Top 25 Countries to Look Out For Studying International Relations

Top Countries for International Relations Courses

International Relations, often referred to as IR or International Studies, is a specialisation in political science that studies the role of governments, international partnerships, NGOs and multinational corporations in an increasingly globalised world. Programs in International Relations deal with issues such as development, citizenship, human rights, violence and environmentalism in the context of global affairs. In this blog, we will cover the top 25 countries to study International Relations where you can study this diverse course!

Related Read: Most Popular International Relations Courses

Top Countries to Study International Relations Courses

  1. USA
  2. Switzerland
  3. United Kingdom
  4. Netherlands
  5. Singapore
  6. Germany
  7. Canada
  8. Ireland
  9. New Zealand
  10. India
  11. Australia
  12. Finland
  13. France
  14. Hong Kong
  15. China
  16. Spain
  17. Turkey
  18. Italy
  19. Austria
  20. Norway
  21. Japan
  22. Russia
  23. Fiji
  24. Denmark
  25. Sweden

QS’s Top Universities for International Relations: 2021

Before we jump into the best countries for International Relations, here is a list of popular universities for IR!

University Country QS Subject Rank 2021
Harvard University USA 1
Sciences Po France 2
University of Oxford UK 3
Princeton University USA 4
London School of Economics & Political Science UK 5
University of Cambridge UK 6
Stanford University  USA 7
Yale University USA 8
The Australian National University Australia 9
National University of Singapore Singapore 10

Why Pursue International Relations?

International Relations is a great way to start a career in politics, government, transnational non-profit organisations, or diplomats. As a IR student, students study a wide range of interdisciplinary subjects like economics, business, global affairs, management, history, politics, sociology, comparative governments, etc. Let’s look at some reasons why you should study the subject in some of the best countries for International Relations.

  • Studying International Relations will teach you how to work with numerous cultures, people and entities, and with this kind of learning experience, you can find yourself opening up a range of exciting career possibilities in a variety of areas.
  • An IR major provides students with the essential knowledge, confidence and core analytical skills that can help one to make sense of the international system and have an impact on government, business, and society well into the future. 
  • The degree gives an option for students to leverage their core knowledge from a number of social science fields in order to become more informed citizens and, in many cases, pursue careers in related fields.
  • Studying International Relations takes place in the perfect environment to learn from and not only in a classroom with a teacher. International Relations is more of a practical approach where the students experience the knowledge rather than learn about it in books. You need to choose the right location to align it with your academic or career ambitions in order to get the most out of International Relations programs.

Here are some of the Top Countries to Look Out for Studying International Relations study abroad programs:

The United States

Best Country for IR- USA
Courtesy: Open Government Partnerships

The United States is one of the best countries to look out for studying International Relations. It provides the most favourable opportunity to learn more about democracy, a type-state that many nations are trying to attain. Many nations still adopt the American style of government in their own nations. But moving to the U.S. to learn would be a very great decision if you were to become a civil servant in your home country later on. Aside from studying the tenets of democracy, the United States is also the headquarters of many international organizations. Representatives from different countries around the globe meet to promote peace and stabilize socio-economic and political ties with each other.

Top US Universities for International Relations

  • Harvard University
  • Princeton University 
  • Stanford University 
  • Yale University 
  • University of California, Berkeley


Best Countries for International Relations
Courtesy: Culture Trip

Switzerland is one of the top countries to look out for studying IR by students. As the location of the Geneva Convention and home to several international, political and economic bodies, several of Switzerland’s businesses and institutions are open to international audiences, and political knowledge is felt in the country’s institutions. There are a lot of schools which have a beginners course in International and Diplomatic Relations. The country also hosts the Geneva School of Diplomacy and International Relations, one of the most respected institutions that focus on politics, business, and government on an international scale.

Top Swiss Universities for International Relations

  • University of Geneva
  • University of Zurich 
  • University of Bern
  • University of Basel

The United Kingdom

best countries for international relations
Courtesy: Great British Mag

UK universities deliver the best level of excellence in IR. Students who look out for studying IR often choose the UK as it is a very popular destination. It is also home to some of the most esteemed professors in the field. Many ambitious politicians and civil servants have graduated from these top universities in the United Kingdom.

