3 answers

What do you need to major in to become a Foreign Service Officer?

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Minoring in International relations #international-affairs

international business Helen Gonzalez
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3 answers

John’s Answer

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Becoming an FSO is more about your general aptitude, future goals and ambitions than what kind of degree you have. Learning to speak a foreign language(s) would be a good start. More common foreign languages like Spanish, French, Italian and German tend to have lots of applicants with those on their resumes. However languages like Farsi, Chinese, Arabic, etc would make you shine out more-so than others.


When they are looking to fill vacant FSO position they are looking for applicants who can fit that role. Determine what place(s) you would like to work and learn languages there along with any customs and history would be helpful. Also, it would be good advice to keep up with current events locally and remotely. Remember that a FSO personel acts as somewhat of an ambassador of the United States. Avoid situations that could get you in a legal mess and keep your finances in order.


As Kim mentioned earlier, those FSO Exams are hard and many of the questions might make you think what does it have to do with being an FSO. They are testing your aptitude, looking for patterns in how you answer the questions/think, overall rounded-ness (politically and socially), and behavioral insights to name a few.

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Kim’s Answer

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Hi Devetra!


I don't think they look for any particular major, but am not sure. I took that test many years ago, and have talked to those who have taken it recently. It is HARD.


At the time I took it, one was required to pass English plus two specialties. The specialties covered everything: international relations, music, foreign culture, arts, sciences, etc. They were looking for people who could carry on an intelligent conversation with anyone! I was terrified of the specialties, as I have broad knowledge in many areas, but not one special area. Somehow, I passed those. But, I flunked the English! I don't recall the rules of grammar. I used to read a lot, which is where I learned to write. Apparently, I do it incorrectly! Other test takers were talking about how difficult it was, but I did not believe them. I was shocked that I did not pass.


So, I think I would make sure I got a solid grounding in grammar, and probably a foreign language, and then just go from there. And, keep the grades high. They look at the GPA!!

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sundara’s Answer

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Having a Bachelor or Masters degree in International affairs, political science would be advantageous. You need to have passion in current affairs and History to be successful in this profession. There are number of specializations you can do in International affairs like cyber security, political communications, Trade & economics etc.,


Doing internship in Political consulting firms and Government will enrich your knowledge to become a FSO.

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