105 Best Universities to Study International Relations

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We’ve curated a list of the best universities to study international relations to keep up with the interests of students willing to study International Relations at a top university. Keep reading to get more information.

International Relations Overview

The scientific study of how nations interact and view one another, particularly in the context of political, economic, and cultural connections, is known as international relations, also referred to as international studies or international affairs.

It is a versatile sector that covers everything from cross-border trade to calamities in the world of health, like the Covid-19 outbreak we are presently dealing with.

The idea of international interactions is more important as the world gets more connected. The demand for experts in the area has risen as a result.

For people who are curious about the interactions between other nations, the study of international relations, a subfield of the social sciences, is the best option.

The top international relations universities are examined in the following article, along with the range of degrees they provide, typical earnings, and career options.

Duties Performed by International Relations Specialists

As a branch of social science, international relations connects a wide range of disciplines, including economics, politics, philosophy, history, business, linguistics, religious studies, and law.

Experts in international relations are commonly engaged in interdisciplinary research to find solutions to global problems like poverty, world hunger, human rights, and ethics.

The basic duties of those who specialize in international relations include:

  1. Developing global strategies and identifying trends
  2. Analyzing and interpreting foreign policies
  3. Engaging in international cooperation
  4. Communication with public figures, governmental and non-governmental international organizations, and the general public
  5. Giving expert guidance on foreign policies
  6. Communicating with journalists and the media about international affairs
  7. Executing global collaborative programs and projects
  8. Research dissemination via publications and reports
  9. Being up to date on recent international relations developments

International relations can be studied for an undergraduate, graduate, or doctorate degree. Other degree options, including associate degrees, dual degrees, and online degrees, may be available depending on the university.

Students who choose to major in history, sociology, political science, or cultural anthropology as undergraduates can also pursue international relations as a postgraduate area of specialty.

Bachelor’s programs

Both bachelor of science (B.S./B.Sc.) and bachelor of arts (B.A.) degrees are available in the field of international relations.

Below are available Bachelor’s degrees for international relations

  • B.A. in International Relations
  • B.S. in International Studies
  • B.Sc. in Politics and International Relations
  • B.A. in International Studies
  • B.A. in Diplomacy and International Relations
  • B.Sc. in International Relations and Law
  • B.A. in International Relations with Languages
  • B.Sc. in International Relations, Peace and Conflict Studies
  • L.L.B. in Law with International Relations

Master’s programs

Universities all over the world offer master’s degrees in international relations as either master of arts (M.A.) or master of science (M.S./M.Sc.) degrees.

Below are available Master’s degrees for international relations:

  • M.A. in International Relations
  • M.S. in Political Science: International Relations/Comparative Government
  • M.Sc. in Global Studies and International Relations
  • M.Sc. in International Trade Relations
  • Global History and International Relations
  • International Relations & International Organization
  • International Affairs
  • Intercultural Conflict Management
  • MSc in International Disaster Management and Humanitarian Response

Doctoral programs

A doctoral degree is typically chosen by students who want to get more in-depth expertise in a particular field of international relations. To work as a professor or lecturer, you also need a Ph.D.

Below are available Doctoral degrees for international relations:

  • P.h.D in International Economics
  • P.h.D in Political Science
  • P.h.D in International Conflict Analysis
  • P.h.D in International Affairs
  • P.h.D in Globalization and Development
  • P.h.D in International and Diplomatic Studies

Specializations in International Relations

It is not surprising that graduates in the field of international relations are in greater demand because political links, communications, and collaborations are becoming increasingly important. Top institutions all over the world are providing numerous specializations in this field of study in light of this demand.

The following are typical international relations themes and specializations: 

  1. Foreign policy
  2. Conflict and peace-making
  3. Environmental policy
  4. Human rights
  5. Trade and financial regulations
  6. International law
  7. Global History
  8. International security
  9. Diplomacy
  10. Migration and refugees

Career Opportunities in International Relations

Students who specialize in international relations will have a wide range of professional opportunities outside of politics, including jobs in economics, social systems, and community culture. However, a master’s or a doctorate in international relations are strongly advised to land a significant job in the sector.

Popular career options in international relations include the following:

  1. Diplomat
  2. Intelligence analyst
  3. Policy officer
  4. Political analyst
  5. Lobbyist
  6. Communication Specialist
  7. Risk manager
  8. Solicitor
  9. International lawyer
  10. Immigration specialist
  11. International marketing manager

Reason for this Ranking

The top colleges in the world listed here are ranked according to how well they do in the fields of international relations and diplomacy. The ratings of publications, which were then corrected for release dates and added to final scores, were calculated using a graph of citations received by academic articles produced by the 652 universities around the world.

