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What Is International Relations - and Should You Major In It?

Oct 10, 2012 Jennifer Williamson, Distance Columnist | 0 Comments

International Relations is the study of relationships between different countries—and international and national bodies such as inter-governmental organizations, international nongovernmental organizations, and global corporations. The field is usually either focused on academics or public policy. However, an international relations degree can be useful in a variety of fields, including business and global nonprofits.

The field of international relations can encompass numerous different fields of study, including international law, history, economics, anthropology, psychology, social work, and sociology—just to name a few. It’s also an ancient field—with studies in what translates into this area occurring as far back as Ancient Greece. However, what evolved into the modern field of international relations can probably be said to have begun around the 15th century, during the Age of Exploration—when the first multinational companies began to emerge and governments began negotiating trade agreements on a larger scale. 

An International Relations degree could lead to one of a variety of
careers—including diplomat, journalist, foreign services officer,
international sales specialist, or archivist. And there are many
International Relations degrees to get you there. Here are just a few.

International Flags

If you’re interested in International Relations, the most traditional career path is either government- or nonprofit-related.





Online Bachelor of Arts in International Relations and Diplomacy

This degree program focuses on diplomacy and human rights—and is ideal for those looking to work for the federal government in a foreign service or diplomacy capacity.

Online Master of Arts in Diplomacy

This degree program provides classes in international law, world economy, managing and resolving international conflict, terrorism, and post-war nation-building. As with the degree above, it’s primarily designed for those interested in getting into foreign relations from a government or diplomacy perspective.  Like most Masters programs, it requires a Bachelor’s degree.

Online Master of Business Administration: International Management

This degree program is focused on the business aspect of International Relations—and is ideal for anyone looking to get into an internationally-focused position within a corporation. Like many MBA degrees, it’s designed for those interested in securing mid- or upper-level management positions. Class topics include global management methods, international marketing and finance, cross-cultural consumer analysis, legal compliance and ethics. It requires a Bachelor’s degree.

Online Graduate Certificate in Advanced International Affairs

This program is designed for those who want a graduate-level credential in International Affairs without investing the time or money required for a Masters-level degree. It’s ideal for those looking for a position in International Affairs and who want to focus their education credentials in that area—or those already working in the field who are looking to advance their careers.

Online Masters of International Management

This degree program is designed specifically for people who have Bachelor’s degrees in non-business fields and who want to transition to an international management position. Topics covered during the course of study include business administration, management and marketing, international and cross-cultural communications, economics, and business law. It’s a business-focused degree designed to help students move into management-level positions within corporations or organizations involved in international business. It requires a Bachelor’s degree.

If you’re interested in International Relations, the most traditional career path is either government- or nonprofit-related. The field is traditionally focused on the relationships between governments and international entities, and usually leads to careers in diplomacy or international relations in a government or nonprofit context—as well as academic and policy positions. However, the term has also come to be used to refer to international management positions within business, as well. Whether you’re interested in the field from a policy, research, diplomatic, or business perspective, there’s a degree program out there that will likely help you get the education you need.




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