Overview

Careers in government, law, and public policy offer a wide range of opportunities to lead, serve the public interest, and ensure fundamental rights and social justice—whether it be at a law firm, an NGO, your local government, a federal agency, or beyond. 

Our industry-focused cluster will provide you with knowledge and resources to pursue a career in local, state, or federal government, law, public policy, advocacy, defense, law enforcement, or international affairs. Within this cluster you will find a specialized career coach as well as a community of peers, alumni, faculty, and staff to support you on your journey. 

As a Boston College student you are already gaining the skills most sought after by employers in these industries, regardless of your major—including critical thinking, leadership, communication, teamwork, and more. We invite you to explore this cluster to determine if it is a good fit for you and leverage our services to prepare and act on your interests.

 

 

Meet Your Career Coach

A specialized career coach is available throughout the year to meet with you individually about any aspect of your career journey—from exploring career opportunities, to researching graduate programs, to launching a job/internship search.

Make An Appointment

Salvatore Cipriano

Salvatore Cipriano, Ph.D.

Sal is the head coach for the government, law, and public policy career cluster as well as the pre-law advisor for Boston College. He holds a bachelor's and master's degree in history from Boston College as well as a Ph.D. in history from Fordham University.

 

Careers in International Affairs Week

November 14–22, 2019

Through a range of experiences, many Boston College students develop an interest in potential career paths across a wide spectrum of industries with a global or international focus, whether domestically or abroad. It can be a bit daunting to figure out what types of opportunities are out there and what resources you can use to explore your interests. CIIAW is an opportunity for you to explore international career options and prepare for future endeavors. 

Why Explore a Career in International Affairs

 

Calendar of Events


 
IEW 2019

Thursday, November 14

Thinking Globally, Working Locally: An International Affairs Alumni Panel
In Conjunction with International Education Week 2019
7:00–8:00 p.m.
Gasson Hall, Room 305

Join a panel of Boston College alumni working in international affairs careers right here in the Boston area. Learn about their career paths and how they make an impact both globally and locally.

 

Tuesday, November 19

Living the Expat Life with Colleen O'Connor '10
10:00–11:00 a.m.
Career Center

International Affairs Mini Sessions
1:00–3:00 p.m.
Higgins Hall, Room 280

Resumes and Cover Letters for International Affiars Workshop
5:00–6:00 p.m.
Stokes Hall, Room S295

 

Thursday, November 21

Global Career and Internship Opportunities in International Trade
1:00–2:00 p.m.
Career Center

Live from DC: Foreign Service Officer Gabrielle Chwazik-Gee '11
4:30–5:30 p.m.
Gasson Hall, Room 309

 

Friday, November 22

International Affairs Mini Sessions
1:00–3:00 p.m.
Fulton Hall, Room 240

Where Boston College Graduates Have Landed

17%

of the Class of 2018 who are in graduate school are pursuing a law degree

95%

of 2018 graduates who applied to law school were accepted

3%

of the Class of 2018 who are employed are working in law and legal services

2%

of the Class of 2018 who are employed are working in government

Connect with Alumni Working in Government, Law, and Public Policy on Eagle Exchange

Explore Opportunities in Government, Law, and Public Policy

Law

Law is a vast field that offers career options in a variety of settings and specializations. Broadly speaking, lawyers work in private practice, business, public interest, government, and academia. Attorneys who specialize in transactional law carry out research and counsel individuals and organizations on a range of legal matters, while those who specialize in litigation settle civil and criminal legal suits in court. Anyone who wishes to become a lawyer must attend law school, which is generally a three-year commitment, and pass the bar exam in the state(s) where they wish to practice.

Types of Positions

There is a wide range of careers within the law and legal services industry. Students who wish to work in the industry prior to entering law school generally assume positions as the following at law firms, district attorney offices, and elsewhere:

  • Paralegal
  • Legal Assistant
  • Legal Analyst
     

During law school and following graduation from law school and passage of the bar, JDs start their careers as the following:

  • Associate
  • Summer Associate
  • Attorney 

Where BC Graduates Land

Law Schools:

  • Boston College Law School
  • Boston University Law School
  • University of California, Berkeley Law
  • Columbia Law School
  • Duke University School of Law
  • Fordham University School of Law
  • Georgetown University Law Center
  • Notre Dame Law School
  • University Virginia School of Law
     

Employment

  • Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office
  • Mintz Levin
  • New York Attorney General’s Office
  • Paul Weiss
  • Ropes and Gray
  • White and Case
  • WilmerHale

4%

received job offers during the fall semester of senior year

79%

received job offers during spring semester of senior year

17%

received job offers during the summer after their senior year

Do I need to go to graduate school?

