Studies & Degrees in International Affairs

Choose where you would like to study International Affairs:

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International Affairs is another term for the commonly used Foreign Affairs, International Relations, or Foreign Relations. All of these in its core refer to the interactions that take place in the international community, which includes individual nations and states; inter-governmental organizations like the United Nations; non-governmental organizations; multinational organizations, and so on. As can be imagined, the academic discipline of International Affairs comprises a wide pool of fields, which range from history, to politics, to environmental studies. Students explore both the history of how this field has emerged as well as modern foreign affairs. Therefore, specialists in the field can do things like working at diplomatic agencies in various countries, providing consultation to small and large firms, who consider opening a branch abroad, as well as assisting charitable organizations in their missions. It is also common that specialists in International Affairs concentrate on a specific region of the world, because the language and etiquette they would have to use in their dealings with people and companies varies significantly.

Personal Qualities

If you wish to pursue a career in International Affairs, you should consider whether you are adaptable and ready to face the challenges that it presents. Here are some qualities to consider:

  • Excellent oral and written communication skills
  • Enjoy travel and learning about other countries
  • Enjoy learning languages
  • Aptitude for subjects like history and politics
  • Open-minded and flexible
  • Great interpersonal skills
  • Problem-solving and analytical qualities

Study Options

The study of International Affairs is a very popular one, and many universities offer it at the bachelor’s, master’s, and postgraduate levels. There even are institutions, strictly specializing in the field of International Affairs. The key topics you should expect to explore include international politics, global diversity, foreign policy, conflict resolution, international security, and globalization. Students examine specific relationships within these fields, exploring the emerging global issues as an ongoing part of their education. Other subjects you would go into are economics, history, sociology, anthropology, law, nationalism, development, human rights issues, psychology, geography, global studies, and even philosophy.

You should keep in mind that if you are serious about getting a job in International Affairs, a bachelor’s degree would not be sufficient. For example, for most diplomatic jobs, at least a master’s is required. Depending on what your career goals are, you can combine the International Affairs degree with a business, economics, philosophy, or politics degree. Another point is that some degrees offer a more focused approach – concentrating on one specific region of the world, learning its languages, history, and so on; while others provide a multidisciplinary approach, which is broader and less specific. Finally, keep in mind that the institution you choose should have excellent relations with international organizations around the world, as a degree in International Affairs should most definitely include some sort of study or internship in a foreign country.

Career Options

Career opportunities in the field of International Affairs are extremely interesting and varied. The best-known international career is undoubtedly diplomacy; other options are foreign service, international corporations and nonprofits, conflict resolution, or journalism. There are also a lot of private research groups, multinational companies, and non-government organizations in need of such specialists. In any case you should be prepared to travel, live abroad, and learn foreign languages. Securing an internship early in your career is crucial for this field. Finally, there is the option to concentrate on university teaching and research if you believe this would suit your goals.