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International Relations Major

The world is a global playing field with many businesses operating internationally. A government’s policies or actions can not only affect that country but can also have an impact on the world for many generations to come. If you want to help make the world a a better place and help to ensure the mistakes of the past aren’t repeated in the future, an international relations major is the major for you.

What is an International Relations Major?

International relations majors study the international issues of the past to better understand the present so that we better understand the future. The centuries long battle between Arabs and Jews over Palestine (Israel), the decision by the United Nations to form Israel because of that battle, and the repercussions of those actions continue on and affect not only Israel, but the entire world. An international relations major analyzes the actions and decisions of the past, so that the present and future might have a better outcome than the past.

What Does an International Relations Major Study?

International relations majors are required to study a variety of disciplines such as history, economics, law, sociology, psychology, ethics, geography, communications, writing, foreign language, and other liberal arts subjects to give them a solid foundation. Many international relations majors also specialize within a specific area such as European studies, national security policy studies, or international relations and affairs. Due to the breadth of subjects studied, an international relations degree can also aid an individual who wishes to enter law or graduate school. In addition, international relations majors are required to spend a semester abroad and are expected to have fluency in at least one foreign language.

What Skills Does an International Relations Major Need?

Critical thinking, teamwork skills, and superior oral and written communication abilities are required of the international relations major. Students should expect to take part in many discussions regarding policy and to spend a lot of time reading literature and writing essays. Excellent critical and analytical skills, solid presentation skills, and good job preparation skills are necessary along with the ability to use statistical software and various computer applications.

Where Does an International Relations Major Work?

The vast educational background of an international relations majors allow them to work in a variety of professions such as: foreign correspondent, international bank trainee, intelligence officer, trade specialist research assistant, policy analyst, legislative correspondent, United Nations staff, international business manager, import/export coordinator, Peace Corp administration, Red Cross, foreign language instructor, interpreter/translator, or social studies instructor.

Additional positions available to international relations majors are foreign affairs analysts, international relations officer, intelligence research specialist, international public administrator, international lawyer, and international relations professor. Payscale.com lists the starting salary for international relations majors at $40,500 and the median salary at $79,400.

How Does an International Relations Major Enhance Their Employability?

Internships are a great way to gain real-world experience and can sometimes lead to full-time employment. In addition, membership in an alumni organization or professional organizations like LinkedIn offers individuals the opportunity to connect with peers through groups, that could lead to professional opportunities. LinkedIn also features job posts related to your professional or educational background.

The American Graduate School of International Relations and Diplomacy www.ags.edu, allows the international relations major the opportunity to pursue a Master’s degree in International Relations and Diplomacy, dual Master’s degrees in International Relations/Diplomacy/Strategic Negotiation or International Relations and Diplomacy/International Law, or a Doctorate in International Relations and Diplomacy.


The international relations major is a demanding and exciting major. The rewards of an international relations degree are the chance to change the world for the better and to experience the opportunities of a lifetime while doing it.

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