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International Relations & Security Major

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International Relations & Security

9,653 Bachelor's Degrees Annually
4,724 Master's Degrees Annually
#53 in Popularity
$115,300 Median Salary

Types of Degrees International Relations & Security Majors Are Getting

The following table lists how many international relations and national security graduations there were in 2017-2018 for each degree level.

Education Level Number of Grads
Bachelor’s Degree 9,653
Master’s Degree 4,724
Graduate Certificate 300
Basic Certificate 81
Doctor’s Degree 79
Associate’s Degree 59
Undergraduate Certificate 12

What International Relations & Security Majors Need to Know

In an O*NET survey, international relations majors were asked to rate what knowledge areas, skills, and abilities were important in their occupations. These answers were weighted on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being the most important.

Knowledge Areas for International Relations Majors

International Relations majors often go into careers in which the following knowledge areas are important:

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  • 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

international relations majors are found most commonly in careers in which the following skills are important:

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  • 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

As a international relations major, you will find yourself needing the following abilities:

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  • 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
Compliance Managers 8.0% $107,480
Investment Fund Managers 8.0% $107,480
Political Science Professors 10.4% $83,370
Political Scientists 2.7% $117,570
Regulatory Affairs Managers 8.0% $107,480
Security Managers 8.0% $107,480
Supply Chain Managers 8.0% $107,480

Who Is Getting a Bachelor’s Degree in International Relations & Security?

9,653 Bachelor's Degrees Annually
61% Percent Women
33% Percent Racial-Ethnic Minorities
This is a less frequently chosen undergraduate major. Only 9,653 students graduated with a bachelor’s degree in international relations and national security in 2018, making it rank #53 in popularity. The major attracts more women than men. About 61% of the recent graduates in this field are female.

Racial-Ethnic Diversity

At the countrywide level, the racial-ethnic distribution of international relations majors is as follows:

Racial-Ethnic Diversity of International Relations Students with Bachelor's Degrees
Race/Ethnicity Number of Grads
Asian 697
Black or African American 575
Hispanic or Latino 1,443
White 5,309
International Students 909
Other Races/Ethnicities 720

Geographic Diversity

Americans aren’t the only ones with an interest in International Relations. About 9.4% of those with this major are international students. The most popular countries for students from outside the country are:

  • China
  • South Korea
  • Japan
  • India
  • Canada

How Much Do International Relations & Security Majors Make?

Bachelor’s Degree Starting Salary

The median starting salary of students who graduated in 2015-2017 with a bachelor’s degree in international relations was $32,200 per year. These stats come from the U.S. Department of Education. During this timeframe, most salaries fell between $26,900 (25th percentile) and $37,500 (75th percentile).

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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.

Median Salary for an International Relations & Security Major  ( 99480 to 115590 )
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Median Salary for a High School Graduate  ( 30000 to 57900 )
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250K
Median Salary for a Bachelor's Degree Holder  ( 45600 to 99000 )
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250K
Median Salary for an Advanced Degree Holder  ( 55600 to 125400 )
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250K

Some degrees associated with international relations may require an advanced degree, while others may not even require a bachelor’s in the field. 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.

Find out what the typical degree level is for international relations careers below.

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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%
Bachelor’s Degree 40.1%
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%
Master’s Degree 19.6%
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%
Doctoral Degree 29.9%
Post-Doctoral Training 0.6%

Online International Relations & Security Programs

In 2017-2018, 465 schools offered a international relations program of some type. 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) 4 0
Certificate (2-4 Years) 0 0
Associate’s Degree 26 0
Bachelor’s Degree 36 7
Post-Baccalaureate 15 0
Master’s Degree 110 24
Post-Master’s 7 0
Doctor’s Degree (Research) 18 1
Doctor’s Degree (Professional Practice) 0 0
Doctor’s Degree (Other) 0 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!

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You may also be interested in one of the following majors related to international relations.

Major Number of Grads
Economics 47,528
Political Science & Government 44,651
Sociology 37,615
General Social Sciences 19,123
Anthropology 12,008
Criminology 9,624
Geography & Cartography 8,717
Other Social Sciences 2,935
Urban Studies 1,524
Sociology & Anthropology 499
Archeology 335
Demography & Population Studies 76
Rural Sociology 33

References

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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