International Relations and Affairs

International relations is the study of the global community, with diplomacy and foreign policy the prized players. International relations is all about international cooperation; employed within the government, at nonprofits, private enterprises, and businesses, graduates from this area of study influence everything from foreign investment to national security. This major is available at the baccalaureate, master, and doctoral levels, and is sometimes called “international studies” or “international affairs.”

Baccalaureate

Earning a bachelor’s degree in International Relations typically takes four years.  The curriculum will focus on political science, geography, economics, and history, while some institutions also offer concentration options, such as globalization, environmental politics, conflict resolution and mediation, or comparative cultures.  Some programs require a study abroad experience be completed to qualify for graduation.

Minoring in a foreign language isn’t required, but becoming competent in a second language is required for certain positions in international relations, such as becoming a Foreign Service Officer.

Career paths for graduates with a baccalaureate in international relations include:  Diplomat, Intelligence Specialist, Political Analyst, Lobbyist, Communications Specialist. The average salary is $59,000.

Master Level

A Master’s in International Affairs, or MIA, is more than a degree with an amusing abbreviation. Programs typically take between 1 and 2 years and delve more deeply into a specific area of international affairs, such as NGO Management or Counter-Terrorism. Research and fieldwork are critical experiences that most organizations require of their international affairs graduates, and master’s programs are well-known for focusing in both. Earning an MIA can open up higher level positions and opportunities, but it’s not always required for positions in this area of study.

There are some highly specialized programs available for IR students who know exactly what area they want to be in. Technically, these degrees are Master’s in Science (MSc), but their focus is international relations, just without directly stating it. Options including an MSc in Terrorism and Political Science; an MSc in Migration, Ethnic Relations, and Multiculturalism; and an MSc in Cultural Policy, plus many more, are available.

Doctorate Level

As with most PhDs, doctoral degrees are typically reserved for life in academia. There’s some debate over whether a PhD in International Relations offers a leg up in governmental and research positions, but the jury’s out. Programs typically take between four and seven years to complete and the entire area of study, program acceptance to job market, is incredibly competitive.

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Colleges

“…Harvard is a place of innovation and discovery. It is a community of scholars, who are very intelligent, ambitious, and collaborative. The most distinctive feature of Harvard is the vibrant energy that characterizes its student body, and that drives...” – CLAUDIA from CAMBRIDGE, MA

“…by far the most diverse, relaxed campus full of happy, friendly students of all ages. clean, green and exuding student pride everywhere you go. the best choice anyone could ever make!” – Dahlton from Jackson, CA

“…Penn State was a large beautiful school. It offered many different fields for students to choose to major in. There were many activities to do, organizations to join, and people to meet.” – Michelle

“…The University of Florida is a great college to attend because it provides a very diverse environment- which includes diversity within the students, professors, and employees, and diversity within the studies. It is a beautiful university with...” – Melissa from Silver Springs, FL

“…Yale offers everything that I wanted in a school. It has a beautiful campus, wonderful faculty and incredible residential college system. The students here are super motivated and driven, but the atmosphere isn't competitive so even though you are...” – MK

“…The University of Chicago is known more for its academic rigor and all-encompassing intellectualism than its campus life or party scene. This is far from true, however! If you're looking for hard-hitting academics, a picture-perfect campus, top-notch...” – Chris from Houston, TX

“…Columbia University is extremely challenging and therefore extremely rewarding. It does not allow you room to be average or mediocre because it encourages excellence. CU will show you what you are made of.” – Krizia from Fort Bragg, NC

“…Duke's a diverse school with students of all sorts of races and backgrounds. The education is vigorous, so you'll get out whatever you put in. There are hundreds of student groups, academic opportunities and living environments to choose from, so...” – Elisabeth from Durham, NC

“…My school is big on traditions and is overall a very friendly campus. The professors are willing to help you one on one to help you get the grade you need and deserve. I rate my school a 10 from 1-10 because its a very big happy family who look out...” – Amanda from Houston, TX

“…it is a great school because of the atmosphere, teachers, and everything that has to do with austin. it is at an awesome location. i feel welcomed and happily plan to live and get a job here.” – Emile from Dallas, TX

“…Boston University is an elite university that is constantly improving. It is a very expensive college but has a lot of resources for its students. Students who wish to attend should be somewhat independent and not afraid to take full advantage of the...” – Daniel from Staten Island, NY

