Everything About International Relations Major

The “International Relations” specialization studies all the relations that bind all countries. This field is considered one of its most interesting studies. It is a mixture of global economics, politics, and law. There are many terms used to express this specialization, and the most important of which is “foreign affairs”. The history of this scientific field dates back to the emergence of man, and later became a theoretical science based on scientific studies and facts. And it became specifically in the early twentieth century a scientific field separate from other sciences with which it is closely related.

What is the specialty of international relations?

International relations are a branch of political science, and international relations is concerned with the study of all phenomena that transcend international borders, and that specialization was not found only to study and analyze political matters. It is also concerned with various dimensions that include the economic, ideological, cultural and social dimensions.

What are the dimensions of the international relations specialization?

The International Relations specialization draws many tools that serve the field from political science, social sciences, humanities in general, psychology, sociology, geography, history, international law, and economics in particular. So let’s get to know these disciplines quickly:

Psychology: The main goal of psychologists is to understand the mechanism of action of the human brain that affects the behaviors of individuals in society. It also studies thoughts and feelings; It does not only study external matters and behaviors! In a nutshell, psychology can be considered a specialty that gives its owners the ability to understand and discover people’s behavior, and to predict future behavior for them based on scientific methods and foundations. It is worth noting that the main goal of the psychology major is to identify the psychological problems that people face and to work to find appropriate solutions to them.

Sociology: Sociology specialization aims to make students researchers, specialists, and social guides by giving them information that would make them aware of the fundamentals, structures, and social phenomena of societies, whether on the local, regional, or global levels, in order to understand and analyze human behavior. It also aims to equip students with scientific skills in the course of social research in order to be active individuals in social and national development. It helps the world and people to understand their social and psychological problems, and thus, to solve them.

Geography: It is defined as the discipline that studies everything related to the earth and its characteristics, population, in addition to the natural phenomena that occur on the earth and in space. Geography is concerned with understanding and studying the Earth, along with its inhabitants, and its natural phenomena. In other words, it is the study of the universe and its properties in a coordinated, organized fashion. It also shares, and overlaps the specialization of geography with other disciplines that play a large role in influencing the factor, or geographical character. Among those disciplines: economics, health, climate, plants, agriculture, and animals.

History: A study specializing in history provides you with complete knowledge of the history of all civilizations, including Arab and Islamic civilizations, and the civilizations of the contemporary world. It also provides an account of all the historical events that occurred in various countries, as well as the sciences. However, the discipline of history focuses primarily on political aspects and experiences. Specialization is also concerned with providing students with all the necessary knowledge about civilizations, their philosophy, their historical events, their activities, their social principles, in addition to their psychological foundations and behaviors.

Economics: It aims to qualify students and provide them with the necessary knowledge and information in the theoretical and applied fields of economics, in order to meet the needs and requirements of the labor market locally and internationally. Now, learn about the most important features that should be enjoyed by everyone who intends to study this major at the university level.

Personal characteristics of international relations students

Each of us has tendencies, interests, and aspirations, in addition to personal traits and qualifications that are a primary motivation for us to choose the major and the university path we want to take. Those who have a tendency in the basic tripartite sciences represented in the social sciences, humanities, and political sciences can enroll in any of the following majors:

  • Social Innovation.
  • Political Sciences.
  • Sociology.
  • Social Work.
  • Psychology.
  • History.
  • Rights – Law.

These majors share the qualities that qualify their owners to study any of them. However, there are some features that specialize in each discipline separately. Based on that, here is a list of the most important qualities that those wishing to attend study seats for the International Relations major must not abandon:

  • Ability to communicate with the local community.
  • Communication skills with different groups of people.
  • Slow down before making decisions.
  • Attention to the last detail.
  • Exercise a professional work ethic.
  • Finding the skill of communicating ideas in the right way.
  • Organizational skills.

Among the most important practical skills that international relations specialization needs are:

  • Analytical skills; This is due to the politicians ’need to collect data and information, interpret them, analyze them, and evaluate them through the use of research methods, whether quantitative or qualitative.
  • Skills of critical thinking and constructive thinking; This is due to the importance of policy-makers having the ability to support or criticize ideas, to look at bad and prevailing ideas, and try to change them in order to reduce the negative dangers that may affect societies.
  • Writing skills; This is because it is among the basic skills that must be possessed by the owners of this specialization, especially those whose work tasks include writing research papers, reports, articles, and discussion papers on political problems, and international and foreign affairs.
  • communication skills; This is due to the need to discuss research and international matters.
  • Creative Skills: It is important for politicians to be able to come up with new ideas in order to come up with solutions to problems.

As for scientific skills:

  • Good background in economics.
  • Good background in law and international law.
  • Good background in history.

Political Science and International Relations

The International Relations major is classified within the Department of Political Science and has a lot to do with international studies and foreign affairs, as well as humanities and social sciences, history, geography, anthropology, psychology, and criminology.

