New York Online International Studies Degree for a Career in International Relations

Although best known as a global hub of business, trade, finance, and commercial capital, New York is also a crucial center for international outreach, global security and humanitarian aid. As home to the headquarters of the United Nations, New York City also serves as global/regional headquarters for many important players in the field of international development, human rights, and humanitarian aid:

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  • Oxfam International – 355 Lexington Avenue
  • Save the Children International – 777 United Nations Plaza
  • Amnesty International – 5 Penn Plaza
  • American Civil Liberties Union – 125 Broad Street
  • World Food Program – 733 3rd Avenue
  • Peace Corps – 201 Varick Street, Suite 1025

Organizations like these play an important role in exporting the values and ideals of the United States to the outside world. International relations professionals engage the global community in conversations about diplomacy, trade, humanitarian, environmental and security concerns.

In addition to working with the UN and international aid organizations, New York also has several federal, state, and municipal agencies devoted to promoting international relations:

  • Empire State International Business Division
  • New York City Mayor’s Office for International Affairs
  • US Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs’ Office of International Visitors
  • Global NY – a state business initiative launched by the governor


Earning the Right Degree for a Career in International Relations

New York is home to many of the nation’s leading colleges and universities that offer undergraduate and graduate degrees in international relations. From the Ivy League to state and private schools, these programs are offered online as well as in a traditional classroom setting.

The starting point for many careers in the field of international relations is a bachelor’s degree. Opportunities for advanced positions of greater influence often require a master’s degree or higher in this field.

With these qualifications professionals can search the marketplace for jobs with agencies like the Peace Corps, United Nations, Amnesty International, Global NY, and many other state, private, and non-profit organizations.

Graduates of international relations programs often go on to become:

  • 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

Bachelor’s Degree in International Relations

BA and BS degree programs in the field of international relations include some title variations under the general major:

  • BA/BS in International Relations
  • BA/BS in International Studies
  • BA/BS in International Relations and Global Politics
  • BA/BS in International Relations and Pacific Studies
  • BA/BS in International Relations and Diplomacy

Most programs offer a general major in international relations, with some allowing for a specialized focus or minor. Students who study for a master’s degree in this field will have a greater opportunity to focus on a particular aspect of international relations.

Bachelor’s degree programs will generally begin with two years of prerequisite undergraduate courses that include:

  • Micro and macroeconomics
  • Analytic mathematics
  • Western civilizations
  • International politics
  • Quantitative methods in political science
  • Behavioral science statistics
  • Social research

Upon completing the credit and course requirements, students can then declare a major in their field of international relations and spend their remaining two years completing upper-division core courses for their major:

  • Foreign languages
  • Study abroad programs
  • EU structures and institutions
  • Globalization and world politics
  • Ethics in the global economy
  • Modern terrorism
  • Conflict and negotiation

Having a bachelor’s degree in international relations can qualify students for jobs like:

  • Foreign Service Officer
  • Foreign Delegation Advisor
  • Program Associate
  • Climate Scientist
  • Foreign Correspondent
  • Immigration Specialist
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Master’s Degree in International Relations

A master’s degree in the field of international relations can unlock advanced career opportunities such as these:

  • Civil Affairs Manager
  • Professor of International Relations
  • Humanitarian Affairs Officer
  • Global Partnership Manager
  • Crisis Response Consultant

The first topic of consideration for prospective graduate students is admission requirements. Each graduate program will have its own admission standards, with common requirements including:

  • Minimum GPA, cumulatively and in core courses
  • Completion of a bachelor’s degree
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Official academic transcripts
  • GRE results
  • Statement of professional and academic purpose

The core graduate courses that are common to many international relations programs cover subjects such as:

  • US foreign policy
  • American primacy
  • International law
  • World peace and order
  • International political economy
  • Strategy games in politics
  • National security
  • International relations

Graduate students will then focus their studies on a specific concentration such as:

  • Global security
  • International development and economics
  • National security and foreign policy
  • International negotiation and conflict resolution
  • Global health politics
  • Global environment and climate


New York as a Leader in International Trade, Security, Development, and Humanitarian Aid

As a leader in trade, security, diplomacy, and humanitarian efforts for the nation and the global community, New York offers exciting opportunities for professionals in the international relations field.

Global Security

New York City was a target on September 11th in part because of its status as a global security hub. International relations professionals are important component of this equation, working with global security organizations in the state such as:

  • Global Security Group
  • Global Security and Investigative Services
  • Global Elite Group
  • World Policy Institute
  • Social Science Research Council
  • Global Center on Cooperative Security
  • Council on Foreign Relations

Trade and Finance

International relations professionals work on the frontlines as well as behind the scenes of the nation’s trade issues. According to the US Department of Commerce, New York has some of the largest trade relationships of all states:

  • Canada – imported $14.3 billion worth of New York products in 2014
  • Hong Kong – imported $10.8 billion worth of New York products in 2014
  • Switzerland – imported $9.1 billion worth of New York products in 2014
  • Israel – imported $6.4 billion worth of New York products in 2014
  • United Kingdom – imported 6.2 billion worth of New York products in 2014

New York is also the center of international trade policy development, and is home to such institutions as:

  • World Trade Center
  • Women’s World Banking
  • New York Stock Exchange
  • Greater New York Chamber of Commerce
  • Federal Reserve Bank of New York

United Nations

The United Nations is the preeminent organization dedicated to global diplomacy, security and humanitarian efforts, as well as additional issues that depend on international relations. Headquartered in New York, some examples of UN programs include:

  • United Nations Children’s Fund – UNICEF
  • United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees – UNHCR
  • World Food Program – WFP
  • United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime – UNODC
  • United Nations Conference on Trade and Development – UNCTAD
  • UN Women
  • World Bank
  • International Monetary Fund – IMF
  • World Health Organization – WHO
  • World Meteorological Association – WMO
  • United Nations Office for Disaster Reduction – UNISDR


International Relations Professionals at Work in New York

Just a few examples of careers in the field of international relations found in New York include (provided as illustrative examples only, surveyed in June of 2015):

Program Officer for Global Freedom of Expression at Columbia University – This professional works with the Freedom of Expression program, conducting research analysis and reporting about international freedom and jurisprudence. The incumbent will also coordinate and organize meetings on these topics.

A bachelor’s degree is required, and a master’s degree in International Relations is preferred.

Civil Affairs Office with the United Nations – This professional is responsible for developing policies and programs on civil affairs and related subjects for peacekeeping operations. The incumbent is also responsible for gathering and analyzing data on these policies and programs.

A master’s degree or higher is required in a field such as International Relations, Political Science, Public Administration, or Law.

Global Partnerships Manager with Girl Rising – This professional is responsible for building and managing high-level partnerships with important global partners for this non-profit organization. This will be done with the underlying goal of bringing lasting change to issues concerning violence and oppression against girls and women through the media of storytelling and film production.

A relevant bachelor’s degree is required for this position, while having a master’s degree in a field related to International Relations or Public Policy is preferred.

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Governmental and Non-Governmental Organizations in New York Dedicated to International Relations Efforts

Tomorrow’s leaders in international relations can find resources today with many New York-based governmental, private, and non-profit organizations such as the following:



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