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2024 Best International Relations & National Security Schools

236 Colleges in the United States
14,306 International Relations Degrees Awarded
$41,288 Avg Early-Career Salary
If you plan on majoring in international relations & national security, you won't be alone since the degree program is ranked #67 in the country in terms of popularity. As a result, there are many college that offer the degree, making your choice of school a hard one.

For its 2024 ranking, College Factual looked at 236 schools in the United States to determine which ones were the best for international relations & national security students pursuing a degree. When you put them all together, these colleges and universities awarded 14,306 degrees in international relations & national security during the 2020-2021 academic year.

What's on this page: * Degree-Level Rankings

Choosing a Great International Relations & National Security School

Best International Relations & National Security Schools Your choice of international relations & national security school matters, so we have put together these rankings to help you make your decision. For our Best Overall International Relations & National Security School rankings, we roll up the results of our degree-level rankings, weighted by the number of degrees awarded at that level.

In order to find the schools that are the best fit for you, you may want to filter to one of the degree levels below.

Pick Your International Relations & National Security Degree Level

Associate Degrees in International Relations
Bachelor's Degrees in International Relations
Master's Degrees in International Relations
Doctor's Degrees in International Relations

The international relations school you choose to invest your time and money in matters. To help you make the decision that is right for you, we've developed a number of major-specific rankings, including this list of the Best International Relations & National Security Schools. If you'd like to restrict your choices to just one part of the country, you can filter this list by location.

In addition to our rankings, you can take two colleges and compare them based on the criteria that matters most to you in our unique tool, College Combat. Test it out when you get a chance! You may also want to bookmark the link and share it with others who are trying to make the college decision.

If you want to learn more about how we derive our rankings, see College Factual's Methodology.

Best Schools for International Relations & National Security in the United States

Although we recommend filtering by degree level first, you can view the list below to see which schools give the educational experience for the international relations degree levels they offer. Only those schools that rank in the top 15% of all the schools we analyze get awarded with a place on this list.

25 Top Schools in International Relations

1
Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
686 International Relations Degrees Awarded
$63,316 Median Starting Salary

It is hard to beat Johns Hopkins University if you wish to pursue a degree in international relations & national security. Located in the large city of Baltimore, Johns Hopkins is a private not-for-profit university with a fairly large student population. This university ranks 1st out of 36 colleges for overall quality in the state of Maryland.

There were roughly 686 international relations & national security students who graduated with this degree at Johns Hopkins in the most recent data year. International Relations & National Security degree recipients from Johns Hopkins University earn a boost of about $22,027 over the typical earnings of international relations & national security graduates.

More information about a degree in international relations & national security from Johns Hopkins University

2
Yale crest
Yale University
New Haven, CT
Master's Degree Highest Degree Type
88 International Relations Degrees Awarded
19.3% Growth in Graduates

Any student pursuing a degree in international relations & national security needs to take a look at Yale University. Yale is a large private not-for-profit university located in the city of New Haven. A Best Colleges rank of #8 out of 2,217 colleges nationwide means Yale is a great university overall.

There were about 88 international relations & national security students who graduated with this degree at Yale in the most recent data year. Those international relations & national security students who get their degree from Yale University make $27,757 more than the standard international relations graduate.

More information about a degree in international relations & national security from Yale University

3
Stanford crest
Stanford University
Stanford, CA
Master's Degree Highest Degree Type
66 International Relations Degrees Awarded
1.5% Growth in Graduates

Any student pursuing a degree in international relations & national security has to look into Stanford University. Located in the suburb of Stanford, Stanford is a private not-for-profit university with a large student population. A Best Colleges rank of #3 out of 2,217 colleges nationwide means Stanford is a great university overall.

There were approximately 66 international relations & national security students who graduated with this degree at Stanford in the most recent year we have data available. Degree recipients from the international relations & national security degree program at Stanford University earn $19,154 more than the typical college graduate with the same degree shortly after graduation.

More information about a degree in international relations & national security from Stanford University

4
Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
190 International Relations Degrees Awarded
$48,625 Median Starting Salary

University of Southern California is a good option for students interested in a degree in international relations & national security. Located in the city of Los Angeles, USC is a private not-for-profit university with a fairly large student population. A Best Colleges rank of #11 out of 2,217 schools nationwide means USC is a great university overall.

