Why study international relations?

Student walking through campus

Blend a mix of educational fields when you study international relations at university. With economics, history, sociology, anthropology and politics, international relations covers cross-border affairs and gives you the skills to change the world. In this increasingly global world, you can use your skills to contribute to a better tomorrow in a wide range of careers from diplomacy, politics, journalism to education.

Fields of international relations

Studying international relations covers issues such as:

  • Human rights
  • Environmentalism
  • Political economy
  • National and ethnic identities
  • International security
  • Terrorism
  • Media

Benefits of studying international relations

There are more than a few reasons to study international relations at university:

A globalised, interconnected world

As the world develops, expands and becomes more and more interconnected through media, trade and migration, professionals and academics become more in demand to help guide complex interactions. International relations is becoming increasingly relevant in today’s world and will continue to be valued as pressing global challenges present themselves.

Contribute to international decisions

As a graduate of international relations you will be able to pursue a range of careers that could see you making global decisions. You will be able to forsee the global influence and effects of actions and advise or impact on potential outcomes.

Have a global outlook

From studying international relations you will understand the complications of cross-border interactions and deals, giving you a different perspective on current international affairs and how the world of international interactions operates.

Why study international relations at Durham University?

Choosing to study BA (Hons) International Relations at Durham University means you will be taught from one of the UK’s top ranking universities and will be based in their School of Government and International Affairs.

Positioned as one of the most dynamic and distinctive academic units in the UK, you will benefit from an exceptional learning environment with world-class researchers. You will learn in small groups through a mix of teaching styles, including lectures, seminars and self-directed learning.

Cutting edge research is integrated into the curriculum, informing your learning with the latest techniques and breakthroughs. The university's institutes and research centres push key research agendas, promoting networking within the department and global research collaborations across the globe.

Key skills from studying international relations

Studying international relations will give you lots of transferable skills that you can refer to in both further education and your desired career path:

  • Research
  • Administrative
  • Critical analysis
  • Intellectual independence
  • Organisational
  • Cross-cultural awareness
  • Interpersonal
  • Negotiation

What international relations degree can I study at Durham University?

For those looking to follow an international relations career path, BA (Hons) International Relations provides an ideal route to a variety of international careers and further education qualifications.

You will cover a range of compulsory modules across the three-year course as well as optional modules that you can choose to study.

Degree preparation at the International Study Centre

International students looking to study international relations at Durham University can prepare both their academic and English language skills with our International Foundation Year in Humanities, Law and Social Science.

You will study core modules that relate to your progression degree route and also cover key English language development, giving you the skills you need to succeed at Durham University.

International relations degree jobs

With a degree in international relations you will be able to pursue a broad range of career opportunities. You will have a strong knowledge on topics such as economic trends, social issues and political affairs, which will allow you to follow a number of careers.

Jobs you can pursue with an International relations degree

Some of the jobs you could follow include:

  • Diplomat
  • Political analyst
  • Social researcher
  • Public affairs consultant
  • Public relations or communications specialist
  • Intelligence specialist

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is studying international relations worth it?

Studying international relations can be worth it as it provides a deep understanding of global politics, diplomacy, and international cooperation, opening doors to careers in government, international organisations, non-profits, consulting, journalism, and more. 

How many years does it take to study international relations? 

Typically, an undergraduate degree takes three to four years.

What jobs can a degree in international relations get you? 

A degree in international relations can lead to various career paths, including roles in diplomacy, foreign service, policy analysis, and many more.

About Durham University International Study Centre