International Politics Courses

By Mariza Halliday - Last update

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What is International Politics?

International Politics involves the art of preserving or securing goals of national interests by using control over other nations. It is the process by which each nation tries to safeguard and secure its interests in conditions of conflict with other nations.

Essentially, International Politics is about the world we live in, the challenges we face, power and struggles, and the opportunities and the obstacles for relations among peoples, societies, states, organizations.

What 3rd level courses are available?

Universities and colleges in Ireland are offering courses in International Politics in the following subject areas:

  • Diploma in Politics and Government – An introduction to understanding Politics and different types of government.
  • Bachelor of Arts in Humanities Joint Major: Sociology and Politics – This course lets you examine our society, its structure, its organizations, and ask questions about the complexities of this social world.
  • Ireland and Europe: Current Affairs, Politics and the Role of the Citizen Course – This course is for those interested in understanding how current affairs, local, national and European government works.
  • Power, Dissent, Equality: Understanding Contemporary Politics – A look at politics and exploration of institutions and ideas from parliament and the inner workings of power to decision making, protest and the street.
  • International History (M.Phil.) – Study transnational, comparative and international approaches to history and have the opportunity to study foreign languages, cultures, and societies.
  • MA in International Security and Conflict Studies – This course aims to set out the foundations for the study of security, conflict, and peace.
  • MA in International Relations – The study of issues such as international politics, human rights, the economy, communications, trade, area studies, and environmental protection.

Studying International Politics

There are many courses in International Politics that may take place over a few days, weeks or even 1 year to 4 years depending on the course and modules selected. There are also part-time courses and night courses available so you can be sure to fit in your studies no matter what your schedule is like.

Courses will cover theory work through lectures, assignments, tutorials and taught modules. Assessments will take place on a continuous basis with written examinations and practical assignments combined in order to achieve a qualification.

You could also consider work experience, a work shadow in the industry or running for office within student unions or local government. This demonstrates initiative and can provide leadership experience and opportunities to further develop written and oral communication skills. Relevant work experience is a good way of demonstrating a genuine interest in the field and is regarded favorably by employers.

Work Experience will not only give you the opportunity to obtain a deeper knowledge and understanding of the industry, it will also give you a chance to do some essential networking with other industry professionals and gain valuable contacts for the future.

Career options

After completing an International Politics course you will be able to get started in a career that uses specific knowledge of politics and international relations.

Within the field of International Politics, you may choose to specialize in a country, region, type of risk or business area, progressing to become an expert in your field. This could lead to writing and media opportunities and providing consultancy on a freelance basis.

International Politics students have gone onto careers in areas such as national civil services, journalism, non-governmental organizations, politics, teaching, security forces, social and political research, law, international organizations, and many others.

If you would like to start in an analyst or associate role, your work would be primarily research and analysis. After two to three years you’re likely to move into a more senior position, where you’d be leading projects and having more contact with clients. From there you could progress to managing a political risk team or division, and become more involved in business development and managing operations.

Your skills and experience will also be highly transferable. For example, you could move into financial/credit risk analysis or management in the private sector. You could also go on to work in security or crisis management, or to research and policy roles within government.

Movement between roles and employers is also common, so you could develop by gaining experience working in different business areas or with different types of clients.

The focus of your role will depend on who you work for. Some positions are generalist spreading across several areas while others are more specialized.

Working hours will depend on whether you are self-employed, employed by a company with set business hours or if you are contracted to various businesses or companies. Working hours vary depending on your role and employer, but you’ll typically work Monday to Friday during normal office hours.

Some roles will also involve travel or periods spent working overseas, which can often mean working additional and unsociable hours.

Related jobs include:

  • Political risk analyst
  • Politician
  • Politician’s assistant
  • Local government officer
  • Civil Service Fast Streamer
  • Government social research officer
  • Policy officer
  • Public affairs consultant
  • Social researcher
  • Business development manager
  • Charity officer
  • Diplomatic service officer
  • Forensic accountant
  • Human resources officer
  • Market researcher
  • Marketing executive
  • Newspaper journalist
  • Public relations officer
  • Stockbroker

Further study

After completing a course in International Politics you may choose to pursue further study in a specialist field to increase your knowledge base and skill set. Postgraduate study can also be used as a means to change career focus or to gain professional qualifications required to practice in certain career areas such as Law, Government, Law enforcement, Education, Environmental politics, Human rights, International relations, International security, Political communication, advocacy and campaigning and Politics.


What is the importance of International Politics?

Studying international relations is a great way to gain a deeper understanding of global issues. It’s an intriguing and important subject that places great emphasis on economics, culture, education, and political science and examines the impact they have on society.

As the world becomes increasingly globalized, it is essential for us to develop the ability to understand the effects of globalization and other forces like populism, and how they impact regions and the decision of policymakers and leaders.

What skills could be helpful for a career in International Politics?

Studying politics enables you to develop specific subject knowledge, such as how different political systems work, how organizations such as the World Trade Organization and the United Nations operate and to interpret global political issues and events.

A degree in politics also gives you many useful transferable skills including the ability to research, source and examine information thoroughly; the capacity to critically analyze evidence and construct coherent arguments; excellent written and oratory skills; intellectual independence and autonomy; team working skills and a flexible and open-minded approach to work.

Where can I study International Politics?

Explore your options here

 Did You Know?

  • The word “politics” first appeared in English around 1460 as the title of a book by Aristotle. By the 16th century, ‘politics’ referred to the administration and organization of the state.
  • Bolivia holds the highest turnover of governments. Since their independence from Spain in 1825, Bolivia has had almost 200 governments. Since 1945, Italy saw more than 50 governments and more than 20 Prime Ministers.
  • The oldest existing governing body operates in Althing in Iceland. It was established in 930 AD.
  • Although the United States of America was established in 1776 the first American president ever to visit Europe while in office was Woodrow Wilson in 1918.
  • The European Union was founded in 1957 as the European Economic Community. It then became the EC (European Community) and in 1993 the EU (European Union).

Mariza Halliday

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