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What jobs can I get with an international relations degree?

#international-affairs #political-science #polisci

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Veena’s Answer

I agree with Paul's advice above. I pursued International Relations for my undergraduate and graduate studies and have had many of the career experiences listed: from interning and working at international organizations, the US federal government, nonprofit organizations, and the private sector -- and these have been in the US and abroad.

International Relations can provide many career pathways -- and one way to assess which path to follow is to reflect on your interests and "test" out if certain organizations or types of roles are right for you through internships.

A few resources that could be useful include:

https://ir.cas.lehigh.edu/content/careers-international-affairs

https://sais.jhu.edu/student-experience/career-services/internship-opportunities

https://sais.jhu.edu/academics/degree-programs/master-degrees/master-arts-ma/employment-outcomes-ma
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Paul’s Answer

Hi Shea:

There are different career options that you can potentially pursue with a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations.

One would be a career in the United States Foreign Service. These positions normally involve positions overseas representing our country in staffing our various embassies and other diplomatic assignments. You would need to take the civil service exam and go through an interview process to be considered for one of these positions. But this is just one area you might consider in regards to a future career.

There could be other positions to consider with this degree. This involves positions with other federal agencies, such as the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the also jobs with the State Department.

I knew one student who went to New York, after attaining her degree in International Relations and served as an intern with the United Nations. This exposed her to a variety of cultures and government representatives from around the world, which eventually ended up in her obtaining a federal position in Washington D.C.

Individuals who have the Bachelors in International Relations also work in the private sector. Many private companies in the United States have foreign offices and do a great amount of marketing and selling in other countries around the world. Airplane corporations, like Boeing, have a large representation overseas and in other countries. Nike has a large amount of its business transactions being done in Asia. Exxon and Coca-Cola have staff and offices in Africa and in Europe. You may have to take some business courses to get a better exposure to some of the current activities of these companies in the overseas markets.

You can also examine some of the opportunities in non-profits. Many organizations hire individuals to represent them overseas, to promote their specific initiatives. Many of these are health programs. As I recall the Gates Foundation hires many people to help with their world-wide health related programs. One which is currently being introduced in China right now. So there are many opportunities in the non-profit sector.

There are also positions available in the teaching, public policy and research sectors at various schools, colleges and universities. This would most likely require higher levels of education and degrees, but there are jobs and careers here as well.

The legal field is also another option. I have met several lawyers who have attained a law degree and represented the United States or a private business corporations in legal related matters with other countries and governments.

So there are many opportunities for you to explore, both abroad and here in the United States.

I hope this has been helpful in assisting you in your future career and educational path.

Paul G

Paul recommends the following next steps:

Research the requirements for a Bachelors degree in International Relations
See which specific area you are interested in pursuing and the educational requirements (like law, an Masters in Business..MBA..Foreign Service).
See a college advisor to determine your educational path
Go to a college or university job center to see what internships or other opportunities are available in your chosen concentration
Outline your academic and career path and pursue your passion
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Natalie’s Answer

Hi Shea!

I graduated with a degree in International Relations with a specialization in International Politics. To have a career in this field in the U.S. you really need to be in Washington, DC or New York. Preferably attend college in either of these places so you will have access to the right internships and career opportunities. Some of my colleagues went into international conflict resolution/diplomacy and human rights, for the most part they went onto law school or into the Peace Corps.

As Paul and Veena mentioned, the a very common career track for those in international politics is the U.S. Foreign Service and the CIA and State Departments in general. If you are in New York the United Nations is a big employer. In DC, many ended up working at the World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF), and international think tanks such as the Atlantic Council and the Council on Foreign Relations. International nonprofit organizations based in DC and NYC are also great options, they include Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and the International Rescue Committee.

Competition is fierce and you will almost certainly want to have a masters degree in international relations (or similar), in many cases a law degree also makes sense. I strongly suggest you attend college at a University with a strong international relations program in DC or secondarily NYC and pursue internships in these areas. You will need to be fluent in a second language (this is usually a requirement to graduate). A semester overseas offers a great opportunity to prepare for a career in international relations and looks great on your resume. During your semester overseas, take the opportunity to pursue an internship.

Overall, this is an exciting career field and offers many opportunities to positively impact our world. If you are passionate about bringing people together and making the world a better place, I encourage you to explore a degree in international relations!
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