International Relations - using your degree

From CareersWiki

Revision as of 13:22, 9 April 2012 by Cw (Talk | contribs)
Jump to: navigation, search
St Andrews University Principal, Dr Louise Richardson, has spent her career combining research on terrorism, graduate and undergraduate teaching, and leading organizational change in higher education.



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.

The Careers Centre can provide information on a comprehensive range of careers including those detailed above. There are specialist advisers for different occupational areas. We offer 20 minute drop-in sessions on a first come, first served basis. Drop-in is available for all students and recent graduates of the University of St Andrews on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from 2.00pm - 4.00pm.

Students who are in their penultimate or final year and those studying for a Masters or Phd, can book an appointment with a careers adviser. Booked appointments generally last up to 30 minutes. Visit Careers advice for further details.

Student / Alumni Profiles

Students and alumni from the School of International Relations have kindly agreed to share their experiences of work and other career-related activities with you. These profiles illustrate the wide range of careers, internships, volunteering and other work experience opportunities open to students and alumni from your School. Check regularly to see what's new.

Where Our Graduates Go

YearOrganisation/CompanyPositionInt. Relations Required
2009 Scottish Parliament Parliamentary Intern Not directly
2009 University of Hull PGCE Not directly
2009 University of Edinburgh MSc Arab World Studies Women in the Middle East Yes
2009 News International Newspaper Reporter Not directly
2009 Chatteris Educational Foundation English Teacher Not directly
2009 Ernst & Young IT Risk Associate Not directly
2009 Army Officer Cadet Not directly
2009 University of St Andrews Peace & Conflict Studies Yes
2009 Times of Malta Journalist Not directly
2009 Scottish Government Civil Servant Not directly
2009 Accenture Analyst Not directly
2007 Lovells LLP Trainee Contract - case study Not directly
2007 Survival International Campaigner case study Not directly
2006 Crown Agents Development Policy Research case study Yes
2006 Hiscox Terrorism Underwriter, New York case study Yes
2005(CAN) The Scottish Parliament Policy Researcher Not directly
2004(CAN) Arlington Capital LLC Merchant Banker (USA) Not directly
2003(CAN) US Department of State Diplomat (Tonga) Not directly
1997(CAN) United Nations Press Officer (Geneva) Not directly
1996(CAN) Burns & Levinson LLP Attorney (Boston, USA) Not directly
1995(CAN) Jane's Information Group Senior Consultant (UK) Not directly
1992(CAN) US Fund for UNICEF Deputy Director of Development(New York) Yes
1990(CAN) United Nations Development Programme International Development Officer Yes
1989(CAN) National Geographic Channels Int VP Network Development (Singapore) Not directly

Careers Alumni Network (CAN) indicates these alumni are willing and keen to be contacted to help St Andrews students with their careers search.

Where Our Postgraduates Go

YearOrganisation/CompanyPositionInternational Relations Required
2006 MICS Terrorism Project Researcher Yes
2006 Royal United Services Institute Head of Resilience Yes
2005 Surrey Police Intelligence Researcher Yes
2007 Maplecroft Consultant Not directly
2008 Blackrock Investment Analyst Not directly
2008 Global Strategies Group Co-ordinator Not directly
2009 Department Of Defence Analyst Yes
2010 RAF Officer Cadet Not directly
2010 Kodak Trade Marketing Assistant Not directly


Popular Jobs for International Relations Graduates Nationally

A 2010 HESA survey of 2009 graduates revealed that half of politics and international relations graduates entered employment either in the UK or overseas within six months of graduation. Of those employed, 14% found clerical/secretarial work, 11% took up business and finance roles and a similar 10% secured positions in marketing, sales or advertising. A further 16% gained employment in the commercial, industrial and public sector managerial positions and 19% were working in the retail, catering, waiting and bar work sector.

Typical employers of politics and international relations graduates include local and national government, councils, charities, accountancy and banking organisations, law firms, retail and media companies. Further recruiters include the United Nations (UN), the European Commission, the Civil Service, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), lobbying, campaigning, and voluntary organisations and the public sector.


Summer Internships & Work Experience

It can be very valuable to gain experience of work in various areas, but particularly in those areas that you are considering as a future career.

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)

The table below gives some examples of the experiences of International Relations students.

2007 United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Internship in the Dadaab refugee camps - case study

Employability Profile

Over the course of your degree you develop a good mix of subject specific and transferable core skills (communication, team work, time management, presentation etc). Consider these alongside your other activities, such as paid work, volunteering, family responsibilities, sport, membership of societies, leadership roles, etc. Think about how these can be used as evidence of your skills and personal attributes. Then you can start to market and sell who you really are, identify what you may be lacking and consider how to improve your profile.


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.

This table is able to help you to identify the valuable skills that you can offer to potential employers.

A graduate in International Relations typically will have the ability to:Evidence:
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

International Relations Careers/Employability Link

Each School has a Careers/Employability Link who "champions" employability. Yours is Professor John Anderson . If you have any information you consider important for your fellow students please let him know. Alternatively you can contact the Employability Coordinator for the University, Pamela Andrew,at pea1.

Links to Useful Resources

Personal tools