What Can I Become If I Study International Relations? Decide what to study

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 cultural life of communities. All this makes International Relation studies a very versatile subject offering plenty if opportunities for ambitious international students.

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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.

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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 the 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 keeps 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 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.

Political analysts:

  • inform about and interpret various political developments;
  • analyse laws, public policies, government decisions;
  • advise government officials, political parties, 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, non-profit organisations 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 education minister to introduce healthier lunches in schools as a way to combat childhood obesity.

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A lobbyist will perform tasks like:

  • monitor, research and analyse legislation;
  • attend congressional hearings;
  • reach out to government policy makers;
  • use communication tools to promote ideas to the public.
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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, 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 in working for the well-being of 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.

Check out Masters specialising in Communication Sciences.

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Find your perfect Master's degree in International Relations

If you already know in what area you would like to perform a job as an international relations specialist, you can apply to a Bachelor's or Mater's 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 field.

During your study, remember to do your best in developing the rights 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.study abroad guide.png

The Global Study Awards: get funded with up to £10,000 to study abroad

Together with the ISIC Association and British Council IELTS, StudyPortals offers you the chance to receive up to £10000 to expand your horizon and study abroad. We want to ultimately encourage you to study abroad in order to experience and explore new countries, cultures and languages.