105 Best Universities To Study International Relations

Below is a table containing the best universities to study international relations:

RankName of SchoolLocation
1Harvard UniversityCambridge, United States
2London School of Economics and Political ScienceLondon, United Kingdom
3University of OxfordOxford, United Kingdom
4Australian National UniversityCanberra, Australia
5Ohio State UniversityColumbus, United States
6University of WarwickCoventry, United Kingdom
7University of ChicagoChicago, United States
8University of CambridgeCambridge, United Kingdom
9George Washington UniversityAshburn, United States
10University of CaliforniaBerkeley, United States
11Columbia UniversityNew York City, United States
12Princeton UniversityPrinceton, United States
13King’s College LondonLondon, United Kingdom
14University of CopenhagenCopenhagen, Denmark
15Georgetown UniversityWashington D.C., United States
16University of BirminghamBirmingham, United Kingdom
17University of SussexBrighton, United Kingdom
18American University in WashingtonWashington D.C., United States
19University of QueenslandBrisbane City, Australia
20University of MinnesotaMinneapolis, United States
21Aberystwyth UniversityAberystwyth, United Kingdom
22Stanford UniversityStanford, United States
23University of TorontoToronto, Canada
24University of MichiganAnn Arbor, United States
25University of OsloOslo, Norway
26University of British ColumbiaVancouver, Canada
27University of Southern CaliforniaCalifornia, United States
28Indiana University – BloomingtonBloomington, United States
29Hebrew University of JerusalemJerusalem, Israel
30University of NottinghamNottingham, United Kingdom
31University College LondonLondon, United Kingdom
32Yale UniversityNew Haven, United States
33Cornell UniversityIthaca, United States
34University of LeedsLeeds, United Kingdom
35Nanyang Technological UniversitySingapore, Singapore
36Johns Hopkins UniversityBaltimore, United States
37Griffith UniversityNathan, Nathan Australia
38Massachusetts Institute of TechnologyCambridge, United States
39University of MelbourneParkville, Australia
40McGill UniversityMain campus, Montreal Canada
41Arizona State UniversityTempe Campus, Tempe United States
42University of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphia, United States
43University of OttawaOttawa, Canada
44University of BristolClifton Campus, Bristol United Kingdom
45University of St AndrewsSt. Andrews, United Kingdom
46University of California-San DiegoSan Diego, United States
47University of WashingtonSeattle Campus, Seattle United States
48University of New South WalesSydney, Australia
49University of California – Los AngelesLos Angeles, United States
50University of SydneySydney, Australia
51Queen Mary University of LondonLondon, United Kingdom
52University of Texas at AustinAustin, United States
53Texas A&M UniversityCollege Station, United States
54New York UniversityNew York City, United States
55Duke UniversityDurham, United States
56Carleton UniversityMain Campus, Ottawa Canada
57University of North Carolina at Chapel HillChapel Hill, United States
58Lancaster UniversityMain campus, Lancaster, United Kingdom
59University of AmsterdamCity Centre Campus, Amsterdam Netherlands
60University of WisconsinUnited States, United States
61SOAS, University of LondonRussell Square Campus, London United Kingdom
62University of Colorado BoulderBoulder, United States
63Dartmouth CollegeHanover, United States
64The University of ManchesterManchester, United Kingdom
65University of VirginiaCharlottesville, United States
66Rutgers University – New BrunswickCollege Avenue Campus, New Brunswick United States
67Catholic University of LeuvenLeuven, Belgium
68National University of SingaporeKent Ridge Campus, Singapore Singapore
69University of SheffieldWestern Bank, Sheffield, GB, Sheffield United Kingdom
70Durham UniversityDurham, Durham United Kingdom
71Tufts UniversityMedford, United States
72University of HelsinkiCity Centre Campus, Helsinki Finland
73Bilkent UniversityAnkara Campus, Ankara Turkey
74Northwestern UniversityEvanston Campus, Evanston United States
75University of EdinburghEdinburgh, United Kingdom
76University of LondonLondon, United Kingdom
77Leiden UniversityLeiden University, Leiden Netherlands
78University of ExeterExeter, United Kingdom
79Free University of BerlinBerlin, Germany
80Graduate Institute of International and Development StudiesGeneva, Switzerland
81University of Notre DameNotre Dame, United States
82York UniversityAbu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
83George Mason UniversityFairfax Campus, Fairfax United States
84University of KentCanterbury campus, Canterbury United Kingdom
85University of GlasgowGlasgow, United Kingdom
86University of MarylandCollege Park, United States
87University of PittsburghPittsburgh, United States
88Emory UniversityAtlanta, United States
89Vanderbilt UniversityNashville, United States
90Syracuse UniversitySyracuse, United States
91Pennsylvania State UniversityPennsylvania, US, State College United States
92Florida State UniversityTallahassee, United States
93Cardiff UniversityCardiff, United Kingdom
94University of BrasiliaCuritiba, Brazil
95Brown UniversityProvidence, United States
96University of California – DavisDavis, United States
97University of YorkYork, United Kingdom
98University of UtahSalt Lake City, United States
99Free University AmsterdamAmsterdam, Netherlands
100Bar-Ilan UniversityRamat Gan, Tel Aviv District, Israel
101Boston UniversityBoston, United States
102Charles UniversityPrague, Czechia
103City University of Hong KongHong Kong SAR
104Copenhagen Business SchoolFrederiksberg, Denmark
105Victoria University of WellingtonKelburn, Wellington, New Zealand

