Getting a Degree in International Relations
International Relations Degrees
If you have a desire to get to know other countries and cultures, travel abroad, and learn different languages, a degree in international relations might be for you. International relations studies the ways that nations, companies, and other entities interact on the global stage. Students will study history, economics, diplomacy, foreign languages, and political science.
Most jobs in the field of international relations will require a bachelor’s degree or higher. However, you can find some jobs with just an associate’s degree. Most students who do go for an associate’s degree in international relations use the degree as a stepping stone for a higher degree.
Associate’s Degree in International Relations
An associate’s degree in international relations will take about two years. Getting this type of degree will give students a broad introduction to the field of international relations. They will be prepared to go on and study more in the field of international relations.
In an associate’s of international relations program, you might take classes such as economics, global affairs, and world geography. Community colleges can be a great option for going to get an associate’s degree in international relations.
Jobs with an associate’s degree in International Relations
- Interpreters, who work in different settings to help translate information from one language to another, have an average salary of $39,612 according to Glassdoor.
- Travel Writers, who travel either nationally or internationally and write about their experiences, have an average salary of $55,509, according to Glassdoor.
Bachelor’s Degree in International Relations
If you want to go further within the international relations career, getting your bachelor’s degree would be a good idea. This will take four years, and you can do so online or in-person, depending on what would work best for your schedule.
Some of the classes you could take might be business behaviors, global security, or economics. You can also take the Foreign Service Officer Test (FSOT) exam which is administered by the U.S. Department of State and tests a candidate’s readiness for roles with foreign services. You would need to pass this test to find a job with the state department’s foreign service.
When looking for programs, the University of Southern California, Brown University, and Stanford University are all highly rated. For online programs, Regent University, Pennsylvania State University World Campus, and Florida International University are all highly rated.
Jobs you can get with a bachelor’s degree in International Relations
- Foreign Service Officers, who represent the government of the US, in countries around the world and work as diplomats in places such as embassies, consulates, and other places, have an average salary of $91,672, according to Payscale.
- Political Analysts, who study how political systems originate, develop, and operate, have an average salary of $74,004, according to Glassdoor.
- Non-Profit Program Managers, who oversee projects of a non-profit organization to help the non-profit hit its goals, have an average salary of $59,840, according to Payscale.
Master’s Degree in International Relations
If you want to go further along the international relations career path, you should go on to get your master’s degree in international relations. Most programs will take around two years and you should be able to find either an in-person or online program.
In a master’s of international relations program, you might take classes such as diplomatic practice, intelligence, war and weapons, and international relations. This will depend on your concentration.
When looking for programs, Georgetown University, Johns Hopkins University, and Tufts University are all highly rated. For online programs, Northeastern University, American University, and Troy University are all highly rated.
Jobs you can get with a master’s degree in International Relations
- Diplomats, who are appointed by a state or an intergovernmental institution such as the United Nations, have an average salary of $84,500, according to Payscale.
- Lobbyists, who are professional advocates who work to influence political decisions on behalf of individuals and organizations, have an average salary of $116,800 according to Salary.com.
- International Trade Specialists, who are responsible for coordinating credit and financial activities for import/export operations, have an average salary of $79,461 according to Salary.com.
Doctorate in International Relations
There is also the option to continue on past a master’s degree and go for your Ph.D. Ph.D. programs will take at least two or three years. Students go on to get their Ph.D. in International Relations in order to go into academia or to find a top research position. Harvard University, Princeton University, and Stanford University all have highly rated programs.
- Political Science
- International Studies
- International Business
- Foreign Languages
International Relations Scholarships
Getting your degree in international relations means you can apply for certain scholarships for international relations or similar majors. Here are a couple of them:
Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program
This scholarship is to enable students of limited financial means to study or intern abroad. It is open to US citizen undergraduate students who are receiving Federal Pell Grant funding at a two-year or four-year college or university and allows them to participate in study and intern abroad programs worldwide. For more info, please go here.
The Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) Program
This program is a summer study abroad program for American college and university students to learn languages. It is open to students of diverse disciplines and majors. They allow for 15 different languages which are: Arabic, Azerbaijani, Bangla, Chinese, Hindi, Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, Persian, Portuguese, Punjabi, Russian, Swahili, Turkish, and Urdu. The program is from the U.S. Department of State. Students must be enrolled in an accredited U.S. degree-granting program at the undergraduate or graduate level, be at least 18 years old by May 15, 2022, and if an undergrad, will need to have completed at least one full year of study. For more info, please go here.
Finally, although not a traditional scholarship, veteran students and their dependents may be able to receive financial assistance by attending a school that is part of the Yellow Ribbon Program.