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International Relations & National Security

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2021 International Relations & National Security Degree Guide

A major in International Relations and National Security trains students to evaluate and analyze national defense policy and international relations. Studies focus on the conduct of diplomacy and foreign policy, international politics, applications of diplomacy, military power, and intelligence in relation to national defense. Students are prepared to promote regional stability and how to take action in a crisis.

Some of the classes that you will take in this major are history, public policy analysis, homeland security, threat scenarios, foreign policy analysis, international law and organization, international relations theory, and leadership.

International Relations & National Security Degrees On The Rise

#65 Most Popular Major
15.2k Degrees Awarded
2.0% Increase in Graduates

In 2018-2019, international relations and national security was the 65th most popular major nationwide with 15,207 degrees awarded. This is a difference of 299 over the prior year, a growth of 2.0%.

The United States has 338 different schools where you can get a degree in international relations and national security. Explore this or one of our many other custom international relations rankings further below.

International Relations & National Security Degree Requirements

This career requires sharp analytical and reasoning skills as you evaluate aspects of national defense and international relations policy. Professionals will need to keep calm in tense situations and carefully communicate details to superiors, co-workers and the general public. Develop organizational and time management skills while in college in order to balance lectures, reading, writing, and staying up to date with current events.

Innovative and creative thinking will help you propose solutions to issues, based in theories and policies learned in the classroom. You will be asked to put theory into practice as you develop methods of keeping America safe.

Prior Education for an International Relations Program

international relations and national security degree applicants generally need have finished high school or their GED. Many schools may also have GPA and SAT/ACT score minimums that must be met. Specific international relations careers may require a certain level of degree attainment or additional certifications beyond that.

International Relations & National Security Degree Types

There are many different international relations degree levels. International Relations & National Security programs offered by schools range from a associate's to a research/scholarship based doctorate, which is the highest international relations degree you can get. Different international relations and national security degrees vary in how long they take.

Degree Credit Requirements Typical Program Length
Associate Degree 60-70 credits 2 years
Bachelor’s Degree 120 credits 4 years
Master’s Degree 50-70 credits 1-3 years
Doctorate Program required coursework including thesis or dissertation At least 4 years

A bachelor's degree is the most common level of education achieved by those in careers related to international relations, with approximately 43.5% of workers getting one. People currently working in careers related to international relations tend obtained the following education levels.

Level of Education Percentage of Workers
Bachelor’s Degree 40.1%
Doctoral Degree 29.9%
Master’s Degree 19.6%
Associate’s Degree (or other 2-year degree) 3.5%
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate 1.7%

Most workers in international relations have at least a bachelor's degree. The chart below shows what degree level those who work in international relations and national security have obtained.


This of course varies depending on which international relations career you choose.

Career Opportunities for A Degree In International Relations Graduate

Average Number of Jobs
$38.1k Average Starting Salary
8% Growth Job Outlook 2016-26

A major in International Relationships and National Security will open many doors for you. Graduates find positions working all over the world affecting national and global political, economic, cultural, and social systems. You can translate your skills to become a Foreign Service officer or work for a government agency or work in a civil service position. Graduates also find work in the military or in homeland security, as well as in transnational business, congress or the United Nations.

Growth Projected for International Relations Careers

Want a job when you graduate with your international relations degree? International Relations & National Security careers are expected to grow 8.0% between 2016 and 2026.

The following options are some of the most in-demand careers related to international relations and national security.

Occupation Name Projected Jobs Expected Growth
Managers 1,071,700 8.0%
Political Science Professors 23,400 10.4%
Political Scientists 7,500 2.7%

How Much Money Do People With a International Relations Degree Make?

International Relations & National Security graduates between 2015-2017 reported earning an average of $38,058 in the 2017-2018 timeframe. Earnings can range from as low as $18,300 to as high as $69,700. As you might expect, salaries for international relations graduates vary depending on the level of education that was acquired.


High Paying Careers for International Relations Majors

Salaries for international relations and national security graduates can vary widely by the occupation you choose as well. The following table shows the top 5 highest paying careers international relations grads often go into.

Occupation Name Median Average Salary
Managers $115,590
Political Scientists $115,300
Political Science Professors $99,480

Getting Your International Relations & National Security Degree

With over 812 different international relations degree programs to choose from, finding the best fit for you can be a challenge. Fortunately you have come to the right place. We have analyzed all of these schools to come up with hundreds of unbiased international relations school rankings to help you with this.

One of 13 majors within the Social Sciences area of study, International Relations & National Security has other similar majors worth exploring.

Related Major Annual Graduates
Economics 48,297
Political Science & Government 47,035
Sociology 37,611
General Social Sciences 19,694
Anthropology 11,703

View All International Relations Related Majors >


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