What exactly is International Relations?

A study program in International Relations comprises a combination of economics, history, and political science to explore human rights, global poverty, the environment, economics, globalization, security, global ethics, and the political environment.

With a degree in International Relations, you can choose to be:

  • A Diplomat – representing your country abroad
  • Intelligence Specialist – collecting (state) sensitive information
  • Political Analyst – analyze government functioning and even election results

So if you think you have what it takes to dabble in International Relations, examine the list of top schools that you should seriously consider for a successful career.

1. Harvard University, Massachusetts, USA

This Ivy League school is one of the oldest institutions of learning. The International Relations degree program is conducted at the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences in the Department of Government. To apply you must have completed a four-year regionally accredited US bachelor's degree or its foreign equivalent but not in international relations.The degree is improvised to suit students’ learning goals. All through the program students are encouraged to interpret and examine their own queries about politics and government.

Besides, the largest university library in the world at Harvard facilitates exploring and learning. Graduate Student Groups and Departmental Graduate Student Organizations amplify the experience of studying at Harvard, by offering opportunities to interact with like-minded students.  You must have a GPA of 4.1 and straight A’s in all your classes to be assured of admission.

Student Loans and other sources of funding like part-time teaching or proctoring etc. are available to eligible students.

Noted alumni: John F. Kennedy, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama 

2. Princeton University, USA

Princeton University is one of the eight Ivy League schools. The international studies program is conducted at the professional public policy school, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. The two-year program leads to the degree of Masters in Public Affairs. Students can include law in their study program and after four years of study, receive a dual degree (M.P.A./J.D.)  At Princeton, the program moves beyond conventional topics of international economics, government, and politics. Astute faculty organizes surveys and teaches students from the outcomes of this research. So the training at Princeton is in keeping with the changing international relations environment.

Admission requirements include a good GRE score. Princeton guarantees housing to students on campus. And it’s not all study at Princeton – students can pursue other interests and mingle with like-minded students in student organizations, sports clubs, and various campus centres.

Princeton offers only need-based financial aid

Noted alumni: David Petraeus, ralph Nader and Anthony Lake.

3. Stanford University, California, USA

Stanford is a reputed, private research institution that is resolute in resolving the toughest tasks and preparing their students to become frontrunners in their profession. The Master's in International Policy at Stanford is a two-year professional graduate degree program that gives students the opportunity to gain core policy skills as also pursue their individual interests.

The program comprises three parts. Students are expected to finish essential modules of international relations theory, history, security, international economics, and research methods. They must also compile and successfully complete a senior thesis project. Besides studying, there’s plenty to do at Stanford. The university encourages creativity and has world-class museums and live performances. There are 8 dining halls to ensure students never go hungry. 

Limited financial aid is available for graduate programs at Stanford. Financial aid is available in the form of grants, scholarships, and fellowships, loans, and earnings through teaching, research, etc.

Noted alumni: Lillian Rogers, Rachel Quint, and Nathan Keegan

4. Georgetown University, Washington D.C., USA

Although Georgetown University isn’t an Ivy League college, this private research university positively offers a similar college experience. Students study at the Walsh School of Foreign Service. The program is expansive, giving students a strong foundation in international relations, history, and economics even as they are poised for a successful career dedicated to service ethically in global matters.

The program focuses on:
  • Global Politics & Security
  • International Development
  • Global Business & Finance
  • Self-Designed/Regional & Comparative Studies

There’s a lot for a student to explore besides studies here. The Georgetown Graduate Student Government (GradGov) and the Office of Graduate Enrichment organize various events like Coffee with the Dean and Happy Hours on campus and off-campus events like Annual Georgetown Graduate Student Basketball Tailgate and game. 

Admission requirements include a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited university (or the equivalent) with a record that shows promise of success in graduate studies. While the GRE isn’t required, it’s recommended when seeking admission. Graduate students can avail of need-based and merit-based financial aid

Noted alumni: David Addington, Toney Anaya, and Robert Bauman.

5. Columbia University, New York, USA

Students study at the School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA), in urban surroundings at Manhattan. The Master of International Affairs (MIA) prepares students to tackle international issues as experts with confidence either in organizations or in government. The program offers a modifiable study course that includes international politics and political economy. There are other available options like International Security Policy, International Finance and Economic Policy, Economic and Political Development, etc. Students also get opportunities to gain experience by doing fieldwork.

The Office of Student Affairs at SIPA encourages and facilitates extracurricular activities and events so that students can explore opportunities to grow beyond studying. There are numerous student groups to participate in social events and community services.

Applicants must be strong in academics as undergraduates, have a good GPA and GRE scores. Participation in extracurricular activities will further enhance acceptance. International students can avail of fellowships, scholarships, and assistantships while enrolled at SIPA

Noted alumni: Madeleine Albright, Jose Rams Horta and Salim Ahmed Salim

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