Online International Studies Degree for an International Relations Career in Washington D.C.

As the nation’s epicenter of global policymaking and advocacy, Washington D.C. is home to headquarters and offices for foreign embassies, policy groups, think tanks, and global nongovernmental organizations dedicated to maintaining strong relationships across national borders.

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From our country’s role in foreign policy to free-market economics and diplomacy, the District of Columbia is at the heart of international relations in the U.S.

International trade supports more than 40 percent of all jobs in Washington D.C. The District is also home to 176 resident embassies, and dedicated international affairs offices within a number of key federal agencies, including:

  • United States Department of Justice
  • United States Department of the Interior
  • Office of the Secretary
  • Department of the Treasury
  • National Telecommunications and Information Administration
  • Department of Energy
  • Federal Trade Commission


Earning a Degree in International Relations in Washington D.C.

Washington D.C. is the ideal location for starting or advancing a career in international relations, which may include:

  • Foreign policy advisors
  • Diplomats
  • Ambassadors
  • Foreign Outreach Workers
  • NGO Managers and Directors
  • Humanitarian Aid Program Directors
  • Interpreters and Translators
  • Intelligence Analysts
  • Security Analysts
  • Immigration Specialists
  • Grant Writers
  • Diplomatic Service Officers

Jobs in international relations in Washington D.C. rely on a strong educational background, achieved through the completion of a bachelor’s or master’s degree with a major in or related to international relations:

Bachelor’s Degrees in International Relations

The undergraduate study of international relations introduces students to issues in foreign policy and international affairs, providing a framework for careers in the private sector, in government, and with nongovernmental organizations.

Bachelor’s degrees with an international relations major may go by a number of names:

  • Bachelor of Arts in International Relations
  • Bachelor of Arts in International Affairs
  • Bachelor of Arts in International Relations and Diplomacy
  • Bachelor of Arts in International Studies

In these programs, the core coursework focuses on:

  • International politics
  • Business
  • International economics
  • Defense issues
  • Developing countries

Many bachelor’s degree programs in international relations also allow students to choose a minor in such areas as:

  • Africa
  • Europe
  • Latin America
  • Asia
  • The Middle East
  • International economics
  • Middle Eastern politics
  • International law

Internships serve as an important part of a bachelor’s degree in international relations. Just a few of the organizations/agencies in Washington D.C. where students may complete an international relations internship include:

  • American Foreign Policy Council
  • National Endowment for Democracy
  • World Affairs Council of America
  • Council on Foreign Relations
  • State Department
  • S. Agency for International Development
  • N. High Commissioner for Refugees
  • Global Rights
  • Global Health Council

A sampling of entry-level international relations jobs in Washington D.C. available to bachelor’s-prepared professionals include:

  • Public affairs officer – multinational manufacturers
  • Research analyst – government intelligence information agencies
  • Public affairs specialist – federal government agencies
  • Compliance specialist – federal government agencies
  • Trade control specialist – multinational manufacturers
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Master’s Degrees in International Relations

Master’s degrees in international relations are for international relations professionals seeking senior-level positions or for those interested in eventually pursing doctoral studies.

In addition to a bachelor’s degree, admission into an IR graduate program often requires (undergraduate major is not typically specified, though certain course prerequisites will be):

  • GRE scores
  • Admission essay
  • Resume
  • Minimum undergraduate GPA

A graduate degree with an international relations major may go by a number of different titles:

  • Master of Arts in International Relations
  • Master of Arts in Foreign Service
  • Masters of Global Affairs and Management
  • Master of Science in International Relations and Development
  • Master of Arts in International Economic Relations
  • Master of Arts in International Communications

A master’s degree in international relations allows students to develop a global perspective on key issues relevant to jobs in government, private industry, and nongovernmental organizations. Within the international relations major, graduate students can focus studies in order to develop expertise in a major region of the world and/or a topic within international relations:

  • Conflict resolution
  • Development and global health
  • Diplomacy
  • International economics

Coursework in these concentrations may include:

Conflict Resolution

  • Divided societies in the modern world
  • International conflict and cooperation
  • Human rights

Development and Global Health

  • Poverty and wealth
  • Sustainable development
  • Critical issues and challenges in global health


