Certificate in International Relations: Program Information

Oct 15, 2019

Certificate programs in international relations are offered at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Programs may enhance a current degree path like business, and many students extend their professional expertise to the global arena.

Essential Information

Certificate programs in international relations allow students to study international communities and global issues, and may be valuable for students seeking an international career. At the undergraduate level, certificates are typically designed to be completed alongside baccalaureate programs in fields such as business, economics or hospitality. A graduate certificate, on the other hand, would be designed for working professionals or post-grads who are interested in advancing their careers or gaining an edge over other job-seekers in the global business world. Graduate certificates typically require an internship.

Prerequisites for an undergraduate certification include a high school diploma or GED, prerequisite courses in areas such as business communications and English (varies), and 2 years of foreign language study (varies) for undergraduate certificate; oral and written proficiency in English and prerequisite coursework for graduate certificates.

Undergraduate Certificate in International Relations

These programs are typically offered by 4-year universities and are often meant to supplement a degree program in business or a related field. An undergraduate certificate program in international relations typically enhances a student's knowledge of the global system through the study of complex economic, social and environmental international processes. In addition, students may examine the individual and community life of people throughout the world. Core courses should cover global studies, foreign policy and economic structures. Topics may also include:

  • International institutions
  • Rich and poor nations in the international system
  • War and peace in world politics
  • International security
  • Culture and world politics
  • The U.S. and world affairs

Graduate Certificate in International Relations

A graduate certificate program in international relations should provide students with a more thorough understanding of world politics, culture and economics. Such programs often consist of 12-15 credit hours, which can often be put towards a graduate degree in a related field. In addition to completing courses in theory, students may be required to complete an internship. Other programs are designed for working professionals who are interested in expanding their knowledge of global business and affairs. Many universities offering graduate programs in international relations require students to complete at least six credits worth of courses that are at the 600-level or above. Some advanced course options might include:

  • World systems and history
  • Global competition
  • International relations and policy
  • Diplomacy and statecraft
  • Political economy
  • Economic development policy

Popular Career Options

As a result of the program, students might be prepared to pursue a career working across national borders. In addition, students might consider becoming a political or social activist or working as a volunteer in a non-governmental international organization. Career opportunities may exist in a variety of settings, such as:

  • Foreign service organizations
  • International institutions
  • International businesses
  • Tourism agencies

Employment Outlook

A graduate certificate in international relations can prepare students for several careers, including those of intelligence and management analysts, mediators and business managers of international affairs. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the employment of management analysts, in general, is predicted to grow by 14%, which is faster than average, between 2018 - 2028 (''). Employment opportunities should be highest in those consulting firms with expertise in international relations. As U.S. management companies expand their operations overseas, they will look to hire more management analysts with knowledge of international policies and affairs. Management analysts made a median annual wage of $83,610 in May 2018, according to the BLS.

Continuing Education Information

Students may want to pursue a bachelor's degree program in international studies. Those students wishing to advance their education to the master's degree level might consider a program in public policy, international affairs or business.

The most common degree plan for those interested in international affairs is the graduate certification for those working in business, international relations or non-governmental international organizations. Undergraduate and graduate certifications will enhance your ability to work for global businesses.

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