International Relations

A Masters in International Relations will show you the significance of international actions, the repercussions that may follow, and will teach you how to respond in such scenarios.


International Relations has traditionally been – and still often is – a subset of political science studies. Good analytical and critical thinking skills are essential to a role in this field. You will need to absorb, analyse, and report on information from multiple sources in multiple formats. Though one need not be fluent in multiple languages or well-versed in cultural differences and similarities, these qualifications would certainly add to an applicant’s credentials. Good communication skills will be required in virtually any position in International Relations. Even if your job is in your native country, you will still have very close indirect contact with other countries, people, and cultures. You will need to interpret information to form hypotheses or draw conclusions based on data received. This means understanding the significance of international actions and reactions, the repercussions that may occur from them, and how to respond.

Course content

Typical course content for a Masters programme in International Relations will educate and prepare you for careers with governments around the world or the countless organisations that are affected by them or do business with them. These include:

  • Roles of countries in international affairs
  • Strengths and weaknesses of particular countries
  • Economic issues of trade and currency
  • Global impacts of elections and regime changes
  • Political theories like realism, nationalism, and liberalism
  • Causes and repercussions of international conflict and war
  • Diplomatic tactics and techniques
  • Governmental structures like communism, socialism, capitalism, monarchies, democracies, republics, etc.

When looking at Masters programmes in international studies at various universities, you will encounter all sorts of different nomenclature in programme names. Programmes that are strictly focused on political relations are usually named International Relations or International Affairs. Some programmes have an international theme, but a regional focus, like a Masters in European Studies. Still others focus on the international applications of a specific professional field other than political relations or diplomacy. To understand the differences in various international studies programmes, simply contact the school or university offering the degree.

Admission requirements

Admission into a university’s Masters programme in International Relations does not have any unique requirements outside of that school’s typical Masters degree application process. The application procedure for most of the programmes includes presenting a Bachelor’s degree in a relevant field or at least having covered a number of credits in particular subjects. If you are not a native English speaker, make sure to prepare your results from an English proficiency test before your application. Your test scores and your average GPA will be something that the admissions office will want to note down. A GRE General Test score is typically desired as part of the entire admission packet.

Career options

Since course content in International Relations is so rich and diverse, careers are wide-ranging as well. Depending on your specific interests, you may choose from careers in political service in your own country’s government, foreign service with organisations from your home country, foreign service with international alliances such as NATO or the UN, employment with non-governmental agencies throughout the world, or teaching or university careers both at home and abroad.

The nations of the world in which we live are increasingly interdependent. Information travels nearly instantaneously around the globe. With so many interconnected relationships among businesses, governments, non-profit organisations, media, and civilians, the field of international relations is complex, but extremely vital. It requires experts to skilfully negotiate the turbid waters that can exist around the world. Even in circumstances of peace and prosperity, it is those persons highly trained and educated in international affairs that can lead the rest of the world.

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