There were roughly 190 international relations & national security students who graduated with this degree at USC in the most recent year we have data available. Those international relations & national security students who get their degree from University of Southern California make $7,337 more than the typical international relations student.

More information about a degree in international relations & national security from University of Southern California

5
Harvard crest
Harvard University
Cambridge, MA
Master's Degree Highest Degree Type
4th Most Popular In MA
149 International Relations Degrees Awarded

Located in the city of Cambridge, Harvard is a private not-for-profit university with a fairly large student population. A Best Colleges rank of #6 out of 2,217 schools nationwide means Harvard is a great university overall.

There were roughly 149 international relations & national security students who graduated with this degree at Harvard in the most recent year we have data available.

More information about a degree in international relations & national security from Harvard University

6
Georgetown crest
Georgetown University
Washington, DC
Master's Degree Highest Degree Type
572 International Relations Degrees Awarded
3.5% Growth in Graduates

Georgetown is a fairly large private not-for-profit university located in the city of Washington. A Best Colleges rank of #15 out of 2,217 colleges nationwide means Georgetown is a great university overall.

There were about 572 international relations & national security students who graduated with this degree at Georgetown in the most recent year we have data available. Those international relations & national security students who get their degree from Georgetown University receive $17,018 more than the average international relations grad.

More information about a degree in international relations & national security from Georgetown University

7
Tufts crest
Tufts University
Medford, MA
Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
478 International Relations Degrees Awarded
17.2% Growth in Graduates

Located in the large suburb of Medford, Tufts is a private not-for-profit university with a large student population. This university ranks 4th out of 63 schools for overall quality in the state of Massachusetts.

There were roughly 478 international relations & national security students who graduated with this degree at Tufts in the most recent year we have data available. International Relations & National Security degree recipients from Tufts University get an earnings boost of approximately $15,944 over the average earnings of international relations & national security majors.

More information about a degree in international relations & national security from Tufts University

8
UPenn crest
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA
Bachelor's Degree Highest Degree Type
3rd Most Popular In PA
44 International Relations Degrees Awarded

UPenn is a fairly large private not-for-profit university located in the city of Philadelphia. A Best Colleges rank of #4 out of 2,217 colleges nationwide means UPenn is a great university overall.

There were about 44 international relations & national security students who graduated with this degree at UPenn in the most recent year we have data available.

More information about a degree in international relations & national security from University of Pennsylvania

9
Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
208 International Relations Degrees Awarded
$45,350 Median Starting Salary

Located in the suburb of Charlottesville, University of Virginia is a public university with a very large student population. This university ranks 1st out of 63 schools for overall quality in the state of Virginia.

There were about 208 international relations & national security students who graduated with this degree at University of Virginia in the most recent data year. Degree recipients from the international relations & national security program at University of Virginia - Main Campus get $4,062 more than the standard college graduate with the same degree when they enter the workforce.

More information about a degree in international relations & national security from University of Virginia - Main Campus

10
Bachelor's Degree Highest Degree Type
14th Most Popular In CA
12.5% Growth in Graduates

Claremont McKenna is a small private not-for-profit college located in the large suburb of Claremont. A Best Colleges rank of #13 out of 2,217 colleges nationwide means Claremont McKenna is a great college overall.

There were roughly 24 international relations & national security students who graduated with this degree at Claremont McKenna in the most recent data year.

More information about a degree in international relations & national security from Claremont McKenna College

11
Brown crest
Brown University
Providence, RI
Bachelor's Degree Highest Degree Type
39 International Relations Degrees Awarded
$37,882 Median Starting Salary

Brown is a fairly large private not-for-profit university located in the midsize city of Providence. This university ranks 1st out of 9 colleges for overall quality in the state of Rhode Island.

There were about 39 international relations & national security students who graduated with this degree at Brown in the most recent year we have data available. Students who graduate with their degree from the international relations program state that they receive average early career wages of $37,882.

More information about a degree in international relations & national security from Brown University

12
Master's Degree Highest Degree Type
948 International Relations Degrees Awarded
6.8% Growth in Graduates

Located in the city of Washington, GWU is a private not-for-profit university with a fairly large student population. This university ranks 2nd out of 8 schools for overall quality in the state of District of Columbia.

There were roughly 948 international relations & national security students who graduated with this degree at GWU in the most recent year we have data available. International Relations & National Security degree recipients from George Washington University receive an earnings boost of about $12,507 over the typical income of international relations & national security graduates.

