Why study international relations?

A Leeds University ISC student on campus

Are you curious about how countries communicate and work together? Do you want to learn how to make a big difference in the world? Studying international relations at the University of Leeds might be the right choice for you. It’s a study path that helps you understand the big picture of what’s happening in the world today. Let’s find out why studying international relations is an exciting and beneficial choice.

Many students ask, "why study international relations?". The main reason is because it helps you learn more about the world. You get to understand how countries cooperate, how businesses work across borders and much more.

It's a study choice for curious minds who want to explore opportunities in different countries. It also teaches you how to think critically and solve complex problems. Plus, it gives you a chance to meet people from different backgrounds and build a network that spans the globe.

Careers in international relations

The field of international relations is broad, extending far beyond just politics. It encompasses a dynamic range of careers that cater to various interests and strengths. Let’s dive deeper into some roles that you might find both fascinating and rewarding:

Corporate consultant

Working as a corporate consultant means you would be guiding large companies in making vital decisions related to international business strategies and trades. This role allows you to build networks with professionals from around the globe while enjoying a good salary. You would be in the centre of the business world, helping to create new paths through global markets and ensuring businesses can thrive internationally.

Intelligence analyst

If you have a knack for analysis and critical thinking, a career as an intelligence analyst might be for you. Working closely with government agencies, you would play a critical role in ensuring national safety by analysing various data and information. This role is not just about safeguarding a country; it’s about making well-informed decisions that can shape a country’s future, offering a fulfilling career with a deep sense of purpose.


Are you passionate about social issues and keen on promoting change? As a lobbyist, you could work to advocate for policy changes that align with your values and beliefs, working closely with decision-makers and influencers in government or other organisations.


Being a diplomat offers a chance to immerse yourself in diverse cultures while representing your country’s interests on an international platform. It’s a role full of responsibilities and opportunities alike — working towards global peace, creating alliances, and understanding different geopolitical landscapes. It's a career where your work can potentially foster harmony and collaboration between nations, creating a platform for positive change on a global scale.

Policy analyst

If you're someone who enjoys dissecting complex issues and foreseeing the potential impact of policies on society, this role might be for you. A policy analyst checks policy proposals to understand their possible impact, working to shape strategies that are both effective and beneficial for the society at large. It's a role that promises the chance to influence significant decisions and bring about positive transformations.

Journalist or foreign correspondent

If you have a storytelling knack and a curious nature, you might find a fulfilling career in journalism or as a foreign correspondent. This role takes you to different parts of the world, bringing untold stories to light and helping people make sense of global events. It’s a job where you have the power to shape stories, bring attention to critical issues and potentially drive change through informed reporting.

Study international relations in the UK

When it comes to studying international relations in the UK, the University of Leeds is a great choice, offering one of the most vibrant and globally recognised programmes in the field.

Located in a city that blends historical heritage with modern day innovations, the University not only provides an inspiring academic experience but also immerses students in a culturally rich environment.

If you’re looking to progress to a degree in international relations but aren’t sure how to get started, consider the International Year One in International Relations at Leeds International Study Centre, for progression to the University of Leeds. A great starting point for international students, this programme is designed to equip you with the knowledge and skills necessary to transition smoothly into the second year of your undergraduate degree.

During this initial year, you will learn about the intricacies of international relations, understanding the geopolitical dynamics that shape our world today. The programme lays a firm foundation, providing you a thorough understanding of key concepts and theories, preparing you for the exciting world of international politics and relationships.

This programme is designed from the ground up for international students, with focused teaching approach put in place to welcome you into the British education system. Your learning will be structured in the same way as the University’s curriculum, to make sure you are supported and prepared for your next step. Most importantly, you will still graduate with an undergraduate degree in just 3 years.

If the International Year One does not align with your current education goals, we also offer the International Foundation Year in Business, Law & Social sciences. This is a one-year programme that, upon successful completion, allows you to progress to your chosen degree at the University of Leeds.

Interested? Check out our entry requirements and fees to find out what you’ll need to get started.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Is studying international relations worth it?

Yes, it caters to those with a keen interest in global dynamics, offering strong career opportunities, analytical skills development and a platform to impact global change through various roles.

How many years does it take to study international relations?

A bachelor's degree in international relations usually takes about 3 years to complete in the UK.

What jobs can international relations get you?

Graduates can pursue a wide range of careers including roles as diplomats, policy analysts, international development specialists, or international business consultants, among others, working in diverse settings from government to non-profits and multinational corporations.