One world, 7 billion people, 193 sovereign states, over 6,000 (Non-)Governmental Organizations, 1,000s of multinationals, all tied up in complex processes of dis/integration, cooperation and conflict.
International Relations as a discipline is almost a century old. About its origins different interpretations exist, but in general IR emerged in response to the consequences of power politics in Europe, culminating in the First World War, and in response to specific research questions within Political Science. IR in Europe started as an interdisciplinary project, IR in Groningen still follows this tradition.
International Relations and International Organization, a track of the Master's in International Relations, offers a comprehensive study in theory and practice. Theretofore, IRIO uses a 'self-service' model. Besides the mandatory course on advanced theory and the master thesis, you can select from specialized capita and research seminars in five essential areas of Internationals Relations: International Security, International Political Economy, European Integration, Geopolitics & Connectivity and East Asian Studies. Moreover, to prepare for an international career you can organize a placement at a public or private organization in the field of international relations, where you can apply your knowledge and skills in a 'real-time' environment.
Internship at the Centre for European Security Studies Groningen (CESS)
The experience of doing a placement demonstrated my ability to adapt to different demands and environments, and produce quality output even when under pressure. In addition to this, I was able to learn more about the intellectual element of CESS itself – namely Security Sector Reform (SSR)..
By also being able to visit these countries, I was further inundated with some of the security challenges faced by the surrounding regions and what measures were being taken to alleviate the issues. The internship allowed me to explore a different strand of an area of familiarity (Burundi), ultimately assisting my thesis-writing process. On a side note, during the internship itself, a letter I submitted to The Economist (on what constituted a “state”, whilst mentioning Burundi) was published on their website and in that week’s print edition.
Without a doubt, I enjoyed traveling abroad to two different countries and representing CESS at two High-Level events. It gave me an unparalleled insight into the lifestyle of a “high-flyer”, proven by my having to work on the train to Schiphol and even on the aircraft itself! But aside from the trips, I enjoyed working as part of an accepted member of a close-knit group of people. This allowed me to contribute constructively to the teams ideas and objectives. Read more
The UG still strives to show its students it is always underway to improve its educational quality and assorted academic facilities
The University of Groningen (UG) is an admirable university where to pursue your aspirations while studying. For bachelor students, rigorous trainings on theories and methodologies are completed to get into more advanced studies. For master students, emphasis is put on developing one's ability to research independently with small seminars where every student can receive one-on-one coaching.
From a prestigious reputation for its high educational quality to attentive academic training around the world, the UG still strives to show its students it is always underway to improve its educational quality and assorted academic facilities. After the completion of a studying period, students always receive an email to evaluate the classes they took and the professors in charge as well as to provide suggestions on the administrative work of their departments.
Junior Policy Officer at the Dutch House of Representatives
I work as a junior policy officer for the Dutch Labour Party (PvdA) in the House of Representatives of the Netherlands. I support different MPs in the areas of development aid and foreign affairs. I like the fact that I work on current issues that you hear in the news and get to meet interesting people with various different jobs. I also like the fact that development aid is the main focus of my work, as it was during my studies.
I chose the Master’s track in International Relations and International Organization because it offered a good combination of international relations and politics, as well as paying plenty of attention to development aid, which I am very interested in. Furthermore, the programme covers very diverse topics, and it is very useful to be able to learn another language alongside English.
During the track I learned most from my placement, which taught me how to put the theory into practice. I also learned practical skills like writing reports, which I still use in my current job.
I hope to continue working in development aid, maybe at a non-governmental organization. I also hope to work abroad for a while.
Placement at the United Nations Development Programme in Sierra Leone
I choose to do an internship in support of the Transition Support Team (TST) of the United Nations Development Programme in Sierra Leone. My task was to support the TST in the daily management of the Transition Initiative Fund (TIF). The main objective of the Transition Initiative Fund (TIF) is to support the implementation of the Local Government Act (2004) and in particular build the capacity of the Local Councils to deliver their broad mandate of decentralized service delivery.
Project Assistant at the International Organization for Migration
After finalizing his Master in International Relations, RUG alumnus Sander IJmker moved to The Hague and now works as Project Assistant at the International Organization for Migration (IOM – the UN Migration Agency) country office in the Netherlands. He talks about his work and how his studies and time at the University of Groningen contributed to his current position.
After working in Turkey for three years, I wanted to specialize in the issues of migration
I studied Politics at UCL and then moved to Turkey to work for the International Organization for Migration (IOM) – the UN Migration Agency in Ankara. After working in Turkey for three years, I decided that I wanted to deepen my understanding of how international organizations shape current world politics and more particularly, I wanted to specialize in the issues of migration.
I have 9 hours of lectures spread across three days of a week, but I spend at least twice as much time studying in the library. The classes and the readings are a weekly challenge, that require my full concentration, patience and dedication; but at the end of each week, I find myself challenging my conceptions, realizing that all the efforts put in understanding different theories, concepts and knowledge are affecting my understanding of the world events.
Are you a non-EU/EEA student from Mexico, Russia, China, India, or Indonesia, starting a Master's programme at the Faculty of Arts? If so, you could qualify for the University of Groningen OTS/Talent Grant, Faculty of Arts, a partial scholarship which helps you to finance your studies.
Read more about the OTS/Talent Grant Faculty of Arts
Are you interested in a research oriented career? Please also check our Research Master's Programme of International Relations.