More information about a degree in international relations & national security from George Washington University

13
Bachelor's Degree Highest Degree Type
42 International Relations Degrees Awarded
11.9% Growth in Graduates

Located in the small city of Evanston, Northwestern is a private not-for-profit university with a fairly large student population. A Best Colleges rank of #5 out of 2,217 schools nationwide means Northwestern is a great university overall.

There were approximately 42 international relations & national security students who graduated with this degree at Northwestern in the most recent data year. Those international relations & national security students who get their degree from Northwestern University receive $5,162 more than the average international relations graduate.

More information about a degree in international relations & national security from Northwestern University

14
Master's Degree Highest Degree Type
162 International Relations Degrees Awarded
11.7% Growth in Graduates

UChicago is a fairly large private not-for-profit university located in the city of Chicago. A Best Colleges rank of #2 out of 2,217 colleges nationwide means UChicago is a great university overall.

There were about 162 international relations & national security students who graduated with this degree at UChicago in the most recent year we have data available. International Relations & National Security degree recipients from University of Chicago receive an earnings boost of approximately $2,057 over the average earnings of international relations & national security graduates.

More information about a degree in international relations & national security from University of Chicago

15
Duke crest
Duke University
Durham, NC
Master's Degree Highest Degree Type
1st Most Popular In NC
53 International Relations Degrees Awarded

Duke is a fairly large private not-for-profit university located in the city of Durham. A Best Colleges rank of #7 out of 2,217 colleges nationwide means Duke is a great university overall.

There were about 53 international relations & national security students who graduated with this degree at Duke in the most recent data year.

More information about a degree in international relations & national security from Duke University

16
Master's Degree Highest Degree Type
8th Most Popular In PA
12.5% Growth in Graduates

Carnegie Mellon is a fairly large private not-for-profit university located in the large city of Pittsburgh. A Best Colleges rank of #9 out of 2,217 schools nationwide means Carnegie Mellon is a great university overall.

There were approximately 24 international relations & national security students who graduated with this degree at Carnegie Mellon in the most recent year we have data available.

More information about a degree in international relations & national security from Carnegie Mellon University

17
Rice crest
Rice University
Houston, TX
Master's Degree Highest Degree Type
9th Most Popular In TX

Located in the city of Houston, Rice is a private not-for-profit university with a medium-sized student population. This university ranks 1st out of 115 colleges for overall quality in the state of Texas.

There were about 16 international relations & national security students who graduated with this degree at Rice in the most recent year we have data available.

More information about a degree in international relations & national security from Rice University

18
Master's Degree Highest Degree Type
156 International Relations Degrees Awarded
$66,860 Median Starting Salary

Columbia is a fairly large private not-for-profit university located in the large city of New York. A Best Colleges rank of #14 out of 2,217 schools nationwide means Columbia is a great university overall.

There were approximately 156 international relations & national security students who graduated with this degree at Columbia in the most recent year we have data available. Degree recipients from the international relations & national security degree program at Columbia University in the City of New York make $25,572 above the average college grad with the same degree shortly after graduation.

More information about a degree in international relations & national security from Columbia University in the City of New York

19
The American University crest
American University
Washington, DC
Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
700 International Relations Degrees Awarded
$50,704 Median Starting Salary

Located in the large city of Washington, The American University is a private not-for-profit university with a large student population. This university ranks 3rd out of 8 colleges for overall quality in the state of District of Columbia.

There were approximately 700 international relations & national security students who graduated with this degree at The American University in the most recent year we have data available. Degree recipients from the international relations & national security major at American University make $9,416 more than the standard graduate in this field shortly after graduation.

More information about a degree in international relations & national security from American University

20
Emory crest
Emory University
Atlanta, GA
Bachelor's Degree Highest Degree Type
$45,984 Median Starting Salary
$19,700 Median Student Debt

Emory is a large private not-for-profit university located in the large city of Atlanta. This university ranks 2nd out of 68 colleges for overall quality in the state of Georgia.

There were roughly 27 international relations & national security students who graduated with this degree at Emory in the most recent year we have data available. International Relations & National Security degree recipients from Emory University receive an earnings boost of around $4,696 above the typical earnings of international relations & national security majors.

More information about a degree in international relations & national security from Emory University

21
Master's Degree Highest Degree Type
108 International Relations Degrees Awarded
$63,539 Median Starting Salary

Located in the city of La Jolla, UCSD is a public university with a very large student population. This university ranks 8th out of 168 schools for overall quality in the state of California.

