Why study international relations? What kind of careers can you get?

Graduates armed with an International Relations degree generally find employment in any or all of the three major sectors – public, private or non-governmental organisations (NGOS) or Not for Profit organisations. It’s a degree that allows people weave their way in and out of any, or all, of these sectors at various points in their careers. That’s because it’s not only a versatile degree with a unique skill set but it’s also a degree high in demand right now in this hyper-connected, globalised world.


International Relations is of the field of political science so studies range from among relationships between countries, the roles of sovereign states and inter-governmental organisations, international and other non-governmental organisations as well as multinational corporations.

As the broad field covers issues from globalisation to diplomatic relations, state sovereignty, international security, ecological sustainability, nuclear proliferation, nationalism, economic development, global finance right down to terrorism, organised crime, human security, foreign interventionism to human rights, International Relations students gain a deep understanding of key topical issues in the contemporary international world.


International Relations graduates who have gained knowledge in this exciting field which crosses a wide set of disciplines gain highly transferable professional skills such as writing, researching quantitative and qualitative data as well as planning and organising projects in the course of their studies. See MIUC: https://miuc.org/academic/undergraduate/ba-international-relations/

Adding a degree programme language of English to a Spanish-speaking setting such as at MIUC – and with various other language courses on offer (French, Arabic, Russian etc) – these increase the multilingual treasure trove of the student’s native tongue. In International Relations fields polyglots with combinations of both major and minor world languages are like gold dust. The cultural and networking skills acquired from studying in such a rich educational milieu inextricably adds vital soft skills to academic hard skills that aid long-term career progression.



Top 10 jobs for International Relations graduates:

1. Top-level Civil Servants

Every country has its own civil service structure and graduates with International Relations degrees can enter their national service at a suitable grade and apply their talents on their home stage in key departments that aid the country’s administration. Their International Relations degree will help them work with the various players vying to lobby for their sector from the national government’s policymaking decision-makers.

2. Political Affairs Officer

Some of the most prestigious international roles on the list has to be obtaining a position at the United Nations working for the department of Political Affairs. Political Affairs Officers are dedicated to helping nations resolve conflicts peacefully and avoid war and human suffering. Officers mastermind and promote peaceful political solutions to conflict and encourage diplomacy between nations.

3. Diplomats in national Foreign Service

Most diplomats join their foreign service at an appropriate career level until they are promoted to represent their country at one of its embassies or consulates in any part of the globe from the Americas to Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Europe or Australia/Oceania. Their International Relations education helps as they protect and defend their government’s policies while promoting friendly bilateral relations.

4. International Banking Officers

Whether as an international banker, an investment or corporate financier or any other role advising corporate or governmental clients on the raising of capital, the changing of financial structures, mergers and acquisitions or developing financial strategies there are a variety of interesting roles for graduates in the banking world. These roles are some of the highest-ranking positions that can be gained by International Relations graduates. This field can lead to working for global establishments such as the World Bank or the International Monetary Fund.

5. Risk Analysts

The job of a risk analyst is varied and interesting. Analysts research, report and analyse data and information regarding any potential risk threatening the assets, earning capacity or success of organisations in the industrial, commercial or public sector. Work as an analyst can lead to overseas travel opportunities as they are often expected to research different cultures and customs.

6. Marketing Managers

Marketing and Communications roles in a globalised business world can mean overseeing the marketing plan for a product from the research and development phase through a launch and onto maintaining market share, including promotions, public relations and advertising functions in a globalised workforce. Marketing roles are still some of the world’s most highly paid functions in organisations and rely on creative and versatile people at the top.

7. International Military Affairs

International Relations students can find challenging roles by joining their armed forces as an International Affairs officer. A military career offers graduates the chance to play a significant role in the execution of their national foreign policy. In most countries careers in the relevant armed forces offer structured career paths allowing for growth and progression. These can also lead to international postings and roles as governmental or international organisations advisors.

8. Economists

Economists are employed by any number of businesses and all kinds of organisations to predict trends in an unpredictable business world and to articulate and advocate the organisation’s updated economic policies where necessary. There are quite a lot of job openings for newly qualified graduates in economic posts as national and international bodies move to an evidence-based system of defining and implementing work priorities.

9. Research Consultants

Consultants conduct specialised investigations or studies, write reports based on their findings, present quantitative and qualitative outcomes and making recommendations based on their area of expertise. There are a number of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and independent voluntary sector organisations with international affair roles that have openings for research consultants with International Relations degrees and flair.

10. Journalists, Public Relations or Media Consultants

You can work for an NGO, a national government press office or a multilateral organisation. Graduates in International Relations with their wide knowledge of the links between local, national and international structures as well as of the mechanisms of global governance often opt for roles as specialised journalists in major news organisations or media and communications commentators and public relations experts in high-level roles.

International Relations Jobs Looksharp

Really, the world is your oyster. As the study of International Relations draws from interdisciplinary fields all career paths and job openings will depend on whatever specialisation at undergraduate or post-graduate level each student has. Take a look at some of the up-to-date jobs sites out there today from internships to paid work!

Author: Mary O’Carroll