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Linfield College
- Linfield College
International Relations

Why Study International Relations?


  1. International and global issues are not only interesting, but matter more now than ever before.
    War. Economic crisis. Debt. Terrorism. Climate change. Disease. Immigration. Drugs. Education. Human rights. Refugees. Poverty. Piracy. Nuclear weapons. Ethnic conflict. Gender equality. All have critical transnational dimensions and major implications for the lives of millions.
  2. The job market is globalizing.
    It is not just that more jobs have an international component, but interconnectedness is breaking down traditional disciplinary and vocational divides.  Employers increasingly value more balanced, versatile, and innovative candidates.  An international education cultivates a dynamic and interdisciplinary skill set well suited to excel in rapidly evolving professional environments.
  3. Studying abroad will change your life.
    Studying overseas helps you see the world from a completely new perspective, reflect upon your own national identity, and provides an unparalleled opportunity to develop proficiency in a foreign language.
  4. The IR major is customizable.
    IR majors have considerable flexibility in choosing their course of study, along with built-in incentives to double-major (up to 12 credits can double-count).
  5. There are other perks.
    You can study for a semester in DC, conduct collaborative research with a faculty member, take January term courses abroad, participate in structured public debates on international issues, and get involved in student clubs.
  6. The world needs you.
    We live in a time of unprecedented global change.  Yet what defines our time is not simply that change is all around us.  It is that individuals are ever more capable of exercising influence in international contexts and hopefully moving society down better paths.

What career paths does the IR major lead to?

Given its interdisciplinary focus, the IR major capitalizes on the liberal arts mission to cultivate a dynamic skill set well suited for excellence in:

  • Government and public policy (ranging from being a foreign service officer at the US State Department to the federal service to state and local agencies)
  • Law (e.g. international, corporate, environmental, and beyond)
  • Intergovernmental organizations (e.g. the UN, the IMF, and World Health Organization)
  • The non-profit sector (e.g. Human Rights Watch, Mercy Corps, or the Gates Foundation)
  • The private sector (multinational corporation, consulting, small and medium businesses)
  • Communication (e.g. public relations, journalism, and beyond)
  • Education (ranging from academic to administration to primary and secondary)