There were approximately 108 international relations & national security students who graduated with this degree at UCSD in the most recent data year. International Relations & National Security degree recipients from University of California - San Diego receive an earnings boost of about $22,251 above the typical earnings of international relations & national security majors.

More information about a degree in international relations & national security from University of California - San Diego

22
Middlebury crest
Middlebury College
Middlebury, VT
Bachelor's Degree Highest Degree Type
38 International Relations Degrees Awarded
18.4% Growth in Graduates

Middlebury is a small private not-for-profit college located in the town of Middlebury. This college ranks 1st out of 11 schools for overall quality in the state of Vermont.

There were approximately 38 international relations & national security students who graduated with this degree at Middlebury in the most recent year we have data available. International Relations & National Security degree recipients from Middlebury College earn a boost of approximately $9,453 over the average income of international relations & national security graduates.

More information about a degree in international relations & national security from Middlebury College

23
Virginia Tech crest
Virginia Tech
Blacksburg, VA
Graduate Certificate Highest Degree Type
160 International Relations Degrees Awarded
9.4% Growth in Graduates

Virginia Tech is a fairly large public school located in the city of Blacksburg. This school ranks 2nd out of 63 colleges for overall quality in the state of Virginia.

There were roughly 160 international relations & national security students who graduated with this degree at Virginia Tech in the most recent data year. After graduation, international relations degree recipients generally earn around $39,039 in the first five years of their career.

More information about a degree in international relations & national security from Virginia Tech

24
Master's Degree Highest Degree Type
5th Most Popular In MO

WUSTL is a large private not-for-profit university located in the large suburb of Saint Louis. This university ranks 1st out of 48 colleges for overall quality in the state of Missouri.

There were roughly 5 international relations & national security students who graduated with this degree at WUSTL in the most recent year we have data available.

More information about a degree in international relations & national security from Washington University in St Louis

25
Carleton crest
Carleton College
Northfield, MN
Bachelor's Degree Highest Degree Type
2nd Most Popular In MN
38 International Relations Degrees Awarded

Located in the distant town of Northfield, Carleton is a private not-for-profit college with a small student population. This college ranks 2nd out of 52 schools for overall quality in the state of Minnesota.

There were about 38 international relations & national security students who graduated with this degree at Carleton in the most recent year we have data available.

More information about a degree in international relations & national security from Carleton College

Rest of the Top Best International Relations & National Security Schools

26
Boston U crest
Boston University
Boston, MA
27
NYU crest
New York University
New York, NY
28
Colgate crest
Colgate University
Hamilton, NY
29
30
31
32

33

34
William & Mary crest
William & Mary
Williamsburg, VA
35
Lafayette crest
Lafayette College
Easton, PA

Honorable Mentions

These are some additional schools worth mentioning that are also great but just didn't quite make the cut to earn our top Best International Relations & National Security Schools award.

Rank College Location
36 Occidental College Los Angeles, CA
37 Florida State University Tallahassee, FL
38 Ohio State University - Main Campus Columbus, OH
39 University of Denver Denver, CO
40 Michigan State University East Lansing, MI
41 Webster University Saint Louis, MO
42 Tulane University of Louisiana New Orleans, LA
43 Pomona College Claremont, CA
44 Northeastern University Boston, MA
45 Syracuse University Syracuse, NY
46 Hamilton College Clinton, NY
47 Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey Monterey, CA

International Relations & National Security by Region

View the Best International Relations & National Security Schools for a specific region near you.

Region
Southeast
New England
Rocky Mountains
Plains States
Middle Atlantic
Far Western US
Southwest
Other U.S. Territories
Great Lakes

View All Rankings >

International Relations & National Security is one of 13 different types of Social Sciences programs to choose from.

International Relations Focus Areas

Major Annual Graduates
International Relations 13,117
International Security 659
Other International Relations & National Security Studies 530

View All International Relations Focus Areas >

Related Major Annual Graduates
Political Science & Government 49,282
Economics 49,055
Sociology 38,475
General Social Sciences 18,997
Anthropology 11,415
Geography & Cartography 8,526
Other Social Sciences 2,414
Urban Studies 1,507
Sociology & Anthropology 541
Archeology 339

View All International Relations Related Majors >

Notes and References

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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