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Careers in International Affairs

Students attend Career Expo

A major in International Relations, by emphasizing clarity in speech and writing; analytical skills; and a detailed knowledge of world politics prepares students for careers in government, journalism, law, non-governmental organizations, international business, and teaching and research. Recent IR graduates currently work in all of these fields. Some have gone directly into careers upon graduating; others have enrolled in graduate school prior to employment. 

The list below contains information about different careers paths and describes some of these positions, how best to prepare for them, and how to do so at Lehigh. 
Click on a list item to learn more.

Career Planning

Lehigh University's Center for Career & Professional Development have dedicated staff to help Lehigh students with their career path.  Please reach out to Jashanae Day Brinker ( to get started.

For further career guidance, do not be afraid to ask questions of the faculty. The International Relations Commons Room (Maginnes Hall 203) has many additional sources of information.


Internships are a critical supplement to any sort of educational background to land a job in international affairs. Because of the informal hiring processes, personal contacts are indispensable. Most students do not have close relatives high up in these organizations. Internships are the next best thing and give students direct experience. Students learn for themselves whether they like this sort of work and what is required to make a career in it and often get direct job offers. If not, they make personal contacts and get recommendations from job supervisors; if nothing else, they have something on their record which distinguishes them from the thousands of other people who will graduate with B.A. degrees from state universities.

Two general rules of internships: anything is better than nothing, and the longer the better. Summer internships are the most common, and if that is what is available, take it; however, students should be aware of some limitations of summer internships. Summer internships are limited to summer months, which are short in time frame. Moreover, summer interns are so common that they are often used by offices as clerical labor. Many students use the experience for socializing, which is fine but detracts from the image of those with more serious interests. Lastly, so many students take summer internships now that employers are less impressed than previously.

Explore IR Internship Opportunities