From social and political research to journalism, marketing and HR, a degree in politics and international relations opens up a broad range of career opportunities

Job options

Jobs directly related to your degree include:

Jobs where your degree would be useful include:

Remember that many employers accept applications from graduates with any degree subject, so don't restrict your thinking to the jobs listed here.

Work experience

Consider volunteering for:

  • charities
  • the Citizens Advice Bureau
  • global development bodies such as WaterAid and Oxfam
  • human and civil rights organisations such as Amnesty International
  • local, national and international environmental and conservation organisations
  • political campaigns and political parties.

Campaigning organisations or pressure groups and UK-based charities with an international presence are particularly suitable if you wish to pursue an international career.

If you are a student, consider running for office in your university Students' Union or gaining volunteering experience through the university community and student societies. This demonstrates initiative and can provide leadership experience and opportunities to further develop written and oral communication skills.

Many degree courses offer the opportunity to undertake professional work experience on a placement or sandwich year.

Search for placements and find out more about work experience and internships.

Typical employers

Politics and international relations graduates are typically employed by:

  • accountancy and banking organisations
  • charities
  • councils
  • law firms
  • local and national government
  • retail and media companies.

They are also employed by a range of commercial businesses, particularly within marketing departments.

Other employers include the United Nations (UN), the European Commission, the Civil Service, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), lobbying, campaigning, and voluntary organisations and the public sector in general.

Find information on employers in the charity and voluntary work sector, marketing, advertising and PR, public services and administration and other job sectors.

Skills for your CV

Studying politics and international relations enables you to develop specific subject knowledge, to learn how different political systems work, how organisations such as the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and the United Nations (UN) operate, and to interpret global political issues and events.

A degree in politics and international relations also gives you many useful transferable skills including:

  • the ability to research, source and examine information thoroughly
  • the capacity to critically analyse evidence and construct coherent arguments
  • excellent written and oratory skills
  • intellectual independence and autonomy
  • teamworking skills
  • a flexible and open-minded approach to work.

Further study

You may choose to undertake postgraduate study in order to further develop your knowledge, or to specialise in a particular area.

Subjects at Masters level include:

  • environmental politics
  • human rights
  • international relations and European politics
  • international security
  • political communication, advocacy and campaigning
  • politics.

You may also choose more vocational postgraduate courses that qualify you to work in careers such as accountancy, journalism, law, management and teaching.

For more information on further study and to find a course that interests you, see Masters degrees and search postgraduate courses.

What do politics and international relations graduates do?

Almost two-thirds of politics and international relations graduates are in full-time employment six months after graduation.

Popular professions for politics and international relations graduates include business or marketing associate; financial manager, HR officer or PR officer. Other areas of work include politics and government, policy work, charity work, journalism, accountancy, social and political research, and education.

About a quarter of graduates go on to further study, or work and study, often choosing to specialise in a particular subject, or broaden their opportunities in order to move into careers such as law, journalism or teaching.

DestinationPercentage
Employed61.7
Further study19.1
Working and studying5.8
Unemployed6.5
Other6.9
Graduate destinations for politics and international relations
Type of workPercentage
Business, HR and financial23.0
Marketing, PR and sales13.5
Retail, catering and bar work13.1
Secretarial and numerical clerks12.0
Other38.4
Types of work entered in the UK

For a detailed breakdown of what politics and international relations graduates are doing six months after graduation, see What Do Graduates Do?

Graduate destinations data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency.