Do you want a career that can expand outside of the United States? Do you tend to think about international relations and how other countries interact with each other? Are you passionate about another culture and/or language? If so, you might want to consider a career path in international affairs.

International affairs careers can be found across all sectors, private, public, or government. There are also many think tanks and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) devoted to international relations.

Jinsuh Cho ’18 interns at UN Refugee Agency
Jinsuh Cho ’18 interns at UN Refugee Agency

Colgate Professional Networks

Colgate Professional Networks spark crucial relationships, introducing you to fellow Colgate community members working in your industry. Follow the link below to investigate which of the ten Professional Networks pertains most to you and your industry of choice.

See Professional Networks

Explore Careers

Public (government)

  • Capitol Hill: Employment on the Hill generally refers to positions available in one of the 535 Congressional offices (100 Senate and 435 House of Representatives) or 300 committees and subcommittees.
  • Federal Government: Interested in a career in the Foreign Service? Check out DOSCareers, an app by the Department of State. International affairs positions in government do not just exist in agencies such as the Department of State and the Agency for International Development, almost every federal department and agency maintains an international affairs division.

Private

  • Management Consulting: Typically, consultants conduct research, analyze data, prepare reports, and present findings; less frequently a management consultant will become involved in the actual implementation of the plan.
  • International Business: Multinational corporations, joint ventures, financial institutions, law firms, consulting firms, and manufacturers of both goods and services cater to an international clientele.
  • Journalism: Journalists report on current affairs and other events for print and web publications or for broadcast on radio or television; news reporters may specialize in fields such as politics, foreign affairs, business, arts, sports, health, or science.
  • Political Risk Analysis: Typically, political risk analysts gather information on an area or a country, determine the causes and sources of any related risks, and forward their findings to those making investment decisions.

Non-profit/NGO

  • Associations: Approximately 22,300 multinational, binational, and non-U.S.national associations operate internationally. The majority of associations in the US are headquartered in Washington, DC, New York, or Chicago.
  • Foundations: A foundation is a non-governmental, nonprofit organization with its own funds (usually from a single source, either an individual, family, or corporation) and program managed by its own trustees and directors established to maintain or aid educational, social, charitable, religious, or other activities serving the common welfare, primarily by making grants to other nonprofit organizations (Foundation Center).

For more information, visit: http://www.apsia.org/

For more career options visit: spotlightoncareers.org/career/international-affairs-2/employer-job-options (for username and password, please contact Career Services)

These organizations can be great places to make connections, learn more about the field, and search openings. Many have discounted student memberships.

Foreign Policy Association

International Studies Association

Society for International Development

Young Professionals in Foreign Policy

Young Professionals in International Affairs

Prepare for Jobs and Internships

Information, tips, and strategies to help prepare you as an undergraduate.

  • Describe your international experiences as they relate to this position.
  • How has your study abroad experience contributed to your candidacy?
  • Describe an experience dealing with a cultural difference and barrier. How did you react/handle the situation?
  • Describe a current global issue that matters to you.
  • Are you willing to travel to countries without western amenities as part of your job?
  • Tell me about a time when you completed a research project?
  • Tell me about a time when you managed a project?

Knowledge of industry news can give you a sense of the culture and make you a better interview candidate. Social media can be a great tool to stay current:

Follow each organization, office, and agency on multiple social media outlets for job postings, updates, and other resources

Some possible graduate degrees:

  • Master of Arts in International Affairs (M.A.I.A.)
  • Master of Arts in International Communication (M.A.I.C.)
  • Master of Arts in International Development (M.A.I.D.)
  • Master of Science in Development Management (M.S.D.M.)
  • Master of Arts in International Peace and Conflict Resolution (MAIPCR)
  • Master of Arts in Law & Diplomacy (MALD)
  • Global Master of Arts Program (GMAP)
  • Master in International Business (MIB)
  • Master of Laws in International Law (LLM)
  • Master of International Service (M.I.S.)
  • Master of Science in International Affairs (MSINTA)
  • Ph.D. in International Relations (Ph.D.)

Graduate School Resources

Alumni Advice

Advice from alumni who work in this industry.

headshot of Rachel Ellehuus ’94

Rachel Ellehuus ’94

Current Title and Organization: Office of the Secretary of Defense, Pentagon

Major at Colgate: International Relations and Affairs/German

Advanced Degrees: Masters in Political Science & European Affairs, College of Europe

What is it that you currently do? What are your major responsibilities?

I am the Principal Deputy for European and NATO Policy. I am responsible for managing our defense relationships with European allies and partners as well as with NATO and the European Union.

What was your first position out of Colgate and what did you do in that role?

I taught English in the Czech Republic.

How can students prepare themselves while at Colgate to work in your field?

Learn another language. Study, travel, and work abroad. Read. Seek out people different than yourself.

What extracurricular activities, associated with your profession or not, were you involved with while at Colgate?

German club, crew, WAMU.

Find Opportunities

Public: Most government-based positions will hire well in advance, particularly if clearance is required. Begin your search roughly 6-12 months before your anticipated start date.

Private: Business, finance, and consulting tend to hire in the fall. Communications typically conducts its recruitment in spring.

Nonprofit: Nonprofit predominantly hires on an as-needed basis. Internships and entry-level positions will typically become available mid-late spring.

Capitol Hill

Senate Committee on Foreign Relations

Consulting

International Human Rights Associations

International Business

International Culture / Education / Health Organizations

International Development

International Policy Analysis / International Diplomacy

Peace and Conflict Management

Think Tanks

Job search sites:

Find opportunities through social media:

  • “Careers in Foreign Affairs” Facebook Group to connect with others and learn about updates, jobs, internships, and career fairs
  • Careers in Diplomacy: LinkedIn Group for discussions, members, and jobs
  • US Department of State Twitter: @doscareers

Colgate Handshake Opportunities

Check Colgate Handshake, Colgate's internship and job database, for opportunities that may interest you in this field.

Connect to Careers

Latest stories about internships, workshops, professional networks, and more.

International Relations Advisor

Career Advisor
206C Benton Hall

Kat joined the Colgate University Center for Career Services adviser team in January of 2016 and focuses on the areas of Pre-Law, Education, Common Good, and Government.

Before coming to Colgate, Kat was a Graduate Programs Manager at Kaplan Test Prep, working with students at colleges and universities throughout Central and Western New York. Previously, she has held a variety of positions related to the government, healthcare, and technology sectors. Kat received her BA in Public Affairs from Syracuse University and enjoys spending time with her husband, Chris, their two daughters, and two Great Danes.

Questions? Call 315-228-7380 for an advising appointment.