Considering grad school for public policy, economics, international development. Help me sort out my life.
Note: my situation is pretty similar to this post. (I did a double take when I read it to make sure I hadn't posted this question already myself)
I just got back from teaching English for two years in the Peace Corps and suddenly everyone I know seems to be in grad school and loving it. I like learning and am pretty passionate about social science. I've been looking around at masters degrees in public policy and economics (possibly with an international slant, mostly because I'd be more qualified for it having done Peace Corps) and am considering masters programs in the following:
-Public Policy (or International PP) with econ focus
-Public Policy + Economics (dual degree)
-(plain old) Economics
-International Public Policy with econ focus
-International Studies with a development focus
-Public Administration + Economics (dual degree)
-(The other option is just to move back to DC and look for another nonprofit job.)
I don't have any formal background in economics (like the referenced post, I'm mostly a dilettante at this stage), so it's likely that I will be taking undergrad classes (econ and maybe stats) next spring in preparation for any of the programs. My BA was in German with a minor in Politics. Political orientation is leftward and making lots of money is not very important.
I have two major concerns. The first is that I want a solid grasp of both neoclassical economics and some of the major heterodox critiques. Ideally I would like a solid econ program that is grounded within a broader social science context. Public policy seems like it would be a good place for this, but I'm not really sure.
The second concern is that I don't really know what I want the degree for, career-wise. At this point I have no desire to continue on with a PhD and/or go into academia (I want to do
some more things first...), and sitting in a think tank doesn't appeal to me very strongly either. Besides working for the gov'mint, what other kinds of jobs are there that this kind of degree would be conducive to getting? I'm concerned that my passion for a topic will not sustain a dull desk job.
Those of you that have done similar programs, where have you ended up and what are your jobs like? What kinds of programs seem like they would best fit what I'm looking for? Economists (and others), are you going to take me seriously if I don't have a specifically econ degree? Is more advanced economics helpful in the real world anyway?
Huge thanks in advance.