In order to begin your career as an attorney, you must attend law school. The Boston College Career Center offers resources to help you explore your interests in law school and prepare your law school applications, from writing your personal statement to studying for the LSAT. 

Law School

Government (Federal)

Careers within the federal government include opportunities within the three branches--executive, legislative, and judicial--as well as in any of the vast number of federal agencies and departments, like the Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Labor, Federal Trade Commission, National Science Foundation, and many more. Depending on where your interests lay, you can pursue career paths affecting policy, legislation, the environment, transportation, education, commerce, and much more. 

Types of Positions

 

There is a range of functional roles and positions within the federal government, from environmental scientists to museum curators and beyond. Below are common entry-level positions within the federal legislature.

 

 

  • Legislative aid
  • Congressional aid
  • Press assistant
  • Entry-level officer or agent (in federal agencies/departments)

 

Where BC Graduates Land

  • House of Representatives
  • National Institutes of Health
  • U.S. Attorney’s Office
  • Attorney General’s Office

25%

received before senior year

50%

received job offers during spring semester of senior year

25%

received job offers during the summer after their senior year

Do I need to go to graduate school?

Graduate degrees are not required for working in the federal government. However, there are a number of graduate degree paths, including law school and masters and doctoral programs in fields such as policy, administration, public affairs, international affairs, and government, as well as STEM and the liberal arts, for those interested in gaining greater knowledge and experience in areas relevant to government work. Visit this great resource from NASPAA to explore graduate degrees in public service, government, and policy.

Government (State/Local)

Similar to the federal government, careers within state and local government include opportunities in each of the three branches of government: executive (such as a governor’s or county executive’s offices), legislative (such as a state or town assembly), and judicial (such as state superior courts or county district attorney offices). In addition to legislature, governance, and policy, state and local governments also afford ample opportunities to forge careers in areas such as the environment, energy, health, education, and many more.

Types of Positions

Much like the federal government, there are a number of functional roles within state and local government beyond the political sphere, including engineering, education, and energy. Common early-career job titles within state and local governments in each of the three branches of government include:

  • Legislative aid
  • Assistant city manager
  • State senate staff assistant
  • Judicial aid
  • Government associate

 

Where BC Graduates Land

  • Office of the State Treasurer of Massachusetts
  • New York County District Attorney’s Office
  • Massachusetts Department of Transportation
  • Massachusetts Department of Mental Health
  • Massachusetts District Attorney’s Office
  • Massachusetts House of Representatives
  • City Government of Temple Terrace, Florida

40%

received job offers during the spring semester of senior year

40%

received job offers during the summer after their senior year

20%

received job offers during the fall after their senior year

Do I need to go to graduate school?

Graduate degrees are not required for working in state and local government. However, there are a number of graduate degree paths, including law school and masters and doctoral programs in fields such as policy, administration, public affairs, international affairs, and government, as well as STEM and the liberal arts, for those interested in gaining greater knowledge and experience in areas relevant to government work. Visit the NASPAA website to explore graduate degrees in public service, government, and policy.

 

Public Policy/Advocacy

Careers in public policy and advocacy include a range of opportunities to research and implement government policy, advocate and lobby for interest groups, fight for social justice, influence lawmakers, and elect candidates to office. Students interested in pursuing careers in public and policy and advocacy may work in think tanks, government relations offices, activist organizations, policy and advocacy nonprofit organizations, political campaigns, lobbying firms, and political consulting companies.

Types of Positions

From director of research at a global think tank to speechwriter for a political campaign, there is a wide range of positions and functions within the public policy and advocacy career fields. Some common early-career positions include:

  • Legislative lobbyist
  • Government relations associate
  • Campaign staff worker
  • Program analyst
  • Policy analyst
  • Researcher
  • Translator

Where BC Graduates Land

  • RAND Corporation
  • American Enterprise Institute
  • Grassroots Campaigns
  • League of Conservation Voters
  • Massachusetts Democratic Party
  • Indiana Democratic Party
  • Elizabeth Warren for Massachusetts

 

Do I need to go to graduate school?

