What is International Relations and Why Study It in 2022?

If the events from the last years have taught us anything, it's that there is a strong need for an international perspective and a more global vision, to better understand the conflicts and challenges surrounding us.

As a Bachelor's option, International Relations can open up a wide range of doors into a new, exciting future, so that you better understand the interconnected world we live in.

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What is International Relations?

International Relations introduce you to the world of politics and the social-historical impact of global development. You will learn about the different political systems and governing policies around the world, understanding how they connect with a broad range of international issues, such as human rights, global poverty, climate change, global ethics, etc.

During a Bachelor's in International Relations, you can expect to take classes on Economics, Politics and Government, Explaining Society, Public Policy, Business Behaviours, Global Conflicts, Global Security, Environmental Sustainability, etc. You won't study all these subjects, but most undergraduate programmes combine them in various ways and have a different approach based on their curriculum and academic objectives.

There are other titles used to refer to International Relations (IR), such as International Studies, Global Studies, International Affairs, or Global Affairs. Because International Relations is a relatively new discipline, the academic approach, curriculums, and courses can vary significantly from one university to another.

While some International Studies programmes have very similar classes to International Relations, others approach different subjects. The same thing is true for Global Studies and the other titles used to refer to International Relations. Checking the programme outline is a great way to see what you will learn during your Bachelor's and determine if that programme will help you achieve your academic and professional goals.

Where can I study International Relations?

Here are some great International Relations schools in the world we recommend:

See other top-ranked universities for International Relations studies.

These are the most popular countries where you can study for a Bachelor's degree in International Relations:

You can also check out online Bachelors in International Relations.

Study International Relations and work for organisations like the United Nations (UN) or the European Union (EU)

Why study a Bachelor's in International Relations?

Address contemporary global issues

We live in a world where the overall living standard is higher than it has ever been. Yet, humanity is facing numerous problems and challenges despite our constant technological advancement and discoveries. Think in terms of poverty, hunger, inequality, environmental concerns, human trafficking, human rights, and so on.

After studying an International Relations degree, you'll be able to work with local governments, private or public institutions, or even NGOs and try to address these problems.

Whether you will help to implement a new public policy or collaborate with other people to implement welfare projects and events, you will improve people's lives, change their environment and reduce the suffering and injustice which are present in the world.

It's a massive task, extremely challenging and demanding; but at the end of most of your days, you'll feel fulfilled and proud of your work.

Develop key transferable skills

The skills you'll develop while studying International Relations can be applied in many other areas and industries. Even if you have a change of heart and decide that you no longer want to work in the International Relations field, your abilities will help you succeed in any other career.

Here are some of the most important skills you'll develop and improve as an International Relations student:

  • Public speaking, verbal & written communication
  • Gather, organise and analyse data to gain insights
  • Cooperate with people who have different personalities, jobs, and goals
  • Evaluate ideas, concepts, and proposals and offer constructive feedback
  • Find solutions taking into account different cultures, interests, and mentalities
  • Handle conflicts, find common ground, and reach mutual agreements

Enjoy a stable and lucrative career

International Relations jobs are in high demand. This is not surprising, considering the ongoing development of the globalisation process and the way in which companies cooperate across borders and try to expand in new markets and countries.

For example, in the US alone, the Bureau of Labour Statistics states that International Relations positions are expected to grow by 5% through 2028.

Which are the best International Relations jobs?

It's difficult to define which International Relations job is the best. This depends on your preferences, salaries, the country where you work, and other factors. However, we can say that careers in International Relations are usually very lucrative.

According to data from Glassdoor, these are the average salaries for some of the most popular jobs in this field:

  • Intelligence Analyst – 68,340 USD/year
  • Policy Analyst – 58,925 USD/year
  • Immigration Specialist – 50,170 USD/year
  • Public Affairs Specialist – 59,720 USD/year
  • International Marketing Manager – 65,540 USD/year
  • Political Risk Analyst – 61,830 USD/year
  • Diplomat – 85,800 USD/year

Learn more about International Relations careers.

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Which famous people studied International Relations?

If you're still wondering about the benefits of a Bachelor's or Master's degree in International Relations, take a look at this list of famous people who have studied this subject:

  • John F. Kennedy (American President) 
  • Nirmala Sitaraman (Indian Minister) 
  • Judith Goldstein (Stanford Professor)
  • Ban Ki-moon (Secretary-General of the United Nations) 
  • Ron Silver (Actor) 
  • Kevin Ford (Astronaut) 
  • Shiva Keshavan (Olympic Athlete)

If you can picture yourself working for the UN, travelling around the world, and shaking hands with foreign dignitaries, or working for a non-profit in another country, then an International Relations Bachelor's degree is the best way to go.

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