrientos from El Salvador - class 2018-2020

After having completed my undergraduate degree in a school focused primarily on science and technology, I decided it would be a good complement to pursue a master’s degree in a place where the sole focus was International Relations. The Graduate Institute was the perfect fit, with its unique history and smaller environment focused solely on the study of the international space. This without mentioning the fact that it is located in Geneva, a city as international as they come. Having almost completed my first year of the master’s degree I can confidently say I made the right decision. The Graduate Institute’s challenging academic coursework will prepare me for my future job. Everyday I am surrounded not only by amazing professors but also engaging and diverse classmates. I had never met so many people from so many different cultural and academic backgrounds; you truly learn something from everyone!

Listen to Cesare Figari Barberis talking about his experience studying at the Graduate Institute.