  • Practice of diplomacy
  • Public diplomacy
  • Human rights

International Economics

  • Globalization of emerging economies
  • Immigration and labor
  • Leadership and management

Some of the senior-level leadership positions in international relations for master’s-prepared professionals in Washington D.C. include:

  • International trade consultant, international consultancy
  • International trade analyst, international law firm
  • Global business development manager, international marketing company
  • Public affairs specialist, federal government
  • Compliance specialist, federal government
  • Middle East research fellow, center for international studies
  • Foreign affairs officer, federal government


Washington D.C.’s Contribution to International Trade, Security, Development, and Humanitarian Work

Governmental agencies, nonprofit organizations, and private business in Washington D.C. all work to support and advance international relations through a variety of programs and initiatives:

Washington International Trade Association

The Washington International Trade Association is a nonprofit organization that provides a neutral forum for discussing international trade policy and related issues. Today there are more than 1,800 members of the Washington International Trade Association, as well as more than 130 corporate sponsors and group memberships.

Topics include current issues in trade, U.S. trade policy from abroad, and rules and regulations governing international trade.

The Office of Protocol and International Affairs

The Office of Protocol and International Affairs facilitates communications between the U.S. State Department, the diplomatic/international community, neighbors, and other government agencies. Work of this governmental office involves exchanging information, providing assistance, and resolving situations:

  • International and Special Events: The Office plans and organizes special events for the Mayor and supports international events and activities within the District.
  • International Delegations: The Office hosts more than 300 international visiting delegations each year. Many requests originate from the State Department International Visitor Program, an international organization, the embassy, or an overseas government.
  • Courtesy Visits: The Office welcomes ambassadors to Washington D.C. and extends a courtesy visit with the Mayor.
  • Sister Cities: The Sister City partnerships create opportunities in the areas of economic development, education, social, youth and cultural projects, and government administration. The District of Columbia has signed Sister City Agreements with the following cities:
    • Bangkok, Thailand
    • Dakar, Senegal
    • Beijing, China
    • Brussels, Belgium
    • Tshwane, South Africa
    • Paris, France
    • Athens, Greece
    • Seoul, Republic of Korea
    • Accra, Ghana
    • Sunderland, United Kingdom
    • Rome, Italy
    • Ankara, Turkey
    • Brasilia, Brazil
    • Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Council on Foreign Relations

The Council on Foreign Relations’ (CFR) Washington office provides resources for its members, Congress, the administration, the media, and the business community:

  • The Washington Meetings Program: Provides a nonpartisan forum for informed foreign policy debate in the nation’s capital
  • The Congress and U.S. Foreign Policy Program: Brings together policymakers on Capitol Hill; programs include a monthly briefing on foreign policy issues and roundtable discussions
  • The Diplomatic Program: Fosters exchange between foreign representatives and CFR members
  • Corporate Program: Serves as an international membership of more than 180 companies, which organizes roundtable discussions, workshops, and conference calls
  • The Think Tank: Home to more than 20 research fellows and special programs, such as:
    • The Center for Preventive Action
    • Independent Task Forces

Center for Strategic and International Studies

The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) provides strategic insights and bipartisan policy solutions. The work of CSIS, one of the world’s preeminent international policy institutions, focuses on:

  • Defense and security
  • Regional stability
  • Transnational challenges, including global development and economic integration

American Foreign Policy Council

The American Foreign Policy Council (AFPC) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to bringing information to those who make or influence foreign policy in the U.S. The AFPC is also a source of analysis on issues of foreign policy.

Office for Trade Promotion, International Trade Center

The Office for Trade Promotion is the programming arm of the International Trade Center, which is the largest structure in Washington D.C. It is the first and only federal building dedicated to both government and private use. It brings together the best public and private resources to create a national forum for the advancement of trade.

Washington Council on International Trade

The Washington Council on International Trade (WCIT) is the only organization in Washington that is dedicated to advocating for public policies that increase D.C.’s international competiveness.

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Organizations Committed to International Relations in Washington D.C.

Washington D.C. has made a significant contribution to global relations through such organizations as:

Humanitarian Organizations

Nonprofit Organizations

Governmental Agencies

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