What to study if you’re into international affairs and politics

French universities
Source: AFP

An interest in international affairs and politics begins with a keen sense of awareness of the world around you, and the desire to better it. Studying global issues in depth at university then trains you to understand the intersections between economics, culture, and education. These form the building blocks of your political education.

If you have the vision for international affairs and politics — and the drive to see it through — building a career out of it can be rewarding in many ways. Though leaders from various academic backgrounds enrich the political landscape today, a degree in administration and policy will best equip you to navigate this space. Here are the top programmes you could consider.

International Relations

Earning a bachelor’s qualification in International Relations is one of the most popular pathways into the world of politics. Here’s where you dive deeper into the socio-historical impact of global development, studying how and why it manifests differently in various systems. Harvard University, London School of Economics, Sciences Po, and the Australian National University are among the top institutions for this course. As for job prospects, this course will equip you with the skills to become an analyst, specialist, or diplomat.

Political Science

A PoliSci degree calls for a keen interest to critically analyse current events, as well as the oratory skills to debate them. You will cover the spectrum of international affairs and politics from a social science perspective, including the dynamics of power, law, and war. By the time you graduate, you will be ready to specialise in media, law, or public policy.

international affairs and politics

(L-R) President of Ghana, Nana Akufo-Addo, Prime Minister Theresa May, United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres, President of Rwanda Paul Kagame and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau attend “Call to Invest” African roundtable Inc. at United Nations headquarters in New York City on September 25, 2018. Source: Peter Foley/Pool/AFP

Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE)

Evolving with the tides of economic, social, political, and philosophical thought, a PPE degree will help you develop the analytical rigour, technical knowledge, and critical evaluation skills to launch a political career. Malala Yousafzai famously completed her PPE degree last year.

Dubbed “the Oxford degree that runs Britain”, the undergraduate degree is a three-year course with maths and history prerequisites. Several notable world leaders studied PPE, including France President Emmanuel Macron and Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong — so you can be sure that this is a proven path to national leadership.

Public Administration

A Master of Public Administration will equip you with the tools to implement policies at community, state, and national levels. Modules will include human capital management, organisation theory and financial management. You will learn to manage people, allocate resources, and see projects through. If you don’t wish to enter public governance, these skills could also land you in nonprofits, social enterprises, and private corporations.

Public Policy

On the other hand, a Master of Public Policy takes you one step beyond implementation into policy evaluation and creation. You will learn how to analyse data and manage policies from creation to execution, with the aim of addressing and solving real issues in communities. Expect to learn public finance and budgeting, statistical analysis, and a whole lot of economics; these will form the basis of your career in international affairs and politics.