Home » Careers » Top 10 Careers in International Relations

Top 10 Careers in International Relations

30th September 2013 Posted by: Student World Online

THERE are numerous career paths available for graduates of international relations, international development and global diplomacy & politics. Generally, areas of employment fall into three sectors: Public (government), private (business) and non- profit (NGO). Whilst undergraduate courses provide students with a broad range of knowledge and skills, graduate courses and direct job experience will be necessary for those looking to progress to particular career profiles. The aforementioned courses cover widely applicable subjects providing graduates with the opportunity to move between positions in government, the private sector and charitable organizations. It is common for people who work in this field to move from one career type to another, whilst maintaining a position in international affairs. These career paths for International Affairs students tend to be the most popular. 

Want to get some extra preparation for your degree? Check out online options with our trusted online partner edX. 

Foreign Service Officer
The main goals of the Foreign Service are to promote peace, to protect American citizens and to advance the interests of the U.S around the world. As a Foreign Service Officer (FSO) you would be required to serve at one of the embassies or consulates in The Americas, Africa, Asia, the Middle East or Europe. Posts are often in challenging and dangerous environments and the job entails frequent moves. Candidates are invited to take an entry examination but the selection process is rigorous and highly competitive. There is also a lengthy admission process which can take up to a year.

Civil Servant
The Civil Service is a large public sector employer offering a number of job openings for International Affairs graduates. There are opportunities across many of the Civil Service departments, including the department for Foreign Affairs and International Policy, the Department for International Development and the Ministry of Defence. The Civil Service also have a fast stream graduate programme.

Research Consultant
This position involves conducting studies, writing reports based on findings, presenting results and making recommendations. There are a number of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and private voluntary organizations concerned with international affairs who seek excellent research consultants. Some of these include Amnesty International, Oxfam, Greenpeace and The Nature Conservancy.

Studying abroad and need to transfer money? Try our trusted money exchange partner World Remit.

Central Intelligence Agent
A career in the Central Intelligence Agency is a popular goal for graduates of international affairs. However, gaining a position at this elitist agency is viewed as a huge achievement and due to the classified nature of the C.I.A the application process is lengthy and intense. Any position gained will undoubtedly involve special training and will possibly require further academic studies.

International Affairs Officer (Military)
Joining the Armed Forces as an International Affairs Officer is a viable option for graduates. The Armed Forces play a significant role in the execution of foreign policy. Careers in the Armed Forces or Military Services are well structured allowing for growth and progression.

International Banking Officer
This position is deemed as one of the highest ranking positions that can be pursued by international affairs graduates. Achieving a job title such as this would require further study as graduates would ideally specialize in finance and banking with regards to international affairs. The job description involves implementing financial policies and procedure and can lead to working for establishments such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund

Find some stationery at Paperchase and make a stylish start to uni life.


Economists are employed by a number of businesses and organizations to predict trends in the ever changing economy and to update economic policies when necessary. There are many variations on this role, depending on employers’ needs and therefore a lot of job openings for recent graduates.

In the simplest sense of the word diplomats are ambassadors appointed to represent a government in its relations with other governments and organizations. Diplomats seek to protect and defend their government’s policies and work towards promoting friendly relations.

The job of a foreign affairs analyst is varied and interesting. Analysts research, report and analyse data and information regarding significant international events, changes and trends. Gaining employment as an analyst could lead to many travelling opportunities as analysts are often expected to research different cultures and customs.

Political Affairs Officer
The top career on our list has to be obtaining a position at the United Nations working for the department of Political Affairs. Political Affairs Officers are dedicated to helping nations resolve conflicts peacefully and avoid war and suffering. Officers mastermind and promote peaceful political solutions to conflict and encourage diplomacy between nations.


Like this article? Follow us on Twitter to find more.


Sign up for our newsletter

Follow Us

© 2024 Student World Online Registered in England and Wales 08074528
Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Contact us