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“What can I do with an International Relations degree?” Is a question that may have been bouncing around in your head. You have always been interested in International Relations. And you’re aware of its impact on individual lives. But you’re unsure. Is it worth pursuing career-wise? Or is it best confined to the hobby department?

Studying at the university is a massive investment in time, money, and energy. You can’t afford to waste it on courses that may not yield a good return on investment!

Here’s the good news: you can take a deep sigh of relief. Why? Because there are many career opportunities for International Relations graduates.

Do you know that 94% of those who graduated with an International Relations degree from the London School of Economics and Political Science were employed or enrolled in further study within 6 months after graduation in 2016/17? 

At the University of Oxford, those who graduated and finished their Master’s in International Relations took top-level positions in various industries. Including government and international diplomacy, journalism, the private sector, and non-profit. If you want to gain insight into what university level is like, then our international relations summer school is for you.

So you see, this course is worth looking into. In this article, discover the various career opportunities available to you. And the benefits of studying International Relations.

What Is International Relations?

What is International Relations? It’s an academic discipline within political science. Studying how non-governmental institutions and nation-states interact within the international community. It looks into the human collective and individual behaviour. 

Behaviour involves learning several psychological, sociological, economic, and political factors. How do these factors affect policymakers? What incites a nation to provoke another, threatening world peace? Having good answers can improve diplomacy and success in trading relationships.

What are the major topics of International Relations? Human rights, globalisation, ethics, security, and environmental conservation.

What Are The Benefits Of Studying International Relations?

Here are some of the benefits of studying international relations:

  • Better insight into what makes relationships work between individuals and communities. Allowing you to handle your personal relationships with more wisdom. 
  • A greater understanding of the relationships between countries. Giving you sensitivity in interacting with people from various backgrounds
  • You’ll develop a wealth of transferable skills. Increasing your career options, including communication, teamwork, and critical thinking skills
  • You can significantly impact improving trade relations, human rights policies, or environmental protection. 

Studying International Relations is becoming more important. Why? Because of the increasing interconnectivity of our world. Which is a direct effect of the rise of technology and inclusivity.

If this sounds good to you and you’re keen to learn more, then check out what a level requirements for international relations are needed for top universities.

Skills For Your CV

The skills you gain during your studies determine your future career options. When you study International Relations, you develop transferrable skills. Allowing you to choose jobs that may not be related to your course.

  • Communication and writing skills to simplify complex ideas
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Critical thinking skills to use relevant data in defending a position
  • Global and intercultural awareness and sensitivity
  • Teamwork
  • Ability to use technology for communication and presentation

What Can I Do With An International Relations Bachelor’s Degree? 

Civil Service Fast Streamer

Average Base Salary Per Year: £30,571

A Civil Service Fast Streamer is a career civil servant who joins the Fast Stream program. After completing an initial training period, they are appointed to a permanent role in a government department. Typical roles include policy adviser, project manager, and human resources specialist.

Do you know why it’s called “fast stream?” Because it accelerates the civil career paths of promising graduates. Giving them the knowledge and experience to become senior leaders fast!

Foreign Service Officer

Average Base Salary Per Year: £27,461

What does a foreign service offer do? A Foreign Service Officer is a diplomat who represents their home country in embassies and consulates worldwide. They work to promote friendly relations between their government and other nations.

It’s also their responsibility to protect citizens travelling or working in other countries.

International Policy Analyst

Average Base Salary Per Year: £40,303

International Policy Analysts are also known as “Foreign Affairs Analysts.” It’s their job to evaluate and create policies that relate to international affairs. They may work for a government, NGO, or private company. 

What are some of the duties of international policy analysts? Researching global issues, writing reports and recommendations, and providing consultation to clients or employers.

International Marketing Specialist

Average Base Salary Per Year: £43,898

International Marketing Specialists plan and execute marketing campaigns targeting foreign markets. They work with a company’s sales and advertising teams to develop strategies to help them enter new markets and grow their businesses.

What skills do you need to be an international marketing specialist? Fluency in the foreign language, and strong research, writing, and analytical skills.

International Lawyer

Average Base Salary Per Year: £65,992

An International Lawyer is a legal professional who specialises in cross-border transactions and disputes. They advise clients on issues relating to trade, investment, and finance. Many international lawyers also work in the public sector, advocating for the interests of their home country in international forums.

What are the different specialisations of international lawyers? Tax, human rights, and immigration.

International Development Manager

Average Base Salary Per Year: £43,444

Who is responsible for leading and coordinating development projects in foreign countries? The International Development Manager. They work with government and non-government organisations to ensure that the projects are completed on time, within budget, and to the required standards.

Do you know that most International Development Managers hold master’s degrees in business administration? You will also need years of experience working in sales.

Intelligence Analyst

Average Base Salary Per Year: £35145

Think of the ever-popular CIA you see in action movies. And you’ll have a good idea of what an Intelligence Analyst does. They collect and analyse information that relates to security. You may know by now that they work for the government and military. But did you know they also work for private companies?

Guess what resources Intelligence Analysts use when predicting crime and fighting criminals? They use geographic information systems, law enforcement databases, and surveillance. And yes, they do have intelligence networks!