“…new york university is an academically strenuous and challenging school in the heart of downtown new york city. the campus is new york city, with lots of grand old buildings, mainly centered around washington square park. each of their programs are...” – Isabella from Los Angeles, CA

“…USC is the place for opportunities. You are not only paying for a great education, but also connections and resume builders that will help you get where you want in life. USC is a school for leaders and overachievers. ” – Madison from Los Angeles, CA

“…brown is awesome because it is very challenging and definitely a rigorous education, but students generally work together as opposed to competing against each other. the spirit on campus is one of acceptance of everything and everyone and anyone can...” – Danielle from North Potomac, MD

“…The University of Washington is a challenging school that blossoms independence and creativity. The majority of all faculty members are enthusiastic about the subject they teach, and are willing to assist all students. This school provides excellent...” – Ronald from Honolulu, HI

“…Penn students are defined by their passion, even if it is undefined upon entering freshman year. Classes are so difficult that you have to experience them to understand, but the sense of accomplishment that comes with mastery over them is liberating...” – Josh from Dayville, CT

“…michigan state had everything i was looking for in a university-challenging classes, all types of students, and a beautiful location to call home. as an undecided freshman, i appreciated the wide variety of available classes and majors. the 500+...” – Rachel from Ann Arbor, MI

“…Northwestern is a great school, blending first class academics and Big 10 sports in a way that typically isn't seen among comparable universities. Students are bright and are typically highly motivated, passionate, and active in leadership roles....” – Kayla from Camdenton, MO

“…Ohio State is it's own small world. Once you get involved, which is a must, you cannot walk across campus without seeing someone you know. From academics to sports, Ohio State is an excellent school with long standing tradition. ” – Amarilis from Newbury, OH

“…The Campus is basically a miniature city within Syracuse. There are always activities to attend and ways to get involved. The classes are tough, but very rewarding if you put in the effort.” – Catherine from North Sutton, NH

“…UC Davis is a beautiful campus, with endless opportunities in all areas of interest. There are many research and academic internships, as well as being well-rounded with sport, music, and art opportunities. Every student can find clubs and academic...” – Kaitlyn from San Jose, CA

“…UGA offers an ivy league education, for a public school price. Situated in Athens, GA: ranked the #1 College Town that Rocks by Rolling Stones magazine in 2007 and one of 29 Must Visit places by LA Times magazine in 2009, there are plenty of things...” – Darien from Senoia, GA

“…Overall, Georgia Tech is a fantastic school with millions of opportunities. The classes tend to be difficult, but that should not deter anyone from going to Tech. Although the going will be rough, Tech will only serve to open the doors to new...” – David from Broward County, FL

“…Florida State University is an all-around excellent school and has provided me with a positive educational experience. Florida State also has a beautiful campus with many traditions that create an inclusive environment including the famous mascots...” – Alix from Oconomowoc, WI

“…The ambient and city surrounding UM contribute a completely unique cultural experience the likes of which are cannot be found any where else in the world. The academic environment is lackluster, and those seeking a truly rigorous scholastic...” – BME from Miami, FL

“…San Diego State University provides an amazing academic experience for all students who enroll here. There is always something happening on campus no matter what time of day. The environment is so welcoming, and everyone you meet is so nice and...” – Anonymous

“…Georgetown is the definition of a melting pot because it brings students from all over the world to one place; to build long lasting friendships while striving to make their aspirations a reality. Everyone is accepting, friendly, and willing to help...” – Michelyne from San Bernardino, CA

“…indiana university has the most beautiful campus in all of indiana and is surprisingly very easy to get around despite how large it is. the students and professors are great and really easy to get along with, and are always willing to help out in any...” – Kyle from Merrillville, IN

“…The atmosphere of Baylor is very relaxing. The people on campus are really friendly. It is easy to make friends on a campus this size.” – Chalice from Pflugerville, TX

“…wsu is the perfect school for me. the academics are great, but the best part is the atmosphere of the town and the university. it is the perfect college in the perfect little college town!” – Megan from Sparks, NV

“…Northeastern is an urban university that still has a campus. The focus of the program are the co-op jobs that most students take three times throughout their five years at school. The focus is on career-track majors like engineering, pharmacy and...” – Catherine from Beverly Hills, MI

“…Central Michigan University has the best professors for the Recreation Department! Everyone here is a family and the people really do care about your well being and future. This college has made me a better person through it's programs.” – Jelina from Mt. Pleasant, MI

