Where can an International Relations degree take you?

Nov 23, 2018 by

The industry surrounding international relations is constantly shifting and changing, creating an exciting and challenging world to be explored.

International relations affect almost every aspect of our daily lives. Important political events such as international conventions on human rights and environmental issues increasingly shift and shape the domestic legislation in individual countries. The relations between international bodies can significantly impact on practically everything, from global economics to the likelihood of military intervention in a certain area.

Needless to say, the field of international relations is vitally important, exploring areas such as human rights, the environment, global poverty, economics, security, global ethics and globalisation. So choosing to study international relations is a big decision, and understanding what the field involves is key.

What can you expect from an international relations degree?

As a university subject, international relations addresses a wide range of far-reaching issues, giving students the chance to stay up-to-date and on the ball when it comes to current affairs and world issues. You’ll be exploring and unpacking an array of problems that can draw on socio-economic factors, morality and so much more. After all, the way in which nations interact and cooperate is hugely complex.

International relations is not an easy subject. It requires dedication, perseverance and a willingness to stay up-to-date with the latest news stories and global concerns. However, as well as being a disciplined subject, international relations is also a very rewarding one. The subject gives its pupils the chance to gain further knowledge in many leading areas, including politics, geography, economics,history and law among others.

It is also a diverse subject, and one which can often be taken as part of a Joint Honours course alongside related subjects like Political Science.

Where can an international relations qualification take you?

With so much to offer in terms of skill sand information, one thing that international relations certainly provides is the opportunity to increase your knowledge base when it comes to both current and historical global issues. The wide knowledge base gained from a degree such as International Relations makes it applicable to a variety of different industries and roles, as understanding how political systems work and interpreting global issues and events are both desirable qualities.

The skills gained from studying international relations include:

  • The ability to critically analyse evidence and use it to construct coherent and logical arguments
  • The capacity to source, research and examine information closely
  • Clear and well-phrased written skills
  • Confident oratory skills
  • Intellectual independence, including decision-making and problem solving
  • Team working skills
  • A flexible,positive and open-minded approach to work

With all of these skills under your belt,an International Relations graduate can be a notable candidate for a wide variety of roles. We’ve outlined some of the most suitable and exciting opportunities below.

A diplomat

Being a diplomat is a rewarding role which involves maintaining positive relationships between nations. This is one of the leading roles to which an International Relations qualification can eventually take you. As a diplomat, you will be expected to represent and protect the interests of your designated nation. You will represent interests abroad such as trade, politics and consular services, spending around three years in a foreign country. If politics and travel are key interests of yours, then a role as a diplomat is a fantastic career to aim for.

As a diplomat, some of your main responsibilities will include:

  • Acting as a link between the country you are representing and the country where you are stationed
  • Collecting any and all information which would affect your nation’s interests and reporting it back
  • Negotiating,discussing and mediating with the local government of your designated country on issues such as trade, commerce, economics, peace, war and social and cultural factors.

An intelligence specialist

An intelligence specialist is responsible for gathering information that could potentially be critical to the welfare of the state. Needless to say, this is an important role with a great deal of responsibility, and involves working closely within the armed forces.Intelligent specialists can work in the military, the navy, security departments or any number of other state departments of one of the national government agencies.

The duties of an intelligent specialist can be demanding and diverse, and often include:

  • Conducting mission reports by using data, maps and charts
  • Collecting and analysing operational intelligence data
  • Evaluating results and using them to prepare reports, graphics and statistics
  • Updating and maintaining intelligence databases, libraries and various files.

A political analyst

The role of a political analyst involves explaining the political climate. You will be likely be acting as one of many government employees, though you can also find political analyst roles with in various research institutes and media companies. You’ll be responsible for making sure complex political aspects are fully understood, by looking closely at all the factors involved. If research, analysis and politics are what you feel comfortable with, this could be the ideal role for you.

As a political analyst, your role will include:

  • Providing information and interpretations on various political developments, big and small
  • Analysing public policies, laws and government decisions
  • Predicting political trends and election results
  • Putting current events into a historical context to better understand them
  • Advising political parties, government officials and the media

A lobbyist

Unlike many other roles which involve international relations, a lobbyist is usually hired by a corporation, association or non-profit organisation rather than the government directly. It is the role of a lobbyist to convince government members of the best decision for benefitting the organisation or company they are representing.

The role of a lobbyist exercises many different skills, including:

  • Monitoring,researching and analysing legislation to stay up to date
  • Attending congressional hearings
  • Reaching out to policymakers and other government members and arranging meetings
  • Using a wide variety of communication tools to promote ideas to the public on behalf of your organisation

A communications specialist in a non-profit organisation

By working in a non-profit, a communications specialist can help work towards a better society overall.Working within a non-profit organisation can lead to takes on an international level, with the chance to develop your career in a local office which holds global reach. Some of the better-known non-profit organisations include names like Red Cross and World Vision, but there are many other options out there in almost every political, societal, moral and cultural field.

The main duties of a non-profit communications specialist include:

  • Creating effective communication strategies and putting them into action
  • Handling both internal and external communications
  • Writing content for media and social networks

How to make the most of your time studying

There are many other possible career choices out there for someone studying international relations, but making the most of your studies is vitalto standing out. One way to assess whether this course is right for you is with a two-week summer school programme from Cambridge Immerse. This gives you the chance to experience the subject for yourself, gaining key building-block skills and increasing your confidence for future studies and eventual career paths.

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