How Much Does Diplomat School Cost?

Before we answer the question, let’s make one thing clear: There is no formal school that trains students who wish to become diplomats. The U.S. Foreign Service does not even have strict educational requirements on the kind of degree that candidates should have. What really matters for those who really want to become diplomats is to successfully pass each stage of the long and highly selective selection process. It is only when one has made it to the Register and then given an offer of employment when newly-hired diplomats are required to attend formal orientation and training at the National Foreign Affairs Training Center at Arlington. This can take anywhere from three months to a year before the diplomat is sent abroad. Because you’re already an employee of the U.S. Foreign Service, you receive pay and other benefits when you’re undergoing training.

That being said, a bachelor’s degree in fields like international relations, political science, liberal arts and history are good training grounds for those who want to go into the Foreign Service. While passing the Foreign Service Officer Test (FSOT) and the other requirements will depend on your efforts, these undergraduate courses would help you have a good background for this career.

How much you will pay for an undergraduate degree in international relations or political science will depend on whether you choose to get your degree in a public or private school. Public schools are generally cheaper, especially if you are able to avail of in-state student discounts. On the average, an out-of-state student can expect to spend a little over $41,000 a year for a bachelor’s degree in international relations and about $36,000 for a bachelor’s degree in political science. The cost for tuition and fees, books and supplies and room and board actually vary, ranging from $12,000 to well over $60,000 a year.

For example, a bachelor’s degree in international relations taken at Florida State University costs $17,419 for in-state students and $31,863 for out-of-state students. At Michigan State University, in-state students can expect to shell out $22,762 while out-of-state students would have to fork out $43,650 a year. The degree can also be obtained at Pennsylvania State University Main Campus for $28,804 for in-state students and $41,378 for out-of-state students.

Meanwhile, a bachelor’s degree in political science taken at Fort Hays State University in Kansas costs $12,444 a year while out-of-state students will have to shell out $20,907 annually. At the University of Maryland College Park, in-state students will have to spend $20,572 while for out-of-state students, the yearly cost is $39,758. At Ohio State University Main Campus, a bachelor’s degree in political science will cost $23,025 for in-state students and $38,745 for out-of-state students.

Private schools cost the same for all students regardless of their residency status. At Brown University in Rhode Island, a bachelor’s degree in international relations would cost $58,636 a year. The degree would cost $60,721 a year at Fordham University. On the more affordable side, Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah only costs $13,092 a year. For a political science degree, meanwhile, the annual cost would be $55,872 when taken at Syracuse University and $59,060 at Bucknell University in Pennsylvania. At the College of Charleston in South Carolina, the annual cost is $22,855.

Applying for financial aid is one way for you to bring down the cost of your college education. You may be eligible for merit-based or need-based scholarships or grants so make sure that you check with the financial aid office of your school for these opportunities. You can also apply for student loans to fund your college education but keep in mind that these will have to be paid later on.

Career Spotlight: Diplomat

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