Can the EU survive the rise of euroscepticism and populism? Why has international cooperation on global environmental issues proven to be difficult? How can we address other issues in an increasingly globalized world?
IRIO in Groningen is a multidisciplinary English-taught degree programme in which you will explore political questions on an international level. You will focus on the place of politics, history, economics and law in international relations but also the role of international organizations. You will also learn or improve your proficiency in a modern foreign language and will be able to choose a minor that fits your profile.
If you choose IRIO in Groningen, you choose:
Please note: IRIO is a quota study: only a limited number of students are accepted every year.
I chose IRIO because I am interested in how the international world works. I would like to learn how countries and international organizations interact with each other, how international cooperation arises, and what causes international conflicts. IRIO seems the best study for this, because it has subjects on history, politics, law and economics. Because of these different perspectives, you gain insight into all aspects of the international world.
Moreover, these perspectives result in a varied programme that is never boring! I am also very enthusiastic about the foreign language as part of the IRIO programme, because I believe foreign language skills can be very useful in an international career. Ultimately, an international career is my ultimate goal and the IRIO study seems like a good starting point to achieve that.
After studying French law for almost two years, I was looking for a broader programme where I could fully study in English and that would give me the possibility to learn about various subjects, such as law, economics, history, politics. However, the feature that convinced me to apply for this programme were the compulsory language courses that allow me to learn a foreign language intensively. I picked Chinese and studying this language is so much fun!
The international aspect of the programme is also extremely interesting. You meet people from all over the world and get to know more about different cultures, which is exactly what I needed after spending 20 years in the same town. During your studies, you learn about the world and how it is constructed. You will start to feel closer to this world, which at first seems so unreachable.
In my opinion, one of IRIO biggest strengths is the variety of assignments. You will have to choose your own topics to write your essays, but you will also have to shoot videos, prepare presentations, and write papers in groups.
Are you at secondary school and want to know what studying at university is like? The International Relations and International Organization (IRIO) programme is offering a web class! This online course from the University of Groningen is specially designed for secondary school students. Try out what it takes to study IRIO by participating in this 4-week long course filled with various academic materials and completing assignments about the main topics of this bachelor programme.
The course takes about 10 hours in total and you can receive a certificate upon the completion of the online course.
If you are interested in an IRIO web class, register here.
After I graduated from my BA programme, I went on to study the Master’s programme Sustainable Development (with a focus on Earth System Governance) at Utrecht University. After studying IRIO—and thereby understanding how the world can be perceived—it made sense to me to study how the world could or should be.
Having said that, I could have gone many other directions with my BA. As IRIO offers an interdisciplinary programme, you can truly forge your own path. I have friends who went on to study law, political economy, crisis management and even one who ended up studying marketing.
Currently I work as a sustainability advisor at Rijkswaterstaat (an executive organization of the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management), with a focus on climate adaptation and riverine litter. After finishing my Master’s, I started with the traineeship of Rijkswaterstaat and ended up staying in my current position. It was actually my sister who suggested the organization might be a good fit for me.
I think one of the main benefits of studying IRIO is that you learn to assess the world around you from different perspectives, due to IRIO’s interdisciplinary courses. Other skills that you develop during IRIO are analytical thinking and writing, which I both apply daily. The ability to write comprehensively is key in a governmental organization, where being able to type up a good briefing can make the difference in leveraging your goals.
Another benefit of my BA is that I understand the broader policy context which I now work in. As an executive organization of the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management, we execute both Dutch and European policies. It’s really interesting to see how this broader policy context interacts with the work we do at Rijkswaterstaat on a daily basis, and that it’s not just a one way street but the interaction goes both ways.
Be open to different experiences during your BA, in order to figure out the direction you want to take after your BA (but also for the sake of fun :)). I think most students only start to think about their future after their BA as they reach their final year, but you should really use the years leading up to that to attend activities and try out different types of experiences. There’s exchanges, internships, extra courses or something as simple as attending activities by IRIO’s Study Association Clio.
During my BA I took extra courses, went on an exchange to Queen’s University in Canada—which was a very formative experience—and was very active at the Study Association Clio and participated in many of their activities. I knew I wanted to continue studying in the direction of sustainability after I attended one of the alumni talks organized by Clio. Sometimes opening yourself up to those types of activities can provide new insights.
Therefore, my advice would be: do not only focus on your study books, but go out and experience IR in practice!
Clio is the study association of International Relations and International Organization at the University of Groningen.
It has around 1000 members and is one of the largest study associations in Groningen and the largest study association at a Dutch Faculty of Arts. Clio organizes numerous events including parties, workshops, excursions and offers services like high-quality summaries, the internship database and various discounts around Groningen.