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DiploFoundation - has anyone heard of it? If not, do you have any thoughts?


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Hello all - I'm planning on eventually (not in the next 18 months but probably immediately thereafter) applying for a MA program in IR. However, my undergraduate degree is in an unrelated field. To make my application more attractive, I was considering take 1-2 online classes from the DiploFoundation (diplomacy.edu) as a demonstration of commitment to the field and some grounding in basic ideas. To anyone who might have either first-hand perspective, or non-experiential insight ...


(1) Would this actually be of any benefit in making my future application more saleable, or would it have no real effect?

(2) Is the DiploFoundation well regarded, poorly regarded, or a non-player in the field of IR? (my suspicion is the latter but it's just a gut feeling with no informed insight)


Any other insight others might have one way or the other would be much appreciated.



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I'm don't know about this organization (which looks pretty cool btw) or IR programs specifically so much, but I have had conversations with a few admissions offices about MOOCs and free online courses. Some schools will allow you to submit transcripts from places like Coursera, others won't. You should contact the schools you plan to apply to and see if they will let you submit courses from this source, or similar sources (Coursera has a lot of IR courses to choose from to BTW).


Note: I've yet to find a school that will take MOOCs for credit towards your GPA, but some will accept them for program prerequisites. Having a bunch of relevant MOOCs completed with good grades will show that you are interested in the field, and I would imagine it would make you stand out better than a similar candidate who hasn't taken any courses in IR. 


Plus, even if some schools won't even look at these courses, you can still include a sentence on your studies in your SOP, and having a more in depth knowledge of the field will help you when you write your SOP anyhow, so it's not wasted time.


One thing I did was take MOOCs at the school I most wanted to get into. I took two MOOCs with Duke Sanford professors (although I didn't have time to complete one of them), and while I didn't have room to submit my grades on the Duke application, it did let me know what the classes would be like if I got in, and it helped me craft my SOP for the program. I imagine that if you went all out and won "best project," in a big MOOC from a school you were applying for it could really help your chances a lot! Some MOOCs even feature videos of in class discussions (Duke's did) and so it's also a great way to get to know a program, or make sure a program isn't over your head. Columbia also does a lot on Coursera if you are looking at SIPA. 


That being said, I think community college, if you can swing the few hundred dollars and make time for it, is a better investment simply because every school will take it for credit. CC classes in IR are pretty limited, but most will have macro and microeconomics, intro to international business, and some intro polisci courses. Obviously a language is a good use of time as well.

Edited by TimB
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