International Relations - using your degree
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?
Amrit is an IR graduate of the University of St Andrews. He is an Executive Assistant for People Brands.
Read Amrit'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.
|Year of graduation||Organisation/Company||Position|
|These are some of the first roles taken on by students six months after graduation:|
|2012||People Brands||Executive Assistant|
|2012||Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in Paris, France||Consultant|
|2011||Jane's Information Group||Terrorism Analyst|
|2011||British Council||Project Delivery Officer|
|2011||Martin Currie Investment Management||Product Executive|
|2010||Austrian Foreign Ministry||Attache|
|2010||British Council||TEFL Teacher|
|2009||Scottish Parliament||Parliamentary Intern|
|2009||University of Hull||PGCE|
|2009||University of Edinburgh||MSc Arab World Studies Women in the Middle East|
|2009||News International||Newspaper Reporter|
|2009||Chatteris Educational Foundation||English Teacher|
|2009||Ernst & Young||IT Risk Associate|
|2009||University of St Andrews||Peace & Conflict Studies|
|2009||Times of Malta||Journalist|
|2009||Scottish Government||Civil Servant|
|Longer term career paths:|
|2007||Lovells LLP||Trainee Contract|
|2006||Control Risks||Analyst, Middle East and North Africa|
|2006||Crown Agents||Development Policy Research|
|2006||Hiscox||Terrorism Underwriter, New York|
|2005||The Scottish Parliament||Policy Researcher|
|2004||Arlington Capital LLC||Merchant Banker (USA)|
|2003||US Department of State||Diplomat (Tonga)|
|1997||United Nations||Press Officer (Geneva)|
|1996||Burns & Levinson LLP||Attorney (Boston, USA)|
|1995||Jane's Information Group||Senior Consultant (UK)|
|1992||US Fund for UNICEF||Deputy Director of Development(New York)|
|1990||United Nations Development Programme||International Development Officer|
|1989||National Geographic Channels Int||VP Network Development (Singapore)|
Network with alumni
- LinkedIn this professional networking site can be a great way to make contact with St Andrews alumni. By joining the St Andrews alumni groups, University of St Andrews Alumni and University of St Andrews - Mentorship Programme, you are able to make contact directly with alumni with a LinkedIn profile.
- Careers Alumni Network- a database of St Andrews graduates who have volunteered to offer careers information to existing students.
In 2011, 33% of IR graduates went on to do postgraduate study.
Advisers are able and willing to discuss postgraduate applications - vocational and academic.
Summer internships/work experience
One of the key aspects that often helps graduate recruiters to differentiate between candidates during the selection process is work experience. Students and graduates who have had internships or vacation placements usually have a much better understanding of the roles they are applying for and the industry or business sector they want to join after graduation. High Fliers - The UK Graduate Careers Survey 2012.
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:
- Internationally Orientated - Amnesty International, European, Forum for Democracy and Human Rights, International Political Association, Model United Nations, STAND (Anti-genocide) Stop the War, UNICEF, UNYSA
- UK/Political - Conservative and Unionist, Liberal Democrats, Scottish Nationalist Association
- Professional - Law, Economics Law, Management, Global Investment Group (GIG)
Work experience examples of IR students
|Year of graduation||Organisation/Company||Position|
|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|
- Read a number of case studies written by IR students, on our work experience case studies database.
- If you have undertaken any type of work experience, then why not inspire students by sharing your story.
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.
- Understand the nature and significance of politics as a human activity
- Apply concepts, theories and methods to analysing political ideas, institutions and practices
- Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of different political systems, the nature and distribution of power in them; the social, economic, historical and cultural contexts within which they operate, and the relationships between them
- Evaluate different interpretations of political issues and events
- Understand the nature and significance of politics as a global activity
- Demonstrate an understanding of the origins and evolution of international politics
- Gather, organise and deploy evidence, data and information from secondary and primary sources
- Identify, investigate, analyse, formulate and advocate solutions to problems
- Construct reasoned argument, synthesize information and exercise critical judgement
- Reflect on their own learning and seek and make use of constructive feedback.
- Manage their own learning self-critically
- Communicate effectively and fluently in speech and writing
- Use communication and information technology to retrieve and present information,including statistical or numerical information
- Work independently, demonstrating initiative, self-organization and time-management
- Collaborate with others to achieve common goals
- Prospects: Politics and International Relations
- University of London Careers Group - Getting into International Development
- Department for International Development
- What can I do with this major? this resource has been written from the perspective of US degrees and the US labour market, but is a useful tool to search for information about your chosen field of study.