IR as an academic discipline


The World War-I (July 28, 1914-November 11, 1918) was a global conflict. The countries from hemispheres participated in it. They were either siding with the Allied Powers or with the Central Powers. Later, the academics of Europe began studying how the countries pursued their diplomatic relations during the war. By the end of the 1920s, several institutions in the USA and the UK were offering International Relations as an academic course.
Analysts argued over the causes that imposed upon the world the menace of the World War-I. They studied the economic and financial aspects, trade, and human resources along with observing the diplomatic relations between the countries from both sides. While the course of International Relations was in its introduction phase during the end of the World War-I, it experienced a rapid change soon after.
The global order began to develop once the World War-II ended in 1945. The European center of influence was disrupted. This was because the United States and Russia emerged as the new superpowers. These two countries occupied a prominent place in the western and the eastern hemisphere. During this time, the modalities and parameters underlining the course of International Relations began to shift. This brought much depth into the very concept and theories of the subject.
International Relations then became a discipline of study comprising several concepts investigating and scrutinizing the relations between countries. It began to delve into the origin and history of their diplomatic relations, foreign affairs, and factors affecting their economics, trade, and hegemony in the regional and global contexts. The academic field of International Relations also connected the course structure with politics, law, economics, social sciences, and humanities at a global level.
What began as a single idea of study has now encompassed into a broader field including such subjects as, economic development, state sovereignty, diplomatic relations, globalization, global finance, human rights, terrorism, international security, conflict resolution, nationalism, and nuclear proliferation among others. It includes concepts and theories that evolve the students’ understanding of comparative politics and political sociology.
It also broadens the students’ comprehension of intercultural relations, global governance, diplomacy, media and social movements. It shows how they are not only interconnected but also affecting nations. Moreover, there is discourse analysis along with the historical and comparative study of the topics aligned with contemporary and modern trends of International Relations.
The field of International Relations has broadened in context and concept in today’s ever-changing world. With the global, political and diplomatic structure in a rapid flux and with the shifting political and socio-economic dynamics, the field of study of IR needs to be constantly upgraded.
This study gave birth to and added value to certain theories including Realism, Liberalism, Constructivism, Marxism, Feminism along with Green Theory, Functionalism, Post-Structuralism, Post-Modernism, Post-Colonialism among others. These theories will assist students to assess the conflicts and issues from a varying perspective. It will give them a broader contextual framework to analyze the political and diplomatic events, causes, and how affect countries.
Students having an interest to study world affairs enjoy studying International Relations. They learn information to participate in engaging debates regarding challenging issues about the developing and the developed worlds. Students also acquire cross-cultural understating and learn the values, attitudes, and lifestyles of citizens from a specific region or country. Studying IR as a Master’s degree, MPhil and PhD. will equip them with the real-life, practical global strategic framework model that the countries are using. These models address their diplomatic, security, and foreign policy issues.
The career prospects for the graduates having a degree in IR are also broad. They can work in the Foreign Service and organizations such as the United Nations. They can serve at the embassies and High Commissions. Furthermore, one can become a diplomat, political analyst, government social research officer, policy officer, political risk analyst, or a public affairs consultant.
Moreover, serving as a faculty member is also a bright prospect but that should be done by being a visiting faculty member. The main objective of IR graduates should be to gain national and international experience by working in the government or in prominent organizations.