International Relations & Security
Types of Degrees International Relations & Security Majors Are Getting
The following table lists how many international relations and national security graduations there were in 2018-2019 for each degree level.
|Education Level||Number of Grads|
What International Relations & Security Majors Need to Know
O*NET surveyed people in occupations related to international relations and asked them what knowledge areas, skills, and abilities were important for their jobs. The responses were rated on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being most important.
Knowledge Areas for International Relations Majors
International Relations majors often go into careers in which the following knowledge areas are important:
- English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
- Law and Government - Knowledge of laws, legal codes, court procedures, precedents, government regulations, executive orders, agency rules, and the democratic political process.
- Education and Training - Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
- Administration and Management - Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
- Customer and Personal Service - Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
Skills for International Relations Majors
The following list of skills has been highlighted as some of the most essential for careers related to international relations:
- Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
- Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
- Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
- Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
- Writing - Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
Abilities for International Relations Majors
A major in international relations will prepare for your careers in which the following abilities are important:
- Written Comprehension - The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
- Oral Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
- Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
- Written Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
- Inductive Reasoning - The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
What Can You Do With a International Relations & Security Major?
Below is a list of occupations associated with international relations:
|Job Title||Job Growth Rate||Median Salary|
|Investment Fund Managers||8.0%||$107,480|
|Political Science Professors||10.4%||$83,370|
|Regulatory Affairs Managers||8.0%||$107,480|
|Supply Chain Managers||8.0%||$107,480|
Who Is Getting a Master’s Degree in International Relations & Security?
At the countrywide level, the racial-ethnic distribution of international relations majors is as follows:
|Race/Ethnicity||Number of Grads|
|Black or African American||273|
|Hispanic or Latino||477|
Americans aren’t the only ones with an interest in International Relations. About 22.3% of those with this major are international students. The most popular countries for students from outside the country are:
- South Korea
How Much Do International Relations & Security Majors Make?
Master’s Degree Starting Salary
Data from the U.S. Department of Education shows that international relations and national security students who graduated in 2015-2017 with a master’s degree made a median starting salary of $52,300 per year. During this timeframe, most salaries fell between $46,400 (25th percentile) and $61,100 (75th percentile).
It is possible that some of these people may have taken positions that were not related to international relations.
Salaries According to BLS
International Relations majors often go into careers where salaries can range from $99,480 to $115,590 (25th to 75th percentile). This range includes all degree levels, so the salary for a person with just a bachelor’s degree may be a little less and the one for a person with an advanced degree may be a little more.
To put that into context, according to BLS data from the first quarter of 2020, the typical high school graduate makes between $30,000 and $57,900 a year (25th through 75th percentile). The average person with a bachelor’s degree (any field) makes between $45,600 and $99,000. Advanced degree holders make the most with salaries between $55,600 and $125,400.
Amount of Education Required for Careers Related to International Relations & Security
Some careers associated with international relations require an advanced degree while some may not even require a bachelor’s. In general, the more advanced your degree the more career options will open up to you. However, there is significant time and money that needs to be invested into your education so weigh the pros and cons.
How much schooling do you really need to compete in today’s job market? People currently working in careers related to international relations have obtained the following education levels.
|Education Level||Percentage of Workers|
|High School Diploma - or the equivalent (for example, GED)||1.2%|
|Post-Secondary Certificate - awarded for training completed after high school (for example, in agriculture or natural resources, computer services, personal or culinary services, engineering technologies, healthcare, construction trades, mechanic and repair technologies, or precision production)||1.4%|
|Some College Courses||0.2%|
|Associate’s Degree (or other 2-year degree)||3.5%|
|Post-Baccalaureate Certificate - awarded for completion of an organized program of study; designed for people who have completed a Baccalaureate degree but do not meet the requirements of academic degrees carrying the title of Master.||1.7%|
|Post-Master’s Certificate - awarded for completion of an organized program of study; designed for people who have completed a Master’s degree but do not meet the requirements of academic degrees at the doctoral level.||1.4%|
|First Professional Degree - awarded for completion of a program that: requires at least 2 years of college work before entrance into the program, includes a total of at least 6 academic years of work to complete, and provides all remaining academic requirements to begin practice in a profession.||0.9%|
Online International Relations & Security Programs
In the 2018-2019 academic year, 470 schools offered some type of international relations and national security program. The following table lists the number of programs by degree level, along with how many schools offered online courses in the field.
|Degree Level||Colleges Offering Programs||Colleges Offering Online Classes|
|Certificate (Less Than 1 Year)||15||0|
|Certificate (1-2 years)||5||0|
|Certificate (2-4 Years)||0||0|
|Doctor’s Degree (Research)||19||2|
|Doctor’s Degree (Professional Practice)||0||0|
|Doctor’s Degree (Other)||1||0|
Is a Degree in International Relations & Security Worth It?
The median salary for a international relations grad is $115,300 per year. This is based on the weighted average of the most common careers associated with the major.
This is 189% more than the average salary for an individual holding a high school degree. This adds up to a gain of about $1,508,000 after 20 years!
Majors Related to International Relations & Security
You may also be interested in one of the following majors related to international relations.
|Major||Number of Grads|
|Political Science & Government||47,035|
|General Social Sciences||19,694|
|Geography & Cartography||8,673|
|Other Social Sciences||2,729|
|Sociology & Anthropology||543|
|Demography & Population Studies||77|
- College Factual
- College Scorecard
- National Center for Education Statistics
- O*NET Online
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
- Usual Weekly Earnings of Wage and Salary Workers First Quarter 2020
- Image Credit: By RepubFan12 under License
More about our data sources and methodologies.