International Relations Courses

8 minute read
International Relations Courses

The affairs of a country are no longer confined within its borders. They can have far-reaching effects on people across the world. Like the 2008 American financial crisis started an economic meltdown in the whole world. Inter-connectivity among countries has created a need for analysis and studying the problems of countries at a global level, experts of International Relations closely work with global policymakers and diplomats in order to study and perceive the emerging complications in great detail. If you are curious about how global connectivity has changed the relationships between nations across the globe, there are numerous International Relations courses offered all around the world. Here in this blog, is all the information you will need about programs in International Relations, their essential components and major universities providing these courses.

What is International Relations?

International relations also referred to as international studies or global studies is the study of the relation of states with each other and with international organizations. In simple terms, it is the study of politics, economics and law on a global level. Generally, international relations is concerned with relations between political entities such as international NGOs and international government organizations. The study of international relations explains the behaviour that occurs across the boundaries of the states. 

As the world grows more and more interconnected, international relations is also becoming more and more relevant through trade and commerce, migration and through social media and this globalized world needs skilled people to be able to solve the challenges of today and the future.

The study of International Relations encompasses the fields of History, Political Science, Economics, Sociology, Finance, Language, among others. In the diverse range of International Relations courses, a master’s degree program is the most popular one though universities also offer bachelor’s degree programs. Further, a significant number of graduates are also showing interest in pursuing advanced research in the budding fields of International Relations like Human Rights, Refugee and Immigration, Nationalism, etc. 

Benefits of Studying International Relations

  • Develop key transferable skills- Studying international relations helps you develop key transferable skills that will help you for a lifetime. These skills help you no matter what you do in your life, they will help you succeed in your life one way or the other. Some key skills that international studies help you develop are- organising and analyzing data to gain insights, public and written communication skills, closing, handling different kinds of conflicts and reaching mutual agreements.
  • Solve contemporary global issues- A degree in international relations will allow you to work with private and public institutions, local governments and NGOs to solve global issues. The world is sure facing many challenges right now on a global level in terms of poverty, inequality, hunger and studying international relations will give you a chance to do something worthwhile in your career and become a part of improving people’s lives and changing their environment.
  • Lucrative career opportunities- Due to the globalised development that is happening in this world, international relations jobs are in high demand. Companies are trying to expand their business in new markets and the economy and everyone needs an international relationship person for that and just like this, there are a lot of lucrative career opportunities after studying international relations.
  • Gain real-world experience- If you are looking for gaining real-world experience, then there is no better place to start it than international relations as it will help you learn how different policies and strategies work as well as their implementation.

International Relations as a major is offered at UG, PG and Doctoral levels. Let’s understand the course curriculum better with the description given below:

Bachelor’s Degree Courses

A bachelor’s program in International Relations is a preliminary course intended to give students a thorough understanding of the basics of international affairs. Students have an option to specialize in a variety of topics such as International History, Politics, Economics, among others. Independent research is also encouraged for which the course curriculum may also include an optional subject on ‘Research Methods’.

Master’s Degree Courses

An MA in International Relations aims at giving a comprehensive understanding of the principles of International Relations. Major events of history are traced and discussed from different perspectives and in exceptional detail. Students are trained in advanced research methods as well. A research project or thesis is typically a part of the curriculum.

  • One Year Master’s Programs: Generally, a one year master’s program in International Relations is appropriate for those looking to study International Relations courses after a few years of work experience in the industry. Additionally, some students who already have a master’s degree but would like to pursue a career in International Relations can also go for a one year master’s program.
  • Two Year Master’s Programs: The two-year program is more expansive and geared towards providing a thorough and in-depth understanding of the field of International Relations. Young students from India and China generally opt for this option.

Doctoral Degree Courses

For those who want to pursue research in International Relations, a doctoral degree is a perfect choice. Starting from PhD and postdoctoral opportunities, research in International Relations has seen a sizable jump. In addition to that, apart from universities which account for a large portion of this boost, think tanks and research organisations are also encouraging students to venture into research.

Key Subjects in International Relations Courses

During an International Relations program, a range of cross-disciplinary topics is taught. Students are required to know major themes in the field of Humanities before they can specialize in a particular topic. By and large, the topics summarized below are conventionally covered during the duration of the course:

  • International History – Study of Global History carries enormous importance in International Relations courses. The World Wars, Spanish Civil War, US-Vietnam War, Nazi Germany, Indian Independence Struggle and other events are imperative for the study of International Relations. Professors aim to provide students with the background and settings over which the major historical events unfolded and their consequences as well.
  • International Relations Theories – Many theories are helpful in order to understand and interpret the events of history. Each school of thought like classical, modern, liberal, etc explains the nature and turn of global events through its different methods and students are expected to be well-versed in the basic concepts of all such theories.
  • Foreign Policy – In this subject, foreign policies of different countries throughout history are extensively discussed. Students are taught to analyse the inherent motive behind every policy move and what it means in the larger scheme of things. 
  • International Law – Countries abide by International Law that exists outside their domestic borders. Topics covered in this subject are International Immigration and Refugee Crisis, Intellectual Property, Maritime Law and Defence Studies. In the coming years, International Relations courses may also incorporate Space Law in their curriculum.
  • Trans-National Institutions – Examples of transnational organisations include but are not limited to the United Nations and its constituents, International Criminal Court and the European Union. Their history, work and jurisdiction are discussed in this subject.