Non-Profit Program Coordinator

Average Base Salary Per Year: £38,371

To become a Nonprofit Program Coordinator, organisation and leadership skills should be two of your core strengths. Why? Because a Nonprofit Coordinator plots down activities in calendars and budgets in spreadsheets. They ensure that everyone is in on the latest happenings and that each person knows their respective roles.

Feedback and adjustment also land on their shoulders. The coordinators need to have measurable criteria to determine whether a program succeeds. If it didn’t? Pivot!

Political Risk Analyst

Average Base Salary Per Year: £38,816

Every organisation needs to be aware of risks that may impact operations. That’s where the Political Risk Analyst enters the scenario. They research, analyse, and forecast political and economic risks, including government stability, crime levels, human rights issues, and trade and regulations.

How can the company, government entity, or nonprofit institution lower the risks? What safety nets can be put in place should said risks happen? These are some of the questions Political Risk Analysts explore.

Political Consultant

Average Base Salary Per Year: £41,199

Political Consultants are primarily active during election campaigns. They work with politicians to help them secure the role they’re running for. How do they do so? By developing campaign plans, creating advertising materials, and identifying potential donors.

Why are they called “consultants?” Because they give their clients advice on how to turn public opinion to their side. Since Political Consultants conduct opinion polls and research public image, they have a wealth of strategic value to give.

Policy Officer

Average Base Salary Per Year: £31,639

What are the issues the organisation faces? The Policy Officer analyses the situation, researches, and provides knowledgeable advice. After working with various teams and stakeholders, they then develop policies to help address the issues. And to prevent said issues from recurring as much as possible.

Do you know when International Relations skills come most in handy? The Policy Officer needs to stay updated with related social, political and economic developments. And explain it to others in simple terms!

Public Relations Officer

Average Base Salary Per Year: £35,862

Guess who’s in charge of an organisation’s public image? You got it right. The Public Relations Officer (PRO). What techniques do they use to maintain a good relationship with the public and media? Press releases, social media interactions, and social events.

A large part of their job is crisis management. The PRO needs to think on their feet and develop strategies to protect their organisation’s reputation during a crisis.


Average Base Salary Per Year: £27791

Do you know more than one language? If yes, congratulations! You have the critical skill required for this job. Translators convert written messages or documents from one language to another.

When translators translate, they take into consideration the differences in cultures to convey the meaning with accuracy. Keeping the tone and flow are also essential elements to express.


Average Base Salary Per Year: £30,369

If translators translate writings, interpreters translate the oral language. On the spot! This job requires fast thinking as you must speak two languages simultaneously. You’ll likely work in a team of two where one person speaks the source language while the other translates to the target language.

For business deals, medical appointments, or legal proceedings, interpreters help communication flow between parties that don’t share a common language.

How Much Money Do International Relations Graduates Make? 

In the US, the average wage International Relations Graduates make is $97,137. For UK students who graduated from The London School of Economics and Political Science, undergraduates enjoyed a mean salary of  £29,829 within 6 months after graduation. 

What Is The Highest Paying Job In International Relations? 

One of the highest paying jobs in International Relations is that of an International Lawyer. They receive an average base salary of £65,992 per year. You can proceed to Law immediately and specialise in International Relations later.

But having a solid foundation in International Law during your undergraduate years can also have its benefits. For instance, you can proceed to have work experience in International Relations-related careers before you may want to take up Law.

Work Experience

Work experience makes it much easier to secure a position in your dream career. In International Relations, knowing a foreign language is essential. Therefore, immersing yourself in a foreign culture and language by travelling abroad is valuable. 

Also, having work experience helps you refine your personal goals. Once you’re in the field and experience new things, is this what you would like to do for the years to come? Maybe you’ll encounter eye-opening situations that’ll bring you to alternate paths. 

For International Relations students, there are several Intergovernmental organisations offering internships and volunteering opportunities. The United Nations (UN) and the European Union are some of them. The UN, for instance, helps fresh graduates launch their careers as international civil servants. How? By offering the Young Professionals Programme

What if you want to use your International Relations degree for a career in journalism? That’s great! You can start by writing for your school’s newspaper. Or you can volunteer in local writing firms to get a feel of the real world.

Further Study

Some high-paying career options may not be available until you enrol in further studies. Take the International Lawyer position. If you want to take International Relations as your primary undergraduate degree, you’ll have to proceed to Law afterwards.

Another senior position is the International Development Manager. To increase your chances of securing this station, it’s best to take a Master’s in Business Administration.

The key? Know what your goal is. Then decide how further studies can help you reach it.

Who Are The Typical Employers Of International Relations Graduates?

The typical employers for International Relations Graduates include:

  • United Nations
  • Ministry of Defence
  • The World Bank
  • British Council
  • Banks
  • Charities
  • European Foundation for Democracy
  • Foreign Office
  • Internaitonal Criminal Court
  • Amnesty International
  • Law Firms
  • Media companies
  • Greenpeace and Médecins Sans Frontières
  • Oxfam
  • International Crisis Group

What Do International Relations Graduates Do?

For International Relations undergraduates who graduated from The London School of Economics and Political Science, here are the common fields they worked in:

  • Education
  • Consultancy
  • Government (local and national)
  • Non-government institutions
  • Media and publishing

In the US, here are the most common jobs for International Relations graduates:

  • Chief executives and legislators 
  • Lawyers, judges, and other judicial positions
  • Postsecondary teachers
  • Elementary and middle school teachers

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