Top UK universities for International Relations

  • London School of Economics and Political Science
  • University of Oxford
  • University of Cambridge
  • UCL
  • Kings College of London

The Netherlands

Courtesy: Shutterstock

Another European destination that is ideal for students of IR is the Netherlands. Studying abroad in Amsterdam does not only deliver a desirable global climate. It also opens the doors to internships in The Hague or at the offices of the International Criminal Court. If you are intending to focus on global law, the Netherlands is the place to be.

Top Netherlands Universities for International Relations

  • Leiden University
  • Erasmus University
  • Maastricht University


Courtesy: Wall Street Journal

If you want to learn more about Asian and Global diplomacy, you must study in Singapore. It provides a good learning atmosphere for students interested in the field of global politics and especially those who want to specialize in international business. The country is also similar to other Asian nations and provides a multidimensional culture of Chinese, Malays, Hindus and Westerners.

Top Singapore Universities for International Relations

  • National University of Singapore
  • Nanyang Technological University

IR is a broad area of study and involves several topics, students can find this programme under various names like International Affairs, Global Affairs, International Political Economy etc. Candidates can pursue international relations at every entry level. Let’s check out some popular courses you can pursue in the field of IR and kickstart your global career:

  • Certificate in International Women’s Health and Human Rights
  • Certificate in Introduction to Contemporary Geopolitics
  • Certificate in Global Diplomacy
  • Diploma in International Affairs and Diplomacy
  • Bachelors in Politics with International Relations
  • BA in Political Science
  • BA in International Studies
  • BA in Middle Eastern Studies
  • BA in Politics and Policy
  • BA in Public Administration
  • BA in International and Global Studies
  • BA in Economics with International Relations
  • MA in Global Affairs
  • MA in International Affairs
  • MA in International Studies
  • MA in Global Policy
  • MA in International Political Economy
  • MA in Political Science
  • MA in International Journalism
  • MA in European Studies 

Explore: What is the Scope of Political Science?

Career Scope 

Students with an IR degree can opt for a number of jobs and here are some most common career paths and job profiles-

  • Journalist
  • Political Writer
  • Intelligence Analyst 
  • Politician
  • Research Analyst
  • Psephologist 
  • Social Worker
  • Policy Analyst 
  • Immigration Specialist 
  • Public Affairs Specialist 
  • International Marketing Manager 
  • Political Risk Analyst 
  • Diplomat 
  • Manager

[Bonus] Best International Relations Schools in Europe 

  • Sciences Po, France
  • University of Oxford, UK
  • The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), UK
  • University of Cambridge, UK
  • King’s College London, UK
  • Free University of Berlin, Germany
  • SOAS University of London, UK
  • Leiden University, Netherlands
  • Central European University, Austria
  • University of Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • University of Copenhagen, Denmark
  • ETH Zurich, Switzerland
  • European Institute Institute
  • MGIMO University, Russia


What is the career scope of an IR degree?

Students with a degree in IR can work as the following-
Political Writer
Intelligence Analyst
Research Analyst
Social Worker
Policy Analyst
Immigration Specialist
Public Affairs Specialist
International Marketing Manager
Political Risk Analyst

What are the best courses in IR?

Diploma in International Affairs and Diplomacy
Bachelors in Politics with International Relations
BA in Political Science
BA in International Studies
BA in Middle Eastern Studies
BA in Politics and Policy
BA in Public Administration
BA in International and Global Studies
BA in Economics with International Relations
MA in Global Affairs
MA in International Affairs
MA in International Studies
MA in Global Policy
MA in International Political Economy
MA in Political Science
MA in International Journalism

What are the best countries to study IR?

There are many countries that offer IR; here are some of the best countries
New Zealand

From this blog, we learnt about the top countries to look out for when studying International Relations by aspiring students. A career in International Relations can be highly rewarding for those who see their future in the research and analysis of International Affairs of the nations. Get in touch with our Leverage Edu experts and we will help you pick the right course and university to study International Relations and steer towards a rewarding career in this field! Sign up for a free session with us now!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

10,000+ students realised their study abroad dream with us. Take the first step today.
Talk to an expert

You May Also Like