Prof Chintamani Mahapatra, chairperson, Centre for Canadian, US and Latin Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, talks about the changing trends in international studies.
What does one study in this programme?
This programme involves study and research related to political, economic and security issues of the world. Relations between nations, international organisations, international trade and investment issues are also part of it.
What are the different specialisations in this field? Is environment an important topic in international studies programmes now?
Specialisations are along functional lines, such as international politics, international law, international organisations, arms control and disarmament. Other specialisations are related to areas studies such as American studies and southeast Asian studies.
Environmental issues at one time were not part of the core international studies. But they have gradually become accepted in the mainstream international studies programme. Environmental laws and issues are also a part of the international legal studies programme.
Who should go for international studies? What subjects are recommended at the UG level for students who wish to do this programme?
It is open to graduates from all disciplines. Generally, students from the social sciences stream join this programme. Indeed, students with backgrounds in all social sciences are eminently suitable for undertaking this course.
International studies is actually part of political science in the Indian context. So, students who hold a BA degree can apply for an MA degree from the School of International Studies, JNU. However, ours is an interdisciplinary approach and students with sociology, economics and history backgrounds are also encouraged to apply for this course.Admissions are done through an all-India entrance test.
What are the career options in this field?
Students can join academic institutions, think tanks and various media (organisations) after completing this course. And, of course, they can always write the civil services examinations.
Can you tell us where have your former students been placed?
There is no direct placement service here. However, students interested in strategic affairs can apply for jobs in the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies and similar other think tanks. They can also join the media as international affairs specialists. They can apply for lectureship in political science in various colleges and universities.