List of the Top 5 Universities to Study International Relations

Top 5 Universities to Study International Relations

1. Harvard University

Location: Cambridge, United States

Private Ivy League research institution Harvard University is located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in the United States. When Harvard College was founded in 1636, it was named after John Harvard, a Puritan clergyman who served as its first benefactor.

Thanks to its stature, wealth, and influence, it is currently one of the most esteemed universities in the entire globe.

2. London School of Economics and Political Science

Location: London, United Kingdom

The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) is a federal member institution of the University of London and a public research university with headquarters in London, England. LSE was created in 1895 by members of the Fabian Society Sidney Webb, Beatrice Webb, Graham Wallas, and George Bernard Shaw.

LSE joined the University of London in 1900, and under the university’s administration, it introduced its first degree programs in 1901. Prior to 2008, LSE conferred degrees from the University of London. In 2008, LSE started giving degrees under its own name. In 2022, it separated from the University of London to become a separate university.

3. University of Oxford

Location: Oxford, United Kingdom

The University of Oxford is a coed research university located in Oxford, England. With evidence of instruction dating back to 1096, it is the second-oldest institution still in existence and the oldest university in the English-speaking world.

It has rapidly grown ever since Henry II barred English students from studying there in 1167.

Following conflicts between students and townspeople of Oxford Town in 1209, some scholars relocated to Cambridge in the northeast, where they established what would become the University of Cambridge. The two ancient English universities collectively known as Oxbridge have a lot of characteristics.

4. Australian National University

Location: Canberra, Australia

Located in Canberra, Australia’s capital city, the Australian National Institution (ANU) is a public research institution and a member of the Group of Eight.

On the main action, campus are seven teaching and research colleges together with several national academies and organizations.

According to the 2022 QS World University Rankings and the Times Higher Education rankings, ANU is the best university in Australia and the Southern Hemisphere.

It is ranked equal to 54th by the 2022 Times Higher Education and 27th by the 2022 QS World University Rankings when compared to other universities worldwide. According to the Global Employability University Ranking and Survey for 2021, ANU is placed 20th.

5. Ohio State University

Location: Columbus, United States

The Ohio State institution, usually referred to as Ohio State or OSU, is a public research institution with land grants in Columbus, Ohio.

With the passage of the Morrill Act of 1862, Ohio State, a part of the University System of Ohio, was established in 1870 as the ninth university in Ohio and the state’s land-grant institution.

Under the leadership of then-Gov. and later President of the United States Rutherford B. Hayes, Ohio State began as the Ohio Agricultural and Mechanical College, which concentrated on a variety of agricultural and mechanical disciplines.

In 1878, the Ohio General Assembly passed a law changing the name to “the Ohio State University” and expanding the university’s purview. The admittance standards tightened and became much more exclusive between the years 2000 and 2010.

As of 2021, Ohio State has the most students among the public universities in the US who obtained test scores in the 95th percentile or higher. The “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very High Research Activity” category designates it as a member. The institution will have one of the largest endowments in the world in 2022 with a $7.0 billion endowment.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on the Best Universities to Study International Relations

Under what faculty is international relations?

The focus of IR studies, a branch of political science, is on relationships between nations in terms of politics, diplomacy, and security as well as the study of contemporary political history. Studies of IR are thus located in the department of politics and social sciences in many university institutions.

How many years is International Relations?

A Master’s degree in international relations typically lasts one to two years. Some colleges also offer part-time programs that let you spread out the education over four years and continue working.

What are the types of International Relations?

International interactions come in a variety of forms. They include trade agreements, conflicts, multistate human rights group activities, multinational corporations, and other kinds.



This ground-breaking program combines theory and practice-based courses in international law and international relations. You’ll acquire a distinctive multidisciplinary perspective on a variety of current problems associated with the altered character of global governance. This curriculum gives students the chance to take a wide variety of political science and law courses.

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