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Political Science and International Relations

Why study Political Science and International Relations?

Politics is one of the big conceptual constructs which defines the world and drives our lives.

Political Science and International Relations are complementary and inter-related disciplines that take hold of the political dimension and pull it into focus. They provide language and concepts with which to explain, justify and criticise the modern world. They examine ideologies such as colonization and socialism. They explore systems of ideas like the new right, religious fundamentalism, and postmodernism. They analyse social movements that are organised around sexuality and gender. They identify the principle concepts, issues and theoretical debates within the fields of international relations. They dig into issues of power, conflict, diplomacy, arms control, terrorism, developmental politics, civil society,and the international political economy.


  • Conceptual analysis
  • Consequential analysis
  • Influencing and persuading skills
  • Language skills: written and verbal
  • Relationship management skills
  • Conflict resolution skills
  • Research skills

Where do Politics and International Relations Graduates work?

Politics and International Relations graduates have skills that transfer well to many work environments.

Understanding how your skills work in the context of the job description is important. Adding another degree, such as Law, or doing a double major, can enhance your prospects considerably, and may even be necessary.

There are however a range of organisations for which the particular mix of skills and knowledge acquired by Politics and International Relations graduates is uniquely relevant, even if in some cases additional qualifications or experience are also required. These include:

  • Parliament
  • Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies
  • Local Authorities - City, District and Regional Councils
  • NGOs (Non-Government Organisations)
  • Community Organisations
  • Unions
  • Media and Communications
  • Corporates and Multinational Organisations

Career Planning

It is a good idea to start laying the groundwork for a career in Political Science and International Relations while you are still studying.

Includes two big strategies:

•  Networking: This simply means putting yourself in an environment which has some connection to your career interests and talking to people. Its all about making connections and building links with people who can offer just a little bit more than you could on your own.

•  Information Interviewing: this is a more focussed form of networking and involves targeting specific people or organisations with the purpose of gathering particular information.

Further information about Political Science and International Relations can be found in the Political Science and International Relations Career View (125KB PDF)