“…It's great! Take a bike though cause they seem useful. Have fun.” – Edwin from Cape Coral, FL

“…I transferred to OU from Marietta College and I believe it was one of the best decisions I've made in my life. I had much anxiety being a minority student on a campus with about 30,000 students but OU offers so many organizations that cater to the...” – Proud Bobkitty

“…Settled in the middle of Pittsburgh, students learn in one of the best, most interesting, and understated cities in the country. Pitt has it all with beautiful academic buildings, an abundance of interesting classes, and sports teams unifying the...” – Debra from Harrington Park, NJ

“…uva is a great school with lots of history, traditions and spirit. life on grounds is rigorous but engaging. the area surrounding charlottesville is very nice.” – Sidney from Charlottesville, VA

“…texas state is a picturesque school full of life, diverse, with a river that runs through it, and also full of people that are willing to help you on anything from personal problems, to math homework. ” – Genesis from Houston, TX

“…Johns Hopkins University is an esteemed research university where students are pushed and challenged to achieve their potential and then surpass it. It's not a place where students come to have fun but a place where leaders, innovators, researchers,...” – Chidera from Philadelphia, PA

“…The campus is beautiful and not too spread out. All of my classes have been wonderful thus far, and really are shaped to my interests. There are so many study enhancements in this community to make sure that students do succeed. ” – Taelor from Columbia, SC

“…Virginia Tech is a beautiful place full a good people and food. The community is very welcoming and engaging to students. There is a wide variety of courses and you will always find something to do that you like.” – Delaney

“…liberty is an absolutely fantastic school due to its involved staff, passionate students, and overall christian experience. as a christian school it carries certain stigmas, but i have found that despite the rules that are just there to protect us,...” – Jacquelyn from Crozet, VA

“…Emory is surprisingly the perfect grounds for culturing new ideas. Even though it doesn't have a football team, Emory is still high in spirit and makes up for it in swimming and soccer. Above all, Emory is the perfect combination of nature-esque...” – Sindhu from GA

“…U of Iowa is an institution that invites young minds to grow and develop with the help of highly educated leaders. Family values are important within the administration and add value to the environment within the grounds of the university. Service is...” – Eric from Pingrey Grove, IL

“…Rice is outstanding in all areas of college life, from academics, to partying, right down to the weather. I was a little hesitant to leave New York for Texas and pay a little bit more than my other college options, but honestly Rice was worth the...” – Janet from Carmel, NY

“…i very much love this school. the academics are amazing since the staff is so willing to help students with any problems or questions. the school offers many opportunities for students to go beyond their comfort zones to experience new things as they...” – Marcela from Northridge, CA

“…this school offers a diverse curriculum. studying abroad is heavily encouraged, and mandatory for multiple majors. the professors want you to succeed, you need only ask!” – Scott from San Diego, CA

“…George Mason University is very diverse. The classes and professors are also very helpful in class and throughout the application process. The school is also very, very welcoming and makes you have a sense of belonging. ” – LISA from Falls Church, VA

“…my school, although huge, makes you feel like your at a small school with professors who actually care for your academics; my school works very hard to make sure that we the students are getting the help we need no matter what subject in school or...” – Anujin from Elk Grove Village, IL

“…By far the most diverse private school I've ever encountered, I love it. Staff is always easily approachable! Extremely worth every cent I pay. ” – Cynthia from Chicago, IL

“…University of Denver is an AWESOME school! The small and focused class sizes allow students to get a wonderful education and the professors truly care about the students well being. It also offers a wonderful social life with sororities/fraternities,...” – Tara from Highlands Ranch, CO

“…George Washington is the only place I'd want to be. There's no other college in the world that is just a few steps from the White House and the Lincoln Memorial. GW is a large school, with a diverse student body who all come together for fun events...” – Meredith from Marlton, NJ

“…This campus is small enough to get to your classes in a reasonable time, but still big to find fun things to do. They have great places to eat with lots of variety. The people are all really friendly.” – Alex from Cincinnati, OH

“…james madison university is located in one of the most beautiful places i have ever seen. the scenery is amazing and the school itself has a great campus. every one who comes here is extremely friendly, including the professors. ” – Jeanne from Chantilly, VA

“…utsa has a diverse student population, a wide range of student services (including an excellent gym facility, complete with cooking courses, personal trainers, and rock-climbing wall), and a rapidly growing academic program with professors from all...” – Catherine from Helotes, TX

