Geneva, a City for Peace, Diplomacy and International Cooperation

Our International Relations department Geneva gives students exposure to the driving forces of contemporary politics, the geopolitical history that crated our modern world, the analytical skills and critical theories of political science needed to understand these dynamics — as well as unparalleled access to witness international diplomacy in action.

International Relations Program Geneva

In the Bachelor in International Relations, students have a choice of pursuing the degree with an Emphasis in International Economics to gain added knowledge and mastery in an important sub-disciplines in international relations.

Students are not only exposed to the theories of international affairs, but also its realities "on the ground," including practicalities of the many states and non-state actors that represent the scope of today’s international arena. Whether studying the history of the Middle East, the fundamentals of human rights, environmental governance or the push-and-pull factors of international migration, students will learn from a rotation of both expert professors and practitioners.

The study program is further enhanced by having guest speakers from the various international bodies and field trips to designated agencies in Geneva.

Lionel Fatton
Study International Relations in Geneva

“Webster Geneva Campus is the ideal place to study international relations: surrounded by international organizations and rooted in Geneva's cosmopolitan environment, its U.S. accredited programs combine the academic rigor and the practical expertise of its faculty to build the leaders of tomorrow.”

Lionel Fatton

Geneva has the highest concentration of international organizations, international NGOs and diplomatic missions in the world. It is a global meeting place where key decisions regarding the world are made. All our faculty members possess advanced degrees and have professional experience in many of these organizations in Geneva. Hence, our faculty members not only teach students about the theories and academic aspects of international relations, but also the realities of world affairs based on their own practical experience, providing valuable knowledge, analysis and insight. Our graduates enter the job market with the necessary skills to advance their careers and make a positive contribution. 

Bachelor Programs in International Relations

(links to external catalog)

BA International Relations
BA International Relations with an Emphasis in International Economics

Minor in International Relations

Sample Courses and Instructors

  • Diplomatic History.
  • Methods of Political Enquiry: taught by Dr. Lionel P. Fatton, Asian Studies expert, author and award-winning scholar.
  • Conduct of Foreign Policy.
  • The Politics of the Developing World: taught by Dr. Jubin M. Goodarzi, renowned expert of the Syrian-Iranian relations, former consultant and political advisor to Ms. Sadako Ogata, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in 1990-2000.
  • Theories of Human Rights.
  • International Security.

Geneva was chosen after WWI as the home for the League of Nations, which created the traditions for what is today’s United Nations. The UN Office in Geneva still remains the U.N.’s largest hub outside of New York City.

As home to 38 official International Organizations and representation of International Missions from over 179 States, Geneva is unequivocally the world’s primary hub for Multilateral Affairs. There are also hundreds of international NGOs, from Amnesty International to the WWF, that conduct international advocacy in Geneva, some of whom maintain their EU headquarters here.

Traditions of Humanitarian Action also began in Geneva, with the founding of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent movement. Geneva is also now home to the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, and hosts the Human Rights Council for its annual meetings (over 2-3 weeks) three times per year, which include many public side events.

While Geneva is a small by world standards (about 500,000 total residents), over 30,000 people employed directly in these various International Orgs, NGOs and permanent missions.

Collectively, the United Nations, International Organizations, NGOs and State Missions to the UN are known as “Genève Internationale.”

All U.N. languages are used in official meetings, yet English is the prevailing second language among the large majority of Geneva’s citizens.

What organizations advertise internships at Webster?

Each year, dozens of International Organizations, UN agencies and NGOs advertise internships that are open for students to apply. These include world-renowned foundations as well as small not-for-profits. Webster’s Career Services staff help to match students with available opportunities. In recent years, internship announcements came from UNICEF, the International AIDS Society, UNITAR, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the World Council of Churches, the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions, OAK Foundation, and the UN Conference on Trade and Development, to name a few!

Can I be paid as an intern?

Each year, there are options both for paid and for unpaid internships. Some internships require work eligibility (either Swiss/EU citizenship or family resident permits that allow work); yet others are within International Organizations in Geneva from the United Nations and its agencies to specialized NGOs like The Global Fund or the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Can I do an internship during the academic year or only during summer?

Academic Internships are organized between the school and the employer; generally, these need to coincide with the academic calendar (Fall semester, Spring semester, or Summer term).

Other internship opportunities are sometimes dependent upon the employer’s need. They may have an annual internship program (advertised in advance) or have ‘just-in-time’ needs about which they advertise for immediate placement.

How many hours of work are typically required?

This depends on the needs of the organization. A typical Academic Internship (which earns 3 credits — equal to one course — toward your graduation) would be 14 hours of work per week during a 16-week semester.

What skills will I need for making an internship?

Interns are often hired for a combination of knowledge (from their major) and skills they bring, from language skills to media and website development skills. Many students in IR will pursue electives in media or even marketing, to support their CV as they develop the tool kit they need to earn an internship or a job after graduation.

Why Study International Relations at Webster in Geneva?

  • Learn in International Geneva, the world’s largest center for multilateral diplomacy, where 40% of citizens were born outside of Switzerland.
  • Pursue an internship with one of the United Nations agencies, international organizations or NGOs based in Geneva.
  • Study in on a small campus of a few hundred, who represent about 90 nationalities each year, between students and professors.
  • Attend public workshops, guest speaker presentations and expert panels, including Webster’s annual International Humanitarian and Security Conference — where you can meet diplomats and world officials.
  • Join and contribute to the Webster Humanitarian Association, a student-led NGO.
  • Webster’s campus is less than five kilometers from — and six minutes by train from campus — from the United Nations district of Geneva!

Master Programs

Webster Geneva Campus offers a Master of Arts in International Relations. IR bachelor majors can choose to continue their studies directly (provided they have a 2.5/4.0 scale) in our master’s program (often in combination with an internship), or to apply to specialized master programs at other universities.

Alumni from our International Relations program also recently enrolled in top master's programs, including:

  • MPhil in Education, Globalization and International Development, Cambridge University, U.K.
  • MSc in Political Economy of Late Development, London School of Economics, London, U.K.
  • MA in Public Policy, Hertie School of Governance, Berlin, Germany
  • MSc in Leadership and Development, King’s College, London
  • MA in Peace and Conflict Studies, Oslo University, Norway
  • MA in Political Communication, John Hopkins University, U.S.
  • Prev. Certificate in International Law, University of Geneva
  • MA in International Conflict Studies, King’s College, London, U.K.
Geerija Aggarwal
Alumni Success

“Transferring to Webster was hugely positive because, as an International Relations student, I could not have received better exposure to the field in any city other than Geneva.”

Geerija Aggarwal
Geerija Aggarwal

BA in International Relations and Economics, ’20

More from Alumna Geerija Aggarwal on Webster Geneva Campus “Here, I was able to grow intellectually under the guidance of actual experts from organizations such as the UN, and build some meaningful relationships with my professors and other advisors. My experience with Career Services, in particular, has been extraordinary; they helped me at every step of my student career including getting accustomed to life in Geneva and applying for master’s programs and internships. Without them, the shift from my previous university to Webster would have been very bumpy. Finally, completing a study abroad semester at Webster Geneva gave me the final push in making the decision to transfer from Boston. I was truly able to compare my experiences which allowed me to make an informed decision about which city and university was the best fit for me.”

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