Are you unsure about whether you should study politics or international relations? These similar subjects suit different interests, and can each be useful for entering different political careers. Read on to find out more about how they compare, and which one could be the right choice for you!\r\n\r\nWhat is politics? \r\n\r\nPolitics degrees typically focus on national affairs, domestic policies, and the philosophical background behind political theories, concepts and ideologies. Politics also touches on other subjects such as history and economics – usually with a focus on a particular country, though courses are also available which focus on larger world regions or international policies. \r\n\r\nYou should study politics if… \r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n \r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n \r\n\r\n\r\n\tYou’re interested in the philosophical theories behind political ideologies, for example human rights.\r\n\tYou’re interested in the political affairs of a particular country or region.\r\n\tYou’re aiming for a political career which is focused on your home country, for example as a member of parliament or a civil servant.\r\n\r\n\r\nWhat is international relations?\r\n\r\nInternational relations (also known as international affairs or global politics, amongst other course names) focuses on the political issues and foreign affairs affecting the world today. It’s an interdisciplinary subject, touching on history, economics, anthropology and sociology as well as politics. You’ll gain an understanding of how relations between different countries are structured and maintained.\r\n\r\nYou should study international relations if… \r\n\r\n\r\n\tYou’re more interested in acquiring contemporary political understanding on a global level, looking at issues which affect the world at large.\r\n\tYou want a political career related to this subject, for example in diplomacy.\r\n\tYou have an interest in specializing in a particular area of international relations, for example international security.\r\n\tYou’re interested in the interdisciplinary nature of the course.\r\n\r\n\r\nTypical politics specializations \r\n\r\nFields of politics you could study a specialized degree in, or study a module in as part of a political degree, include:\r\n\r\n\r\n\tPublic policy –Ideal if you’re interested in how political policies affect people, this subject focuses on the processes by which various forms of policies and regulations that affect members of the public are produced and applied.\r\n\tDevelopment politics – Focuses on the role of politics in social and economic development, including both national and international policies. \r\n\tPeace and conflict studies – This will appeal to students who particularly interested in how politics relates to domestic and international conflicts, and the strategies for avoiding or resolving conflict.\r\n\tDemocracy and elections – This specialization is for students who are interested in issues such as party and non-party engagement, associations between the elected and the electors, and the regulated foundations of democracy.\r\n\tHuman rights and social justice – This focuses on the ethics behind political practices and policies. It may also include the study of democracy.\r\n\r\n\r\nTypical international relations specializations \r\n\r\n\r\n\tEnvironmental politics/ sustainable development – A good option for students who are concerned about global environmental issues, and who want to help bring about positive changes to increase sustainability and respond to global warming. \r\n\tConflict resolution and mediation – This specialization enables you to gain an understanding of how to mediate, peace-keep and help find a solution to international problems and incidents.\r\n\tInternational law – Focuses on the ways in which the law informs, guides or influences the world of global politics and international relations. This may appeal to students who want to combine law and politics in their career.\r\n\tInternational security – This concentration will consider recent events to focus on how international security is affected by changes in affairs, and vice versa.\r\n\tCross-cultural communication – This specialization combines the study of language and linguistics with international relations, focusing on intercultural and international communications in politics.\r\n\r\n\r\nBA/MA vs BSc/MSc\r\n\r\nYou may see different universities offer their politics and/or international relations degrees with slightly different titles – either Bachelor or Master of Arts (BA/BA) or Bachelor/Master of Science (BSc/MSc). There are often very few differences between the two, but BSc/MSc degrees are naturally more likely to include a strong focus on political theory, while BA/MA degrees might be more empirical.\r\n\r\nPolitics and international relations careers \r\n\r\nAs mentioned earlier, if you’re sure you’d like your political career to be based in and focused on your home country, both degrees are useful, but a politics degree may be slightly more relevant for roles such as Member of Parliament (MP), political assistant, and careers in the civil service of your home country.\r\n\r\nCareers more closely related to international relations include roles in organizations such as the European Union or the United Nations (you’ll need to gain a good deal of work experience for these), or in a role as a diplomat, representing your country in foreign affairs.\r\n\r\nStudying either politics or international relations will also train you to research and analyze information from a range of sources, possibly in different languages, and these skills will make you attractive to employers in many sectors – beyond the traditional political sphere.\r\n\r\nOther careers popular among both politics and international relations graduates include roles in human rights activism, political journalism, social research, charity, human resources, marketing and more.