I graduated in 2016 with degrees in Law and Arts, with Arts majors of International Relations and Criminology. Since then, I have been working as a corporate lawyer (specifically, insurance).

I have realised I don't want to do this long-term, and am applying for Masters degrees in the field of political science / international relations / public policy.

I have decent academics and plenty of relevant extra-curriculars from my undergraduate degree, but I am not sure how to best explain the last 3 years?

I am based in Australia and applying for coursework Masters programs in Europe and the US

  • 4
    "I did some stuff and figured out I liked other stuff more, so now I want to get a Masters to do said other stuff." Just be honest, there is no shame in changing directions, especially not that early in your career. If you can point out how the experience in the last three years will help you in your new plans, even better.
    – Dirk
    Oct 22, 2019 at 8:33
  • Just write the true story of how you came to your current trajectory without dwelling on the past. Mar 21, 2020 at 5:55

1 Answer 1


It is unclear whether you are applying for a coursework Masters or a research Masters. If it is a research Masters, applying for a project that straddles across three disciplines seems unlikely (political science/international relations/public policy).

Coursework Masters tend to not have a high selection process as coursework Masters tend to be funded by the student compared to a research Masters.

So if it is a research Masters that you are applying for, then evidence of the ability to do research would tend to be the focus. If you have done an honour thesis during your law degree, that would be significant useful. If you have done extensive research and wrote long form analysis as part of your role as a corporate lawyer, then that would be relevant too. Some lawyers have written submissions or in-house publications, so that would be good evidence of your work.

Being able to show that you are able to engage with difficult political science and public policy issues would be useful as well. You have done international relations in your undergrad but you may not be as convincing in the areas of political science and public policy especially at a research Masters level. Extra-curriculars would not be that convincing, unless it is extra-curriculars that has produced good work such as an editor of a student journal or publications that potential supervisors that are able to examine.

  • Thanks for the advise! It's coursework masters I am applying for (24mths with the final 6mths being a thesis), but Masters with scholarships as I don't have the $$$ to self fund, so I expect they will be fairly competitive. Oct 23, 2019 at 10:41

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