International Relations - using your degree

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A degree from Scotland's first university is an excellent start to any future career. St Andrews has a reputation for excellence and the ability to attract the brightest students world wide. With this as a starting point you are well on the way to impressing future employers.

A degree in International Relations can lead to a wide range of jobs, such as the public services (civil service, local government, public corporations, hospital management, etc), the social services (child care, youth employment, probation, etc), advertising, journalism, radio and television, management traineeships in industry, professions such as accountancy and law (barristers and solicitors alike), banking and insurance, and various research agencies.

With expertise in area studies - including Africa, Europe and the Middle East - foreign policy, international organisations and regimes, peace and conflict studies, political theory, and terrorism and political violence, many graduates are well equipped for jobs in the foreign services and armed services. Careers in international business, as well as the media, research and business would also be a natural progression.

Graduates find employment in many fields. Some put their special skills of political analysis to direct use in the Home and European civil services, political research units, aid agencies and journalism. Others go into industry, commerce, banking and the City. Even here, the global reach of many enterprises provides graduates in International Relations with an opportunity to make their particular education count.

Read the Guardian article entitled Exploring career options for politics graduates and All About Careers - What can I do with a politics degree?

Where do our graduates go?


Where are they now?

Beatrice is an IR graduate of the University of St Andrews. She is a Blue Book Trainee for the European Commission.

Read Beatrice's and other IR graduates case studies to hear what their jobs involve, how they got there, and how to successfully follow the same career path.

People Brands Executive Assistant
Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in Paris, France Consultant
Jane's Information Group Terrorism Analyst
British Council Project Delivery Officer
Martin Currie Investment Management Product Executive
Austrian Foreign Ministry Attache
British Council TEFL Teacher
Nobel Legal Consultant
Scottish Parliament Parliamentary Intern
University of Hull PGCE
University of Edinburgh MSc Arab World Studies Women in the Middle East
News International Newspaper Reporter
Chatteris Educational Foundation English Teacher
Ernst & Young IT Risk Associate
Army Officer Cadet
University of St Andrews Peace & Conflict Studies
Times of Malta Journalist
Scottish Government Civil Servant
Accenture Analyst
Lovells LLP Trainee Contract
Survival International Campaigner
Control Risks Analyst, Middle East and North Africa
Crown Agents Development Policy Research
Hiscox Terrorism Underwriter, New York
The Scottish Parliament Policy Researcher
Arlington Capital LLC Merchant Banker (USA)
US Department of State Diplomat (Tonga)
United Nations Press Officer (Geneva)
Burns & Levinson LLP Attorney (Boston, USA)
Jane's Information Group Senior Consultant (UK)
US Fund for UNICEF Deputy Director of Development(New York)
United Nations Development Programme International Development Officer
National Geographic Channels Int VP Network Development (Singapore)

Network with alumni

Postgraduate study/research

Postgraduate links

In 2013, 42.1% of IR graduates went on to do further study. Source: Career Destinations.
Advisers are able and willing to discuss postgraduate applications - vocational and academic.

Summer internships/work experience

Work experience links

Work experience is becoming ‘essential’ in the UK when it comes to securing graduate level employment, with those having experience in the workplace being three times more likely to land a job offer than those without.

62% of graduating St Andrews' students have had internship experience by the time they graduate, the fifth highest percentage in the UK.

High Fliers - The UK Graduate Careers Survey 2013.


Joining a society and particularly taking on a role of responsibility can impress future employers and also enhance employability skills such as - team working, negotiation, event management, controlling budgets, leadership etc.
At St Andrews you have a wealth of societies to choose from. Here are a few relevant examples:

Work experience examples of IR students

Year of graduationOrganisation/CompanyPosition
2015 Bloomberg Communications Intern
2014 Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Media Coordinator
2013 Standard Life Human Resources intern
2009 Accenture Services (Management Consultancy) Analyst
2007 United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Internship in the Dadaab refugee camps

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Employability profile: what you can offer employers

The profile below identifies the skills that can be developed through the study of your discipline based on subject benchmark statements developed by UK higher education academic communities.


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