Skills of a MIAGE Graduate Student

Skills you should either have or develop as a MIAGE graduate student

An entering graduate student should be able to identify issues, meaning they should be able to understand and address the right question(s). They should also be able to think through what information they would need to formulate an appropriate answer to the question and understand how to organize their thoughts to logically and convincingly present their response (both in writing and in oral delivery). Writing should be clear and concise with proper grammar and spelling.

Specific writing skills are not taught in the program, however, in MIAGE courses students will have extensive opportunities to refine their writing skills through requirements to write term papers, responses to case studies and a research proposal. Many MIAGE courses require 20-30 page term papers at the end of the semester. The format of these may vary some depending on the discipline, e.g., international relations, business, law, anthropology or sociology. Essentially, these courses will require a student to answer the following both in their writing assignments and verbal responses:

  • What is the question or issue at hand and which you must answer?
  • What is the background or context to this question? What are the relevant facts that lead to the issue?
  • To whom is the answer important and why?
  • What will your answer to the question improve: understanding, consensus, putting theory into action?
  • What is the response to each issue/question identified?
  • How can you construct the arguments you will need to support the answer clearly and logically?

In all writing, students will be expected to evidence their arguments and research with relevant and supportive citations using diverse material that is a relevant and appropriate source (i.e., peer-reviewed journals, academic articles, primary sources, etc.). For most of the required writing assignments, the student should not merely describe, survey or summarize material. They should provide original, in-depth, critical analyses of the issue(s).

The writing goal for the program is to learn how to address a complex policy or business issue by structuring and writing a clear, compelling presentation or document - whether the purpose is to provide new information, to gain approval or to change attitudes. Students should learn the various disciplinary techniques for problem-solving, as well as creating the logical structure and compelling story that make their reasoning clear.

Students will not be required to write scholarly articles, per se, but will be required to follow the typical format of writing pertinent to the area of class, particularly: International Relations (Political Science), Law and Sociology.

These skills are more essential than ever in today's competitive job market and so are important to the MIAGE program. If you feel you need assistance with this, feel free to contact the Program Manager for MIAGE, the Marriott Library, and/or the University Writing Center.