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Want to Study International Relations? Here are 4 Tips for Prospective Students

This post is from a student, parent, or professional contributor. The opinions expressed by the author are their own and do not necessarily reflect the positions, viewpoints, or policies of Niche.

So you think you want to major in international relations?

Great! An international relations major is an interdisciplinary field that allows students to dip their toes into different fields of study, like foreign language, economics and more, and go on to pursue careers that can take them all over the world.

But before you choose international relation as your major, here are a few tips I have based on my experiences, that can help you success in the field.

4 Tips for Prospective International Relations Majors

1. Be Prepared to Learn Different Disciplines

International Relations does not just look into politics, so expect to be taking classes that fall under similar umbrellas that are involved in international relations, such as economics, history, peace studies and statistics. Such exposure might even prompt you to become a double major!

Taking classes in different disciplines can also inspire independent study, summer research projects, and give you a glimpse of what you want to study further in the field of international relations.

2. Foreign Languages are a Must

Most international relations majors are required to learn a foreign language up to an intermediate or advanced level.

Since the major’s focus involves learning about different politics and relations between nations, learning a foreign language will help prepare students to study abroad and prepare them for working internationally.

The list of languages to learn is practically endless: Chinese, Arabic, Malay, German, French and so on. There are hundreds of languages to learn.

Also, the more languages you are proficient in, the better chances of standing out when starting to apply for jobs after university.

3. Study Abroad

Most students who want to pursue international relations will either be required or encouraged to study abroad. Study abroad is a great opportunity to learn about the cultures, politics and economics of a country, and learn the language through real-life interactions and native speakers.

While the options are limitless, it’s best to pick a study abroad program that will fulfill your major requirements and is based in a country where you may want to do further research.

4. Expect to Go to Graduate School

Fortunately, or unfortunately (depending on who ask), further education is a often a necessity for international relations majors to qualify for a great job in the field. Most jobs and careers in the field of international relations require masters degrees or higher. 

While the thought of graduate school and getting a masters degree can be scary and overwhelming, being able to attend graduate school is an opportunity to study a topic of international relations or a specific region that you are very passionate about studying.

Of course, there’s a dilemma of when is the right time to attend graduate school, whether it be immediately after earning your undergraduate degree or after getting professional experience first.

A Final Word on Choosing International Relations as a Major

If you’re considering declaring your major in international relations, be sure to enroll in introductory level classes like economics, political science and a foreign language.

Taking introductory classes will help you make the decision early on in your college career whether international relations is the right major for you. 

And if you feel like you can’t commit, you can always minor in international relations.

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Author: Nicholas Enoch

Nicholas is a sophomore International Relations and Professional Writing major currently attending Goucher College in Towson, Maryland. He is a recent graduate from the Community College of Baltimore County where he received multiple full ride awards to colleges across Maryland. When he is not making content for Niche, he is busy learning 4 languages, binge watching TV shows on Hulu, and working out and trying new yoga exercises in his living room.