“…unique. rigorous. rewarding.” – Pre-med from Portland, OR

“…this university is great for social service and catering to our community. the majors are designed to provide a liberal arts education, while preparing students for the real world. there is great diversity on campus, and opportunities to join clubs...” – nalini from Glendale, CA

“…NC State is a large school with a small school feel. You can walk around campus and always see a familiar face. There are always new people to meet as well. ” – Shayna from Germantown, MD

“…Fordham University is a family with open arms waiting for you to walk in. Once you enter into the family, you are embraced and encouraged to tap into all of the family's resources. These resources WILL help your intellectual, moral and...” – Constantine from Randolph, NJ

“…I have had a great time during my four years at AU. Not only did I receive an excellent in-class education, but I was able to supplement this part of my education with an internship every semester. In addition, the study abroad program that I did was...” – Kaitlyn from Frankenmuth, MI

“…fiu is a great school for anyone who is looking for a diverse group of students and a great education. teachers will always have office hours open to help you whenever you need it and they truly encourage you to come ask them for help. fiu also makes...” – Vlera from Washington, DC

“…Brigham young stands as a precedent for student education. It is a pinnacle of cleanliness of word and of character. It is a school like no other with the honor code as a standing tradition to be upheld by the students and the faculty. ” – Kaitlyn from Riverton, UT

“…iupui is has a great educational atmosphere that goes out of its way to teach its students valuable life experience. iupui is a university that teaches its students to try to make impact on its community by doing various volunteer activities. the...” – Arnesha from Jeffersonville, IN

“…University of Delaware is amazing, it instantly became home to me. Residence living is fun and offers a lot, professors are approachable and easy to understand, and the campus is a perfect size. I love the look of the campus also, the long greens and...” – Tara from Mount Laurel, NJ

“…I don't know what I love more, this school or this city! You get to experience New Orleans, but live in the nicer area! I really feel as though I am receiving a first-rate education!” – Alyssa from Clermont, FL

“…university of california riverside is an exceptional higher education institution that dedicates itself to providing quality education. the university is among the most diverse schools in the nation which makes it unique. there are multiple...” – Denise from Riverside, CA

“…tufts is a phenomenal research university. it's a great community made up of interesting and friendly students and professors, and it's welcoming to students with every academic interest imaginable. you'll like it here.” – Thomas from Braintree, MA

“…Carnegie Mellon University is a strong university for anyone interested in modern technology and the changing world. The people here are enterprising and ambitious, and you will be sure to find yourself in inspiring companionship. For someone who...” – Sanjana from San Jose, CA

“…Small classrooms and good teachers.” – Garrett from Portland, OR

“…This is a really fantastic school, although it's a tad expensive. Teachers are all very qualified and challenge you to independently work, and think(however they are more than happy to help). ” – Nicholas from Palm Coast, FL

“…Miami University is a great mid-sized university for academics and social life. There are various organizations students can join and activities provided by the school to participate in. Big companies are always here recruiting, so there are many...” – Randy from Oxford, OH

“…The United States Military Academy at West Point is a great place to be if you like to have a structured and regimented way of life. You will be kept busy and will value the very little truly free time you get, but the friends you make here will last...” – Andrew from Columbus, GA

“…Madison is probably one of the most diverse colleges in the state of Wisconsin. Here, I have met a variety of people from all sorts of different backgrounds and have been introduced to a multitude of experiences. All in all, there's no place like...” – Amber from Greenleaf, WI

“…San Jose State University is a beautiful campus where a person could just sit and hang out with their friends or go downtown where all other students are studying or just talking. SJSU provides a variety of activities including sororities...” – Kaela from Fairfield, CA

“…This is a fabulous extended campus in Prescott Valley, Arizona. The class sizes are small. I feel like I matter at this college.” – AW Prescott, AZ

“…You can tell that (most) teachers really care about their students, and have been doing their best to be there despite all of the drastic budget cuts. It has impacted the availability of services, which is disappointing; but you can see where the...” – Liz from Daly City, CA

“…I loved being an asset at Towson University, because college has provided me with a well-rounded education on integrity and artistic sensibilities. My college curriculum provided me with complementary skills to use after graduating, as well as...” – Nicole from Baltimore, MD

“…Mercer University is a great college for students who want academic rigor, professors who know their names, and a place to meet all kinds of people.” – Kelsy from Tifton, GA