Advanced degrees, including masters or doctorates, are desirable for many public policy positions, which oftentimes require expertise in specific subject areas. Think tank policy analysts, for example, have advanced degrees in economics, public policy, public administration, or public affairs. Advanced degrees in liberal arts and STEM disciplines are also desirable. Visit the "Find Your Graduate Degree for Public Service" page on the NASPAA website to explore graduate degrees in public policy and public administration. The Princeton Review Public Policy page has more information about degrees in public policy.

International Affairs

International affairs encompasses a wide range of multi- and interdisciplinary careers in diplomacy, economic development, policy, trade, security, human rights, and various other areas. Students interested in international affairs may embark on careers in government agencies like the Foreign Service and Peace Corps, multilateral organizations like the United Nations, or a range of international non-governmental organizations and nonprofits.

Types of Positions

International affairs is a broad industry field. From ambassador down to language editor, there are a number of positions depending on organization type and functional area. Common early-career job types in international affairs include the following:

  • Junior Foreign Service Officer
  • Advisor
  • Program Officer
  • Administrative Officer
  • Strategy Analyst
  • Policy Analyst
  • Translator

 

Where BC Graduates Land

  • Fundación Alberto Motta
  • United States Committee for Refugees and Immigrants

Do I need to go to graduate school?

Graduate study for an international affairs career is dependent on the organization and functional area within the industry. For example, multilateral organizations like the United Nations value candidates who are embarking on or have graduated with advanced degrees in relevant fields, including international affairs and a range of STEM and liberal arts disciplines. Examples of industry-specific graduate degrees include master’s and doctorates in global affairs, international affairs, development, public administration, and policy. Foreign Policy keeps an updated list of top graduate programs for international relations, while interested students should also visit the APSIA website.

Defense

The U.S. armed forces and federal departments and agencies like the Department of Defense, National Security Agency, and Central Intelligence Agency defend the nation and American interests at home and abroad. While the conventional path to defense careers starts with joining one of the four branches of the U.S. military (Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps), the National Guard, or the Coast Guard as an enlisted serviceman or officer, there are many opportunities for civilians to embark on defense careers in federal departments and agencies. Defense careers include number of diverse sectors, including intelligence, policy, research, medicine, aid, engineering, and technology.

Types of Positions

There are a number of civilian and military positions within the defense industry, including in the areas of engineer, technology, and intelligence. Depending on the branch of the military, and if a student has participated in ROTC, one can enter the armed forces as an enlisted serviceman via  recruiter or embarking on officer training.

  • Technician
  • Administrator
  • Intelligence officer
  • Enlisted serviceman

Where BC Graduates Land

Boston College has alumni actively serving in all branches of the military.

Alumni also work in areas such as:

  • Department of Defense
  • National Security Agency

 

Do I need to go to graduate school?

Graduate school is not required.

Law Enforcement

Law enforcement officials operate at every level of society, from smaller, community-based police organizations, to municipal and state police forces, national agencies like the FBI, U.S. Marshals, DEA, and Secret Service, and international organizations like Interpol. Beyond policing, the broader fields of law enforcement and criminal justice include careers in forensics, social work, and counseling, among others.

Types of Positions

From FBI Director to crime scene investigator, there are various career paths within the law enforcement industry. Common entry-level positions in local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies include:

  • Patrol officer
  • Deputy U.S. Marshal
  • Entry-Level Special Agent
  • Entry-Level FBI Agent

Where BC Graduates Land

N/A

Do I need to go to graduate school?

For forensic work, graduate work in STEM fields, and forensic science in particular, is valued. For counseling psychology, clinical graduate work is required.

From the Career Center Blog
A Guide to Finding International Jobs and Internships  Link to article
One of the initial challenges you can face when starting an international job search is figuring out which resources to
November 13, 2019
BCCareerCenterTeam
My Experience Interning at the U.S. Embassy in Lima, Peru  Link to article
When I submitted my application for a State Department summer internship in September of 2018, it seemed like a shot
November 07, 2019
BCCareerCenterTeam
Why You May Want to Explore a Career in International Affairs  Link to article
During your time at Boston College, have you thought about any of the following? I studied abroad and I’m itching
October 28, 2019
BCCareerCenterTeam

Ready to Apply to Jobs/Internships? or Graduate School?