Graduating a degree in International Relations is one of the key ways you can make the world a better place. You'll have the opportunity to maintain positive diplomatic relations between countries, prevent international conflicts, and make sure things run smoothly between governments in our highly interconnected world.
But international relation specialists have a much broader set of career options in addition to politics, and can get involved in fields like economics, social systems and the cultural life of communities. All this makes International Relation studies a very versatile subject offering plenty of opportunities for ambitious international students.
Pursuing a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in International Relations will provide you with great insights on political affairs, public policies, economic trends, social issues, laws – all linked together and forming the big picture. But what are your career prospects once you complete your degree in International Relations? The most pursued careers in International Relations include: diplomacy, lobbying, political analysis, international law and intelligence.
Where to study a Master's in International Relations?
Most popular destinations for a degree in International Relations are countries like:
Also, top universities offering Masters in International Relations are:
- Tufts University, in Medford, United States;
- The New School, in New York City, United States;
- Radboud University, in Nijmegen, Netherlands;
- Yasar University, in Izmir, Turkey;
- Roskilde University, in Roskilde, Denmark.
Careers you can pursue with a degree in International Relations
1. Diplomat - Maintaining good relations between countries
A diplomat has to represent and protect a nation's interests abroad in terms of politics, trade and consular services. A diplomat will have to spend usually around three years in a foreign country, along with his or her family, and may serve in countries where there are higher rates of disease, harsh climates, or social conflicts. Diplomats can reside and travel in places where tourists can’t go, such as Iraq, Afghanistan, Haiti, or Chad.
Mainly, diplomats act as links between the country they represent and the country they are visiting or are stationed in. They have to collect and report on all the information that would affect the nation’s interests and keep a close contact with government officials and politicians of the host country. The diplomat will have to discuss, negotiate and mediate with the local government issues about peace and war, trade, commerce, economics, as well as social and cultural aspects.
Check out Master's degrees specialising in Diplomacy.
2. Intelligence Specialist - Gathering state-critical information
As an intelligence specialist, you can work in the military, the navy, security departments, or almost any state department of one of the national government agencies. An intelligence specialist is responsible for data and information accuracy in a certain mission.
Main duties of intelligence specialists include:
- collect and analyse operational intelligence data;
- conduct mission reports, using data, maps and charts;
- evaluate results and prepare reports, statistics and graphics;
- maintain intelligence databases, libraries, and files.
3. Political Analyst - Explaining the political climate
Generally, a political analyst is employed by the government, but you can also find work opportunities within media companies or research institutes.
- inform about and interpret various political developments;
- analyse laws, public policies, and government decisions;
- advise government officials, political parties, or the media;
- forecast political trends and election results;
- put events into historical context.
4. Lobbyist - Promoting ideas to those who can make them reality
Lobbyists are usually hired by an association, corporation, or non-profit organisation to convince government members to make a decision that would benefit the organisation or company they are representing.
For instance, a lobbyist representing a health agency will have to work to convince the education minister to introduce healthier lunches in schools, as a way to combat childhood obesity.
A lobbyist will perform tasks like:
- monitor, research and analyse legislation;
- attend congressional hearings;
- reach out to government policymakers;
- use communication tools to promote ideas to the public.
5. International Lawyer - Representing beyond borders
An international lawyer can pursue careers in the government, corporations, or the non-profit sectors (international organisations such as Amnesty International, Care International, etc.). Most times, international lawyers will manage and mediate the relationship between private individuals, associations, or commercial organisations from different countries. Sometimes, international lawyers can even participate and mediate disputes between countries.
International lawyers will have to deal with issues that can include trade law, finance and banking, so they have to be experts in each country's laws and policies, as well as govern trade and business law.
Check out Masters specialising in International Law.
6. Communications Specialist in a non-profit
A degree in International Relations can also help you work for the well-being of the society. You can join non-profit organisations that operate on an international level.
This will give you the chance to shape your career in a local office that has a global reach and also increases your chances of travelling to other countries. Non-profit agencies like World Vision and Red Cross provide such global service, but there are many other options, too.
Find your perfect Master's degree in International Relations
If you already know what area you would like to perform a job as an International Relations specialist in, you can apply to a Bachelor's or Master's programme that focuses on that specific area. However, no matter what you choose, International Relations degrees will prepare you for careers in a wide variety of fields.
During your study, remember to do your best in developing the right skills, such as learning, usually, at least two foreign languages, level-up your communication skills, persuasion and negotiation abilities, creativity and problem-solving skills.
Good communication skills are also important. Improve your English speaking by attending an English language school abroad.