Some other subjects covered in the International Relations Courses are:

Eligibility Criteria

  • The candidate must have passed class 12th from a recognized board with a minimum aggregate of 50%.
  • The candidate must have completed their bachelor degree or any equivalent degree with at least 60% in their final examinations (for postgraduate courses)
  • If you plan to study abroad, you will have to submit scores of English proficiency exams such as IELTS/TOEFL /PTE along with a Statement of Purpose and Letter of Recommendation.
  • Resume/CV
  • Clear the relevant entrance exam.

Skills Required

Following are the skills required by students who wish to pursue a career in International Relations:

General Awareness Economic Background
Communication Skills Practical
Logical Rational
Innovative Patient
Understanding Observant

Major Universities Offering International Relations Courses

Enrollments for International Relations courses have significantly grown in the past few decades. Students from a diverse set of fields are choosing to venture into this field. Some of the established and upcoming institutions that offer international relations courses are mentioned below:

University Times Higher Education Rankings 2020 for International Relations
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, US #1
University of Oxford, UK #2
Harvard University, US #3
Stanford University, US #4
University of Cambridge, UK #5
Princeton University, US #6
The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), UK #7
Yale University, US #8
The University of MichiganAnn Arbor, US #9
University of Chicago, US #10

Which Country is Best for International Relations Courses and Why?

The USA is one of the best countries to study international relations courses. There are some other countries as well which are considered to be best for studying international relations-

Also Read: Masters in International Relations in USA

Career Opportunities

As mentioned above, the international relations field provides a lot of lucrative career opportunities. Here is a brief about some of the career opportunities you can look for after completing your international relations degree course-

Diplomat – Diplomats work on repairing relationships between different countries  and help them create lasting bonds in order to shape the foreign policy. They are involved in negotiations in order to look out for the interest of their nation on all fronts including economic, political, social or cultural. An average entry-level diplomat earns around Rs 7,00,000 p.a and with experience, this number goes up too.

Foreign Affairs Analyst – Foreign affairs analysts have expertise in one or more areas of international relations and they use this expertise to perform research that may have an impact on policies and positions of governments, MNCs and humanitarian organizations worldwide. They help private organizations formulate their policies so that it matches with what’s going around the world. A foreign affairs analyst can earn from INR 5,00,000- INR 7,00,000 at an entry-level job.

International Lawyer –  An international lawyer is an attorney who fights and clears international disputes in the International Court of Justice. The disputes may be political, social or business and usually international lawyers like to specialize in a certain field. They are also involved in solving disputes between nations in the international court and this clearly tells about the serious nature of the job. An average international lawyer earns around INR 12,00,000 p.a.

Demographer – Demographers are population specialists who study the makeup, distribution and trends of the population. Their job also involves making observations about the causes and effects of population changes by conducting research surveys and studying the trend of population changes. As a demographer, you will also have the opportunity of working with several government organizations as well. Average salary of a demographer ranges between INR 5,00,000- INR 6,00,000 p.a.

Market Research Analyst – A market research analyst works on collecting data from different sources and making reasonable assumptions about evaluating the data. They evaluate the data in order to identify changes or forecast trends. They generally specialize in either quantitative or qualitative research and can be hired by both private as well as public organizations. An entry level job for a market research analyst can range from INR 4,00,000- INR 6,00,000 p.a.

A career in International Relations can be especially rewarding for those who see their future in the study and research of International affairs. You can choose from a wide range of courses that are mentioned, if you are confused about whether this course is the right fit for you, don’t worry. Experts at Leverage Edu can assist you in coming to an informed decision, keeping in mind your strengths and aspirations.

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    1. Hi Richard,
      You can definitely pursue your PhD program after your MBA degree but you can’t pursue a doctoral degree (PhD) along with your master’s degree (MBA). Here are a few interesting reads that will help you know more about PhD:

    1. Hi Richard,
      You can definitely pursue your PhD program after your MBA degree but you can’t pursue a doctoral degree (PhD) along with your master’s degree (MBA). Here are a few interesting reads that will help you know more about PhD:

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