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Study international relations abroad

An in-depth guide to studying international relations as an international student.

International relations degrees abroad

International relations is the study of foreign policy and diplomacy between countries. It has a large focus on politics and incorporates some aspects of economics and law, giving students who study it a well-rounded understanding of global affairs.

Studying international relations abroad provides a new perspective on global issues and relationships between locations across the world.

International relations can be studied as a major in the US or in universities that use a liberal arts model, and elsewhere in the world there is the opportunity to study it as the sole subject of a bachelor’s degree, as well as at master’s (taught and research) and PhD level.

International relations program structure

A bachelor’s in international relations will last between three to four years, and may include a year studying at a partner institution abroad. A taught or research master’s in international relations will be between one and two years of study. Some universities will encourage you to study a language alongside international relations.

Most of your time doing an international relations degree will be learning from books, lectures, and other resources with time to discuss this with classmates in seminars or smaller group lessons. You may need to use presentation or debate skills too as part of your assessments.

As part of your degree you may need to produce a piece of personal research in the form of a dissertation, which you will be guided through with tutorials. Dissertations require a large amount of personal study.

The structure and content of an international relations program will change depending on the country and specific university you are studying in. Some of the modules or electives that may count towards an international relations degree will surround topics such as:

  • Global debates
  • International history
  • Political theory
  • Foreign policy
  • International security
  • International organizations
International relations program structure

A bachelor’s in international relations will last between three to four years, and may include a year studying at a partner institution abroad. A taught or research master’s in international relations will be between one and two years of study. Some universities will encourage you to study a language alongside international relations.

Most of your time doing an international relations degree will be learning from books, lectures, and other resources with time to discuss this with classmates in seminars or smaller group lessons. You may need to use presentation or debate skills too as part of your assessments.

As part of your degree you may need to produce a piece of personal research in the form of a dissertation, which you will be guided through with tutorials. Dissertations require a large amount of personal study.

The structure and content of an international relations program will change depending on the country and specific university you are studying in. Some of the modules or electives that may count towards an international relations degree will surround topics such as:

  • Global debates
  • International history
  • Political theory
  • Foreign policy
  • International security
  • International organizations

How to study international relations abroad

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International relations study abroad programs

International relations undergraduate programs

Bachelor's in international relations

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    International Relations and Politics - BA (Hons) London Metropolitan University, UK

    Program type
    Bachelor's
    Duration
    3 years
    Annual tuition fee
    12,700 GBP

    Fees are displayed in the university's local currency

    Start date
    September
    Show program overview about International Relations and Politics
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    Global and International Studies - BA State University of New York at Oswego, USA

    Program type
    Bachelor's
    Duration
    4 years
    Annual tuition fee
    18,627 USD

    Fees are displayed in the university's local currency

    Start date
    January, August
    Show program overview about Global and International Studies
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    International Business and International Relations - Dual BA (Hons) Keele University, UK

    Program type
    Bachelor's
    Duration
    3 years
    Annual tuition fee
    14,750 GBP

    Fees are displayed in the university's local currency

    Start date
    September
    Show program overview about International Business and International Relations
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    History and International Relations - BA University of Dundee, UK

    Program type
    Bachelor's
    Duration
    4 years
    Annual tuition fee
    17,275 GBP

    Fees are displayed in the university's local currency

    Start date
    September
    Show program overview about History and International Relations
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    International Affairs - BA Gordon College, USA

    Program type
    Bachelor's
    Duration
    4 years
    Annual tuition fee
    25,250 USD

    Fees are displayed in the university's local currency

    Start date
    August, January
    Show program overview about International Affairs
See all bachelor's degrees in international relations

Associate in international relations

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    Intercultural and International Studies - AA Douglas College, Canada

    Program type
    Associate
    Duration
    2 years
    Annual tuition fee
    18,000 CAD

    Fees are displayed in the university's local currency

    Start date
    January, May, September
    Show program overview about Intercultural and International Studies
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    Liberal Arts & Sciences: International Studies - ASc Mohawk Valley Community College, USA

    Program type
    Associate
    Duration
    2 years
    Annual tuition fee
    6,892 USD

    Fees are displayed in the university's local currency

    Start date
    January, September
    Show program overview about Liberal Arts & Sciences: International Studies
See all associate degrees in international relations

Certificate in international relations

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    International Studies - Cert University of Regina, Canada

    Program type
    Undergraduate certificate
    Duration
    1 year
    Annual tuition fee
    18,000 CAD

    Fees are displayed in the university's local currency

    Start date
    January, September, May
    Show program overview about International Studies
See all undergraduate certificates in international relations

Pathway in international relations

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    International Relations (Foundation) - FD Leeds Beckett University, UK

    Program type
    Undergraduate pathway
    Duration
    2 years
    Annual tuition fee
    10,900 GBP

    Fees are displayed in the university's local currency

    Start date
    September, January
    Show program overview about International Relations (Foundation)
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    International Relations and International Development - International Year One - UGP University of Sussex, UK