“…Butler has a very welcoming environment. There are a wide varieties of majors and therefore diversity. I made the right choice in attending Butler. ” – Meredith from Lexington, KY

“…marshall university's campus is small enough to engage with your professors, yet large enough to meet all standards of diversity. its quaint charm also matches its southern hospitality. from the classroom to sporting events roaring with thundering...” – Bria from Beckley, WV

“…i am a transfer to this college and i have to say that it is amazing. hunter college has hundreds of courses you can choose from, a nice environment, wonderful people and everyone is extremely helpful.i would recommend anyone to attend this school” – Aisha from Bronx, NY

“…This university has a diverse, smart, and eclectic student body. The classes never fail to impress me, and neither does the sheer beauty of the campus.” – Molly from Fort Smith, AR

“…Unique. Awesome. Fruitful.” – Folasayo from Baltimore, MD

University of Richmond
University Of Richmond, VA

“…The University of Richmond has a large suburban campus right in the middle of the active and corky city of Richmond. The classes are small, engaging, and fun! The social atmosphere, while not for everyone, is low key and student organizations are...” – Kylie from Perkasie, PA

“…Lehigh University is a REALLY great school. Although the courses are more rigorous than I expected, they are do-able and serve as great character builders. It provides a friendly environment, overall, and, as it has made me happy, I'm sure it will...” – Benjamin from Phillipsburg, NJ

“…Colgate will give you four of the best years of your life. More importantly, however, it will set you up to have a successful career in any field which you wish to enter. Nobody wants to leave Colgate, but when they do, they are as prepared as...” – Brian from Penfield, NY

“…Marquette is a place where you can be challenged academically but still enjoy your classes.The topics, even the ones required in the Core of Common Studies, are interesting and will definitely help you in the future. The professors not only teach you...” – Nicole from Burbank, IL

“…Chapman is a small school with lots of friendly familiar faces. Chapman has great enthusiastic professors that are very personable. Chapman is really a school that is all about you. ” – so you cant stalk me on facebook

“…overall, elon university is a great school in which you will obtain all the resources you need to succeed. from the impeccable environment, rigorous classes, clubs/organizations and people on campus, elon always exemplifies excellence and the belief...” – Brian from Burlington, NC

“…Washington University is an incredible school that fosters individual scholastic as well as personal growth. The student body and faculty are diverse an open-minded. Also, the location is ideal due to its proximity to the business opportunities in...” – Nelson from Homewood, IL

“…Great school to grasp a life learning experience.” – Andrea from Plainfield, NJ

“…Kent State University is way too often grossly stereotyped and given the reputation of having low standards. I have found my programs and the staff that I have worked with to be highly qualified. The atmosphere and diversity of the campus truly...” – Robert from Strongsville, OH

“…High Point is a very clean, organized, and up-and-coming school in North Carolina. It is a four-year university, although it is working on expanding currently and creating new masters degree programs as well. It has a generally friendly atmosphere...” – Caitlin from Daleville, VA

“…Bucknell is where the students work hard and play hard. Greek life and athletics are huge. It is a beautiful place to live and get your degree.” – Bridget from Milford, CT

“…Loyola is a University that is willing to go above and beyond for their students. Administrative faculty and Professors are prepared to help elevate a students skills for their choice of job opportunity. Loyola will give you the confidence you need...” – Zoe from Chicago, IL

“…eastern is a fun, friendly school. all the professors are nice and really good at helping you retain the most knowledge possible. your fellow students are welcoming and willing to help all you have to do is ask.” – Stephanie from Ypsilanti, MI

“…I feel the school is well rounded, has many majors to look into and a very supportive teaching staff.” – Mason from Berlin, CT

“…It is a good school. Its nontraditional and I like that. Very laid back.” – Brittany from Millbrook, AL

“…old dominion university is an extremely diverse college. you have the opportunity to be involved in over 200 different organizations. old dominion university you give you the greatest college experience you have ever experienced in your entire life.” – Daisha from Ruther Glen, VA

“…kansas state university is an all around great university weither it be their sports team or academics. this university has such a welcoming atmosphere. manhattan and kansas state have a small town feel but in a bigger college experience.” – Student from Manhattan, KS

“…LMU has a beautiful campus with lots of potential for student involvement in clubs, sororities or fraternities while maintaining high academic standards. It is a jesuit school, but there is no mandatory religious involvement.” – Kyana from Los Angeles, CA