International relations

About international relations

International relations is the largest subfield of political science. Our program focuses on the major challenges of global politics, including war, security and development. We ask the critical questions about world politics: Who wields power? How does power generate both security and conflict?

Why choose international relations?

You’ll gain a comprehensive understanding of the key global debates, international conflicts and global institutions. Governance, poverty and human rights are central issues alongside policy implementation within the fields of security studies, international political economy, foreign affairs and global governance. You’ll apply your critical thinking skills to analyse innovative, problem-solving solutions to major global challenges.

What will you study?

International relations examines the dynamics of global politics and economics, including the relationships between political institutions, international organisations, governmental and non-governmental players. You’ll explore topics such as:

  • Global security crises like climate change, peace and conflict, global development and forced migration
  • The operation of international institutions like the UN, NATO and the World Bank
  • The politics and impact of the foreign and economic policies of states
  • The ideas and theories that drive political action in international relations.

What careers will you be ready for?

You will graduate ready for an exciting future in areas including:

  • National and international diplomacy
  • Humanitarian agencies
  • Human rights advocacy
  • Global media and journalism
  • Defence and intelligence
  • Foreign Affairs and Trade and much more.

Who will be teaching you?

International relations staff are active researchers. We explore such matters as war and peace, global economic management, international rules and organisations, foreign policy, the evolution of ethics in a global context,and addressing contemporary global crises such as climate change, global pandemics, the forced movement of people. terrorism and the responses to it.

International relations looks both at specific issues in some detail as well as the ‘big picture’ of how the global political system works and is developing. Many of our staff are much sought after by the Australian and international media and are highly published in their areas of expertise.

Global study

With Monash’s impressive international links, you’ll have the opportunity to venture into contexts where you can apply your expertise.

Short term programs:

  • International relations field unit: Governing peace and security – USA
  • Cultural diversity in contemporary Europe – Italy
  • Cultural intelligence: Building

Exchange programs include:

  • University of Tokyo – Japan
  • Sciences Po – France
  • Free University of Berlin – Germany
  • Queen Mary University of London – England.

GIG: Global Immersion Guarantee

The Monash Arts Global Immersion Guarantee (GIG) is an award-winning initiative that will enable you to explore first-hand the relationships between society, technology and the environment. It’s a two-week, funded study trip for all eligible first-year Monash Arts, single or double degree students to one of six destinations – China, India, Indonesia, Italy, Malaysia or the Pacific Islands.

Major Focus by location
Focus Locations
MajorNote Caulfield, Clayton
MinorNote Caulfield, Clayton

This area of study is offered in the following courses or can be taken where you have 8 free electives. To see if you can take this area of study within a double degree select from the course offering below.

What a week: International Relations

In our Monash Arts 'What a Week' series, two year 12 students discover where an International Relations major can take them from our Arts academics.

International Relations

International relations helps us understand world politics from perspectives that address global problems and challenges.

Career options

  • National and international diplomacy
  • Humanitarian agencies
  • Human rights advocacy
  • Global media and journalism
  • Defence and intelligence
  • Foreign affairs and trade

Studying politics and international relations at Monash

How do politics and international relations work together and how do they affect our lives? Senior Lecturer Dr Ben Wellings explains how this knowledge can help future employment.

Overseas opportunities

You have the option to undertake elective units and cultural experiences in Prato (Italy), Gallipoli (Turkey) and East Asia, or you could apply for the exciting opportunities to work in an embassy or EU political institution, as part of internship.