    Program type
    Undergraduate pathway
    Duration
    1 year
    Annual tuition fee
    17,200 GBP

    Fees are displayed in the university's local currency

    Start date
    January, September
    Show program overview about International Relations and International Development - International Year One
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    International Relations and Politics, International Year One - UGP Keele University, UK

    Program type
    Undergraduate pathway
    Duration
    1 year
    Annual tuition fee
    13,130 GBP

    Fees are displayed in the university's local currency

    Start date
    October, January
    Show program overview about International Relations and Politics, International Year One
See all undergraduate pathways in international relations

International relations graduate programs

Master's in international relations

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    Diplomacy and International Affairs - MA University of the South Pacific, Fiji

    Program type
    Master's
    Duration
    2 years
    Annual tuition fee
    14,857 USD

    Fees are displayed in the university's local currency

    Start date
    July, February
    Show program overview about Diplomacy and International Affairs
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    International Business and International Relations - MA (Hons) University of Dundee, UK

    Program type
    Master's
    Duration
    4 years
    Annual tuition fee
    16,450 GBP

    Fees are displayed in the university's local currency

    Start date
    September
    Show program overview about International Business and International Relations
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    Global Management (Global Affairs) - MGM Arizona State University, USA

    Program type
    Master's
    Duration
    2 years
    Annual tuition fee
    25,714 USD

    Fees are displayed in the university's local currency

    Start date
    August
    Show program overview about Global Management (Global Affairs)
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    Global Studies and International Relations - MSc Northeastern University, USA

    Program type
    Master's
    Duration
    2 years
    Annual tuition fee
    16,514 USD

    Fees are displayed in the university's local currency

    Start date
    September, July, April, January
    Show program overview about Global Studies and International Relations
  • false

    International Affairs - MSc Linnaeus University, Sweden

    Program type
    Master's
    Duration
    2 years
    Annual tuition fee
    110,000 SEK

    Fees are displayed in the university's local currency

    Start date
    September
    Show program overview about International Affairs
See all master's degrees in international relations

Doctorate in international relations

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    International Relations and European Studies - PhD University of Nicosia, Cyprus

    Program type
    Doctorate
    Duration
    3 years
    Annual tuition fee
    4,500 EUR

    Fees are displayed in the university's local currency

    Start date
    February, September, June
    Show program overview about International Relations and European Studies
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    International Relations Joint Degree - Dual PhD/MSc Altinbas University, Turkey

    Program type
    Doctorate/Master's
    Duration
    4 years
    Annual tuition fee
    4,950 USD

    Fees are displayed in the university's local currency

    Start date
    September, March
    Show program overview about International Relations Joint Degree
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    International Studies Law - Dual JD/MA DePaul University, USA

    Program type
    Doctorate/Master's
    Duration
    2 years
    Annual tuition fee
    24,320 USD

    Fees are displayed in the university's local currency

    Start date
    January, September, March
    Show program overview about International Studies Law
See all doctorates in international relations

Diploma in international relations

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    Public Policy and International Relations - PGDip University of California, Riverside Extension, USA

    Program type
    Postgraduate diploma
    Duration
    9 months
    Annual tuition fee
    18,200 USD

    Fees are displayed in the university's local currency

    Start date
    September
    Show program overview about Public Policy and International Relations
See all postgraduate diplomas in international relations

Pathway in international relations

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    Global Studies & International Relations (Global Pathways) - PGP Northeastern University, USA

    Program type
    Postgraduate pathway
    Duration
    4 months
    Annual tuition fee
    15,200 USD

    Fees are displayed in the university's local currency

    Start date
    March, July, November
    Show program overview about Global Studies & International Relations (Global Pathways)
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    International Relations Pre-Master's Programme - PGP Kingston University, UK

    Program type
    Postgraduate pathway
    Duration
    8 months
    Annual tuition fee
    9,500 GBP

    Fees are displayed in the university's local currency

    Start date
    January, April
    Show program overview about International Relations Pre-Master's Programme
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    Politics and International Relations - Pathway in Politics - PGP Keele University, UK

    Program type
    Postgraduate pathway
    Duration
    1 year
    Annual tuition fee
    14,320 GBP

    Fees are displayed in the university's local currency

    Start date
    September, January
    Show program overview about Politics and International Relations - Pathway in Politics
See all postgraduate pathways in international relations

Future international relations careers

You gain a lot of transferable skills when studying international relations including critical thinking, storytelling, writing, and knowledge of media law. There are loads of options for future careers, including:

  • Political researcher
  • Diplomat
  • Political analyst
  • Political journalist

The skills and knowledge you gain from an international relations degree abroad can be useful in a wide variety of industries and sectors, including:

  • Global not for profits
  • Finance
  • Education
  • Government

While you are studying at university you will also have access to a wide range of student organizations and social clubs. You may find that some, such as a debating society, complement your program and allow you to meet other like-minded students. The experience gained from being in these extracurricular groups can be an appealing addition to your resumé.