Masters Degree in International Relations
Students that studied international relations or related fields such as International Studies or International Affairs in university may wonder about the best way to enter a career in international relations or International Studies. And while there are many entry-level jobs in the field that are available to someone with a Bachelors degree, another option is to consider a Masters degree in international relations or international affairs. If this is something that one is considering, it is important to know that there are a number of graduate degree paths that have a masters degree in international relations.
When thinking of studying for a masters degree in international relations, one of the first questions that one should think about is related to whether they would prefer an international relations career in the field or in academia. This is important because the specific masters degree program in international relations one is considering may be tailored to one field or the other.
While one can surely have both (and many scholars do work as academics and work in the policy field simultaneously), entering into academia usually will require a Ph.D., whereas if one is interested in working in non-academic outlets, a Ph.D.in international relations is often not expected. In fact, there are many that decide to enter the policy field first, then after some time decide to pursue a masters degree in international relations, or an international relations Ph.D. degree. Regardless of your approach or interests, there are a number of different graduate studies that would adequately prepare you for a career in international relations.
For example, many students look to get a policy masters degree in international affairs. These international affairs schools do a great job of preparing students for international relations policy as they offer a number of courses related to the field. They also offer courses that are often tailored to applications in the field. In addition, they often give credit for internships related to your academic interests. Within many of these schools are a number of subfield concentrations within international relations. For example, many international relations masters programs have concentrations in human rights, security studies, international development, conflict resolution, international politics, or regional focuses.
In addition to a masters degree in international relations, there is also the option of a graduate degree in political science with a specific emphasis on international relations. Students will usually take core graduate cores in political science, along with courses in the subfield. One important point to note is that a number of masters programs in Political Science are usually feeders into the Ph.D. program. Thus, some programs may be more focused on preparing students for a career as a professor and are less concentrated on a job in policy. Having said this, again, different programs vary in their focus. Plus, even at programs may be Ph.D. focused,
students can often still study for a terminal masters, and then proceed to work in the field.
Others still may consider a law degree within an emphasis on international law. There are a number of jobs that are focused on international law. Students who take this route may have a particular interest in fields that include but are not limited to environmental law, human rights law, religion and law, or country-specific law. In addition, some schools have a joint law and masters degree where a student can take courses that apply to both degree programs. This can reduce the time it would take to complete both degrees, compared to if one was studying for each separately, plus provide students the opportunity to take additional courses related to international relations.
Whatever a student’s decision, there are a number of options that exist, and they should due their due diligence when researching schools. What is important is that the student should find programs that fit what their interests are, seek out programs that have courses that they like, as well as professors who write on issues that they are interested in. Furthermore, they should become familiar with the expectations of each school, as well as any necessary exams that they need to take in order to apply for the program. Lastly, they should also look into any possibly of teaching assistantships, research assistantships or scholarships that the programs may offer. While many of the Ph.D. programs fund students who are admitted, there are some scholarships available for students studying at the Masters level.
If you have any questions about a Masters Degree in international relations, or a Ph.D. in International Relations feel free to send along a message through the contact us page.