What to Expect
International relations students go on to work in government, industry,
politics and academia. Students in this program often complete part of their
Students generally have core classes in math, physical sciences, social
sciences, history and communications. After that, students hone in on
a certain discipline, such as development or government.
On average, political science students have about four to six hours
of homework a night.
"A student of international relations has to take general political science
courses to gain an understanding of the main concepts in the discipline,"
says Kellie Templeton. Templeton got a bachelor's degree in political science
and took a master's degree in international relations.
Templeton says international relations students take "courses on international
organizations like the UN system, international relations theory, international
law, trade, peace and conflict studies, or courses which compare the political
systems of different countries."
Many students are involved with international organizations on campus as
well as the many national political science associations.
How to Prepare
"Because the field is very broad, a student must have a specific area of
interest and a clear focus. But economics [classes are] definitely
a must, [and] statistics and subjects dealing with globalization will
help," says Markus Krisetya. He took a master's degree in international relations
at Syracuse University in New York.
High school students need to read the newspaper every day and get involved
in leadership activities, students say.
Templeton spent four months working in West Africa, which greatly broadened
her perspective. "It gave me insight into the development needs of less-developed
countries and into the work and effectiveness of international organizations,"