HomeDissertation TopicsTrending International Relations (IR) Dissertation Topics in 2024

Trending International Relations (IR) Dissertation Topics in 2024


International relations (IR) is a field of political science that studies the interactions among states, as well as between states and non-state actors, on the global stage. It encompasses a wide range of topics, including diplomacy, war, trade, international organizations, and human rights. The discipline seeks to understand the nature of international politics, the factors that lead to conflict or cooperation, and the strategies used by states and other actors to pursue their interests.

International relations theory provides various perspectives to analyze global politics. Some of the major theoretical frameworks include:

  1. Realism: Focuses on the competitive and conflictual aspects of international relations, emphasizing the role of state power and national interest.
  2. Liberalism: Highlights the potential for cooperation in international relations, stressing the importance of international institutions, democracy, and economic interdependence.
  3. Constructivism: Examines how ideational factors such as beliefs, identities, and norms shape state behavior and the international system.

These theories and others help scholars and policymakers understand and navigate the complex web of international relationships and events.

Writing a Dissertation on International Relations

Writing a dissertation on International Relations (IR) is a challenging but rewarding endeavor that requires a deep understanding of global politics, history, and the theoretical frameworks that underpin the discipline. Here are some steps and tips to consider when embarking on this academic journey:

1. Choose a Research Topic

  • Identify an Area of Interest: Start with a broad area of interest within IR, such as conflict resolution, global governance, international trade, or human rights.
  • Narrow It Down: Focus on a specific question or issue that is manageable, original, and significant. Your topic should contribute to the existing body of knowledge in IR.

2. Conduct a Literature Review

  • Gather Sources: Collect academic books, journal articles, and other scholarly materials that are relevant to your topic.
  • Analyze and Synthesize: Examine how your research fits into the existing academic discourse. Identify gaps in the literature where your work can contribute new insights.

3. Develop a Theoretical Framework

  • Choose Appropriate Theories: Select one or more IR theories that will guide your analysis. Whether it’s realism, liberalism, constructivism, or another framework, ensure it aligns with your research question.
  • Apply the Theory: Explain how the theoretical framework helps to understand your research topic. This will form the foundation of your argument.

4. Design Your Research Methodology

  • Qualitative or Quantitative: Decide whether your research will be qualitative (e.g., case studies, interviews) or quantitative (e.g., statistical analysis, datasets), or a mix of both.
  • Data Collection: Outline how you will collect your data. For empirical research, this might involve fieldwork, archival research, or the use of existing databases.

5. Write the Dissertation

  • Introduction: Present your research question, its significance, and an overview of your dissertation’s structure.
  • Literature Review: Discuss the existing literature and how your research fills a gap.
  • Methodology: Describe your research methods and justify your choices.
  • Findings and Analysis: Present your data and analyze it in line with your theoretical framework.
  • Conclusion: Summarize your findings, discuss their implications for IR theory and practice, and suggest areas for future research.

6. Edit and Revise

  • Peer Feedback: Share your work with peers and advisors to get feedback.
  • Revise: Incorporate feedback and revise your dissertation for clarity, coherence, and argument strength.

7. Final Submission

  • Ensure that your dissertation meets your department’s formatting and submission requirements. Pay attention to details like citation style, margins, and the inclusion of required sections (abstract, acknowledgments, etc.).

Additional Tips

  • Stay Organized: Keep track of your sources and data from the beginning.
  • Time Management: Set realistic deadlines for each stage of your dissertation.
  • Self-Care: Writing a dissertation is a marathon, not a sprint. Make sure to take care of your physical and mental health throughout the process.

Writing a dissertation in International Relations is an opportunity to make a significant contribution to the field. By carefully selecting a topic, conducting thorough research, and presenting your findings clearly and persuasively, you can produce a work that reflects your academic rigor and passion for international affairs.

Why Topics Selection is Important


Topic selection is a critical first step in the research process, especially for a dissertation or any substantial academic project. The importance of choosing the right topic cannot be overstated, as it influences the direction, relevance, and impact of your research. Here are several reasons why topic selection is so crucial:

1. Feasibility and Scope

A well-chosen topic ensures that your research is feasible within the given time frame and with the available resources. It helps in defining the scope of your study, making sure it is neither too broad nor too narrow. A topic that is too broad can make your research unfocused and overwhelming, while a too narrow topic might not be substantial enough for a dissertation.

2. Personal Interest and Motivation

Research projects, especially dissertations, require a significant investment of time and effort. Selecting a topic that you are passionate about or have a strong interest in can keep you motivated throughout the research process. Personal interest in a topic can also inspire deeper insight and a more engaged and thorough investigation.

3. Originality and Contribution to the Field

The significance of your research is partly determined by its originality and its contribution to the existing body of knowledge. A carefully selected topic can help you identify gaps in the literature or areas where you can challenge existing assumptions, leading to new insights and advancements in your field.

4. Career Relevance

Choosing a topic that aligns with your career goals or professional interests can be beneficial for your future. The research can serve as a foundation for your expertise in a specific area, making you more attractive to employers, academic programs, or research grants. It can also provide networking opportunities with experts in your field.

