Interested in a jet-setting course — even if most of the jet-setting happens in the classroom? As the world becomes smaller and more interconnected, study in the field of international relations has increased in scope and gained more importance. While some students may go on to become diplomats and journalists' traversing the globe, the course offers a wider exposure and understanding of the world to students with a wide variety of career aspirations.
While the first courses in international politics started soon after the World War I, it has gained prominence in the south Asian region only in the post-Cold War era.
Traditionally, the study of international relations primarily dealt only with political history. But today, a standard masters programme in International relations is a dynamic mix of political science, economics, foreign policy, anthropology and sociology. Students pursuing this course are also encouraged to take up an additional foreign language.
The department of International studies in Jawaharlal Nehru University is one of the oldest and respected programmes in the country. The department offers two masters programmes, one in politics with a focus on international studies and another in economics with a specialisation in world economy.
“The admission process is very comprehensive,” asserts Kamal Chenoy, the MA Faculty advisor of International Relations, “Students must do sixteen subjects, out of which ten are the core subjects.” The admission process in JNU is also highly competitive. According to Kamal Chenoy, over two thousand students apply for the 50 seats available in the course.
The Masters degree offered in Jadhavpur University is also considered to be amongst the best in the country while the International Relations Department of the Pondicherry University comes highly recommended by both academics and students.
In Tamil Nadu, Stella Maris College for Women is the only college to offer this particular programme. “Apart from academic lectures, our students get field experience through internships,” says Priya Suresh, the Head in Charge of the department.
According to Ms. Suresh, students who finish this course go on to have careers as diplomats, teachers, researchers and analysts for multinational companies. Many top foreign correspondents and journalists pursue this course. Students also choose to pursue further studies abroad or work in NGOs.
Students planning to study the course abroad should do extensive research before narrowing down on a school. Some schools require candidates to have prior knowledge of economics before applying.