Study plan for the International Relations major

The academic content of the International Relations major discusses many different, global, and international topics. The curricula differ from one country to another. Hence, from one university to another. However, the specialization aims fundamentally to study the relations between the countries of the whole world, to discuss the most pressing issues in the world, and to find solutions to them.

In the face of inclusiveness, the major’s academic content deals with the issue of globalization, diplomatic relations, international sovereignty, international security, patriotism, nationalism, human rights, economic development, global finance, and terrorism.

Subjects in international relations

Now, we show you a list of the subjects that students of the specialization in international relations study, according to most universities:

  • Introduction to International Relations 
  • Introduction to Political Science.
  • An Introduction to Political Philosophy.
  • Introduction to Law.
  • International Security.
  • Theory of International Relations.
  • International Political Economic.
  • Diplomacy.

Note that the list only shows you the compulsory specialization courses, apart from the university requirements and specialization requirements, which vary between compulsory, optional, support, free, and perhaps additional in some cases.

You may read: What You Need to Know About Becoming an International Relations and National Security Studies Major

The number of years of studying international relations major

It takes not more than four years to graduate from most departments of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. Thus, the duration of the study stage for a bachelor’s degree in the major of international relations lasts from three and a half years to four, as this depends on the number of hours and semesters that the male and female students deduct.

In general, the bachelor’s stage means a period of time that takes from three to five academic years, no more or less, because the number of hours that students take in undergraduate majors varies between 127 to 135 study hours, with the exception of medical and engineering majors.

The percentage of demand for the major in international relations and the rate of stagnation

The future of international relations specialization,

Some countries suffer from the presence of stagnant and saturated specialties, while others have several required specialties. So let’s get to know the countries in which the specialization of international relations is required and vice versa.

First, what does the demand for specialization mean?

Specialization is required when the labor market in a country needs it, and thus, its graduates are able to find a job.

What is meant by stagnation and saturation?

Stagnation and saturation mean that specialization has reached the point of sufficiency in the labor market in a country, and therefore, it is difficult for its graduates to find a job.

The international relations major is not widely required in the labor market, as this specialization was not mentioned in the list of specializations needed by the market during the next ten years. It was also not ranked among the most sought-after specializations in the labor market in countries such as the European Union. It is also stagnant in Arab countries such as Oman, Kuwait, and Bahrain. But it is wanted in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and the Emirates from an administrative point of view.

Advantages of studying international relations specialization

  1. Expanding political perceptions, and gaining rich knowledge of human rights and foreign affairs.
  2. Increase the level of political awareness in the country.
  3. Ability to travel abroad.
  4. The major has interesting content.
  5. Discussing various social, economic, and political issues in a transparent and democratic manner.
  6. Helping people, listening to their problems and issues.

The disadvantages of studying international relations major

  1. Some people think that it is a negative specialty and exposes its owner to danger.
  2. Working long hours.
  3. The constant need and necessity for learning and reading.
  4. An international relations graduate needs to allocate additional time for specific cases.
  5. Some believe that specialization is not important.
  6. Specialization is stagnant in most countries of the Arab world.

Work fields of international relations specialization

  • Director of Public Relations.
  • Public Relations expert.
  • An employee of the diplomatic corps.
  • An employee in the embassies.
  • An employee of the United Nations.
  • Ministries employee.
  • Political scientist.
  • Journalist.
  • Political activist.
  • Content writer.
  • A lawyer or legal assistant.
  • Teacher of political science and international relations in schools and universities

The best universities that teach the major of international relations in the world

According to studies prepared by Foreignpolicy, United States universities are distinguished as the best universities in the world in terms of awarding a bachelor’s degree in the field of international relations, get to know them now:

  • Harvard University.
  • Princeton University.
  • Stanford University.
  • Georgetown University.
  • Columbia University.
  • Yale University.
  • The University of Chicago.
  • George Washington University.
  • American University.
  • The University of California, Berkeley.
  • University of California, San Diego.

 Books every student of International Relations should read

  • Kenneth Waltz, Man, the State, and War.
  • Jared Diamond, Guns, Germs, and Steel.
  • Thomas Schelling, Arms and Influence.
  • James Scott, Seeing Like a State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed.
  •  David Halberstam, The Best and the Brightest.
  •  Robert Jervis, Perception and Misperception in International Politics.
  •  John J. Mearsheimer, The Tragedy of Great Power Politics.
  •  Ernst Gellner, Nations and Nationalism.
  •  Henry A. Kissinger, White House Years & Years of Upheaval.
  •  Karl Polanyi, The Great Transformation.

Finally, International relations has become one of the most important branches of political science, and it enjoys unique and unparalleled importance as it is one of the disciplines that aspire to consider international and foreign affairs and matters, which link the countries of the whole world at the same time.

Do not hesitate to take the seats in International Relations, where politicians and international relations graduates are among the most influential people.