What Is An International Relations Major

An international relations major prepares students for the global economy.

For many years, the international relations major concentrated on military conflict between nations, a byproduct of the Cold War era. Since the fall of the Soviet Union in the 1990s, the major has shifted to the study of globalization and its impact on the economy and the environment, and international efforts to eradicate poverty, hunger and disease.

General Requirements

Although requirements will vary from college to college, international relations majors are usually expected to take courses that will develop their proficiency in writing and speaking, courses in modern history and economics and political science.

Area Specialization

International relations majors often specialize in a particular geographic region, like the Middle East, or thematic area, such as resource management and the environment. Students may also study languages of that region, or sciences related to their thematic specialization, such as geology or biology.

Career Options

Graduates with a major in international relations have a wide variety of potential career paths to follow, including jobs in various aspects of international trade, immigration and intelligence services. The major requires the development of intellectual skills that are also useful in a variety of other fields not related to international relations specifically, such as journalism, management and general administration.


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