5. Research Design and Methodology

The topic influences the choice of research design and methodology. Certain topics might lend themselves better to qualitative methods, such as case studies or interviews, while others might be more suited to quantitative analysis. A clear and focused topic helps in designing a coherent and effective research strategy.

6. Ethical Considerations

A thoughtful selection of topic also involves considering the ethical implications of your research. Some topics might involve sensitive subjects or vulnerable populations, requiring careful ethical consideration and adherence to strict research guidelines.

7. Funding and Support

The potential to secure funding or institutional support can depend on the topic’s relevance, timeliness, and significance. Research topics that address pressing societal issues, innovative technologies, or emerging trends are often more likely to attract financial support and resources.

In summary, the selection of a research topic is a foundational step that sets the stage for the entire research project. It influences the feasibility, direction, and impact of your study, affecting everything from your daily motivation to your long-term career trajectory. Taking the time to carefully consider and choose a research topic is an investment in the success of your research project and your future in academia or professional practice.

Here are 50 International Relations Dissertation Topics for your Dissertation

Creating a comprehensive list of trending International Relations (IR) dissertation topics across various fields can help spark inspiration and guide your research focus. The field of IR is vast, encompassing global politics, economics, security, environmental issues, and more. Below are 50 trending topics across different IR areas that reflect current global challenges, emerging trends, and scholarly debates:

Global Politics and Governance

  1. The impact of populism on international alliances and treaties.
  2. The role of international organizations in managing the COVID-19 pandemic.
  3. Cyber sovereignty and its implications for global governance.
  4. The effectiveness of United Nations peacekeeping missions in the 21st century.
  5. The rise of city diplomacy and its impact on international relations.

Security Studies

  1. The evolving nature of terrorism and counterterrorism strategies.
  2. Cybersecurity threats and international cooperation in cyberspace.
  3. The impact of artificial intelligence on global security.
  4. Climate change as a security threat: implications for global stability.
  5. Nuclear non-proliferation challenges in the post-Cold War era.

International Political Economy

  1. The Belt and Road Initiative and its impact on global trade patterns.
  2. The future of the World Trade Organization and global trade disputes.
  3. Digital currencies and their potential to reshape the global financial system.
  4. The economic effects of climate change policies on developing countries.
  5. The role of multinational corporations in shaping global economic policies.

Environmental Politics

  1. International cooperation in addressing plastic pollution in the oceans.
  2. The politics of climate change negotiations: challenges and prospects.
  3. Renewable energy transitions and international energy politics.
  4. Water scarcity and its implications for international peace and security.
  5. The role of indigenous peoples in global environmental governance.

Human Rights and Humanitarian Issues

  1. The international response to the refugee crisis: a case study approach.
  2. The impact of international sanctions on human rights.
  3. Gender and peacekeeping: the role of women in UN peacekeeping missions.
  4. The effectiveness of international courts in prosecuting war crimes.
  5. Children in armed conflict: challenges for international protection.

Regional Studies

  1. The implications of Brexit for European Union foreign policy.
  2. China’s foreign policy under Xi Jinping: a new era of assertiveness?
  3. The role of ASEAN in managing South China Sea disputes.
  4. Russian foreign policy in the Middle East: implications for regional stability.
  5. The impact of US-China rivalry on small and medium-sized countries.

Diplomacy and International Relations Theory

  1. Digital diplomacy: how social media is reshaping diplomatic practices.
  2. The relevance of realism in understanding contemporary international relations.
  3. Soft power in the 21st century: the case of cultural diplomacy.
  4. Non-state actors and their influence on global politics.
  5. The concept of “middle powers” and their role in international diplomacy.

Conflict and Peace Studies

  1. The effectiveness of conflict resolution mechanisms in Africa.
  2. The role of international mediators in peace negotiations.
  3. Post-conflict reconstruction and the challenge of peacebuilding.
  4. The impact of drone warfare on international law and conflict.
  5. Ethnic conflicts and the international community’s response.

Global Health Politics

  1. International cooperation in vaccine distribution: lessons from COVID-19.
  2. The World Health Organization’s role in global health crises.
  3. Health as a bridge for peace: integrating health initiatives into peacebuilding efforts.
  4. The impact of global health emergencies on international trade and travel.
  5. Addressing antimicrobial resistance through international collaboration.

Technology and International Relations

  1. The governance of emerging technologies: AI, biotech, and nanotech.
  2. Space politics: international cooperation and competition in outer space.
  3. The digital divide and its implications for global inequality.
  4. International regulation of autonomous weapons systems.
  5. The role of technology in enhancing or undermining democracy globally.

Each of these topics offers a rich field for exploration and could lead to a significant contribution to the field of International Relations. Remember, the best dissertation topic is one that combines your personal interests with scholarly significance and feasibility.

Summer Leonard
Summer Leonardhttps://studentsnews.co.uk
Summer Leonard writes about students and school life. She shares practical advice and understanding based on her own experiences. Her writing aims to create a supportive community among students, helping them navigate the challenges of academics. Through simple and thoughtful words, she inspires and guides those on the educational journey.

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