Diplomacy MA/PGDip

Course details: Details | Why study this course | Modules | Fees and funding | Entry requirements | How to apply.

This Masters is designed to give students a thorough grounding in the principles and practice of diplomacy. It traces the origins of diplomatic institutions, international law and organization and brings these right up to date by exploring the social, political and technological challenges faced by contemporary diplomats. It is designed for students who are either familiar with the study of international relations or politics at undergraduate level or who are enthusiastic to focus on this area of study at the postgraduate level.

Our students follow a flexible programme with a wide choice of modules. Students take two core modules in Diplomacy and Statecraft and Diplomatic History that provide them with a foundation for thinking about the subject. They then design the rest of the programme around their own interests by selecting four modules from a wide range of options.  The flexibility of this programme is ideal for those with a broad range of interests in international relations, diplomacy, negotiation, conflict resolution and international law or for those who want to construct a curriculum around a particular area of interest. 

As a postgraduate student in POLSIS you will also have the opportunity to take part in a wide range of events. You will be welcomed as a member of the International Relations and Security Theory research group. This group includes members of academic staff and postgraduate research students who meet regularly to discuss their own research, recent publications and to organise research events including inviting visiting speakers.


We can confirm that EU students who are already studying at the University of Birmingham or who intend to start their studies in 2018 or 2019 will continue to be charged the UK fee rate applicable at the time (may be subject to annual increases for inflation) for the duration of their course. The Postgraduate Masters or Doctoral loan will also be available to eligible EU students for the duration of their course. Visit our EU Referendum information page for more information.

Diplomacy is at the heart of International Relations and ranges from peaceful negotiations to coercion and economic sanctions. It is often key to the prevention or resolution of conflict and plays a strategic role in other key international issues such as trade and security.

This degree offers insight into both the mechanisms of dialogue between states and the instruments of statecraft commonly employed. It is particularly suitable for students interested in a career in diplomacy, including mid-career students.

Topics and issues examined include

  • What is diplomacy?
  • How has the role of diplomats changed over time?
  • What techniques of negotiation, bargaining and coercion are available to diplomats and when are they most effective at getting results?
  • What impact has technology had on the speed and nature of diplomatic work?
  • How significant are human rights and social justice in diplomacy?
  • What are the most important challenges for international diplomacy and how can they be overcome?
  • Is international order under threat and how can it be reformed to make it more sustainable?

As part of the course, students can attend guest talks by senior individuals from diplomacy and international security and have the opportunity to go on a field trip to Brussels to visit EU agencies and speak to NATO officials.

Who is the programme for?

The degree will be of interest and benefit to those wishing to pursue careers in diplomacy, foreign policy, international organizations, security or international policy work. In all cases, students are encouraged to work closely with staff in a supportive and intellectually-committed environment. 

Please note these courses have changed for 2019/20. For students studying in 2018/19 please refer to the Programmes and Modules handbook.

Why study this course

  • Choose from an extensive range of optional modules
  • Study in a supportive environment with research-active staff working on diplomacy, internationals relations and security
  • Be a part of the IR and Security Theory research group
  • Participate in a range of intellectual and social events alongside your programme

Modules

This degree programme comprises the following modules:

Core modules

Optional Modules 



The optional modules listed on the website for this programme may unfortunately occasionally be subject to change. As you will appreciate key members of staff may leave the University and this necessitates a review of the modules that are offered. Where the module is no longer available we will let you know as soon as we can and help you make other choices.

Fees and funding

Masters degree fees 2019-20
  Full time Part time
Home/EU students £9,250 £4,625
Overseas students £17,910  -
Postgraduate diploma fees 2019-20
  Full time Part time
Home/EU students £6,167 £3,083
Overseas students £11,940  -

Please check with the Department for the latest fees information.
Learn more about fees and funding.

Postgraduate Loans for Masters students

The Postgraduate Student Loan has increased its maximum loan amount to £10,609. For more detailed information view our Postgraduate funding page.

Scholarships and studentships
Scholarships may be available. International students can often gain funding through overseas research scholarships, Commonwealth scholarships or their home government.

For further information contact the School directly or visit studenthelp.bham.ac.uk.

Scholarships and bursaries in the Department of Political Science and International Studies (POLSIS).

Entry requirements

For the MA programme you require a good Honours degree or its equivalent. For those whose first language is not English, an IELTS Certificate is required.

Learn more about entry requirements.

International students:

Academic requirements

We accept a range of qualifications, our country pages show you what qualifications we accept from your country.

English language requirements

You can satisfy our English language requirements in two ways:

How to apply

Making your application

Applications will open for 2019 entry on Monday 1st October 2018.

When clicking on the Apply Now button you will be directed to an application specifically designed for the programme you wish to apply for where you will create an account with the University application system and submit your application and supporting documents online. Further information regarding how to apply online can be found on the How to apply pages

Apply now

We advocate an enquiry-based approach to learning, which means that we encourage you to become an independent and self-motivated learner. Through the programme of study we offer, we will develop the qualities that employers value in today's university graduates - qualities that will set you apart in your future career.

To help you develop the above-mentioned skills, we adopt a range of teaching methods. They may include:

  • Lectures - listening to experts sharing their knowledge and discoveries in challenging and provocative ways. Students are expected to 'read-around' the subject matter of their lectures, adding to their understanding and developing their critical faculties and analytical skills.
  • Seminars - where you present and discuss your ideas and knowledge in smaller groups and debate interpretations and opinions with other students.
  • Tutorials - are your opportunity to discuss your work with your tutor, usually in small groups.
  • Workshops - are problem solving sessions facilitated by a member of academic staff; these sessions usually involve students working in groups.

Our lecturers and tutors will ensure you have all the resources you need to make the transition from A levels to the more rigorous demands of a degree.

More about teaching and learning at the University of Birmingham.

Enhancing your student experience

In the School of Government and Society we offer much more than a degree. As a student here, whether undergraduate or postgraduate, you have the opportunity to take part in a wide range of events, with some or all of the costs paid for by the School.

Some of these are targeted to help you build skills and experience for your CV, others are more open events designed to expose you to high-level speakers on current debates relevant to all Government and Society students.

Read more of our students' experiences and profiles on the school website.

Graduates from the School have gone on to work in a range of careers, with recent graduates working with organisations such as the United Nations, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, local authorities in the UK and overseas and the Department for International Development.

The School takes employability very seriously and as well as linking students to the central careers services, also incorporates opportunities to enhance their employment prospects, including highlighting work experience opportunities, encouraging volunteering in extra-curricular projects (such as student seminars and events) and by inviting backgrounds for students to meet.

Careers Network

The Careers Network provides a dedicated service to help you find work experience or internship opportunities outside of your studies, either part-time during term-time, or over the summer vacation. Right from the start of your degree you will have access to our interactive careers service, through which many regional, national and international employers advertise their vacancies, and your college internship officers will go out and about to find vacancies that will be a useful addition to your CV. 

Find out more about support for work experience and internships, bursaries, or mentoring.