International Relations as a Field of Study

An active participant in efforts that benefit her community, Maral Cavner is pursuing a career in international relations. Additionally, a number of the projects and initiatives she participated in prepared her for the career path. In the summer of 2011, Maral Caver interned for the International Campaign for Tibet and later applied that experience in a fundraising effort for the Machik Chapter at Emory University.

Emory University photograph by Maral Cavner
Emory University photograph by Maral Cavner
Ethiopian children's school by Maral Cavner
Ethiopian children’s school by Maral Cavner

Students who major in international relations explore issues involving relationships among countries, governments, organizations, and peoples worldwide. Studies within the discipline examine foreign diplomacy principles and policies, and the manner in which recognized nations and independence-seeking groups alike interact. Knowledge of diplomacy is critical, including details of conducting negotiations between countries and diplomatic challenges as a result of major world events.

As a multi-disciplinary major, international relations degree programs draw from several other fields, including history, economics, and law. Ethics and philosophy also play a significant role as international relations rarely involve addressing issues from a black-and-white perspective and require students to consider the viewpoints of all parties involved. Though degree requirements vary from college to college, many require core courses from at least three fields of study. All programs typically obligate students to take at least one foreign language and recommend internships.

Degrees in international relations allow entry into a number of career fields. Non-governmental jobs may include work at organizations like the United Nations or international consulting firms. Governmental jobs cover a multitude of options that include foreign services and diplomatic positions.