MA Global Diplomacy (Distance Learning)
Enhancing your International Career
Duration: Two years
Mode of Attendance: Distance Learning
Learn about the key concepts of diplomacy and the institutional development of diplomatic relations. You will also gain in-depth knowledge of negotiations processes through the course's core module, The Art of Negotiation. In addition, you will be able to select modules according to your interests and career goals, including International Security, Diplomatic Systems, and America and the World: US Foreign Policy.
Established in 2013 and based on 20 years of experience within Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy (CISD), MA Global Diplomacy will allow you to deepen your understanding of international affairs and contemporary diplomatic practice. The programme brings together cutting-edge research in delivering an engaging and stimulating student experience in a dynamic field of study.
You will acquire the knowledge, understanding and skills necessary to proceed to careers in a range of professional contexts where diplomacy is relevant, while also providing the learning opportunities to enable you, as a postgraduate student, to acquire the interdisciplinary knowledge to undertake further advanced studies and research in the area of global diplomacy.
The course has its foundations in an established heritage of high-quality teaching and research within SOAS' Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy (CISD). The mission of CISD is to promote multi-disciplinary teaching that combines the distinctive expertise of SOAS with cutting-edge research and public discussion of diplomacy and international politics in a globalised world.
Who is this programme for?
Relevant for those engaged in or embarking on a career in diplomatic or related fields requiring international expertise in government, not-for-profit, corporate or academic environments.
By studying online you will also have the flexibility to integrate studies into your working life without having to take a career break.
Start of programme: April and October
Fees: £10,000, payable in advance or in four instalments of £2,500 (plus a local exam centre fee)
Phone: +44 (0)20 7898 4050
Students will study four modules, comprising one core and three elective modules (30 credits each). You will also be required to complete a dissertation (60 credits).
The Art of Negotiation
You will learn about the key concepts of diplomacy and the institutional development of diplomatic relations. You will also be introduced to the strategy and tactics of negotiation and its place in international relations between states.
This is an opportunity for students to produce a sustained piece of individual, academic research on their chosen topic within the field of international relations under the guidance of one of CISD’s expert academics.
Students are able to indicate three preferred modules from the below list. These are subject to availability.
America and the World: US Foreign Policy
You will examine the various approaches to the study and understanding of American foreign policy. Beginning with an introduction to relevant literature and influences, the module goes on to address US foreign policy-making process. Case-studies will be included, covering both the Cold War and post-Cold War eras. The course will culminate in an assessment of the nature, extent and likely development of American global power.
You will learn about the conditions in which diplomacy is stimulated and the nature of different diplomatic systems that arise as a result of variations in these conditions. You will also study historical and contemporary case studies from Byzantium to Ancient Greece and from the French system to a transatlantic system of diplomacy.
Global Diplomacy: Global Citizenship and Advocacy
Develop an understanding of how to influence policy at an international level and how to affect policy changes to meet the aims of non-governmental and international organisations. You will look at how to achieve change at a global level, networking across national boundaries and on global issues.
Global Energy and Climate Policy
You will study the key themes and approaches in the study of global energy and climate policy as two closely interrelated global challenges. You will investigate international regime formation and diplomatic landscapes in the energy and climate change fields, analyse the geopolitical dimensions of energy supply and demand, and examine regulatory approaches to cutting greenhouse gases.
Global International Organisation: United Nations in the World
Examine the context of the United Nations (UN) and the UN system within other International Organisations (IOs). You will examine the ways in which International Organisations came into being and how they evolved into the United Nations Organisation in 1945. Learn how the UN system has changed in recent years, and what the short and medium-term effect of these changes are likely to be with particular attention on peacekeeping, collective security, and human rights.
Global Public Policy
Gain an understanding of public policy making in a context of intensifying globalisation and transnational political contestation. You will undertake rigorous and critical analysis of policy and the complex processes by which it is formulated, adopted and implemented.
Learn about the theory of international economics and become familiar with the practice of international economic relations through the study of current policy debates about the workings of the contemporary international economy.
International History and International Relations
You will analyse the major debates in the disciplines of international history and international relations. The course is structured thematically, allowing for an interlinked analytical and narrative account of international studies to be presented.
Focusing on developments since the end of the Cold War, you will be given the analytical tools to think critically and independently about the nature of contemporary international security. You will consider a range of contemporary security issues including terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, the Iraq War and the future of the Middle East, and the prospects for peace and security in the 21st century.
Muslim Minorities in a Global Context
An insight into the diversity of Muslim minority communities at a time when political shifts in Muslim majority countries – such as Turkey, Afghanistan, Iran and across the MENA region – have put Muslim minorities into the spotlight and impacted upon their relationship with host countries.
You will trace the emergence and development of Muslim minorities in both Western and non-Western contexts, and examine how Muslims have forged new identities as they have negotiated their places within their host societies.
Sport and Diplomacy
Since the era of the ancient Olympic Games, sporting competition has assisted human societies in mediating estrangements, resolving conflict and sublimating competitive urges. You will analyse how sports and diplomacy interrelate and consider how international sporting institutions have functioned as non-state actors in diplomacy, from antiquity to the present day.
The area of strategic studies is increasingly relevant in light of conflicts in the past decade in Ukraine, Georgia, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Sudan, Iraq and Afghanistan. You will address a range of strategic influences such as power and force, asymmetric/irregular warfare, and the role of security providers such as NATO. The relationship between strategy and policy will be explored through a series of case studies including US involvement in Vietnam and conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Teaching & Learning
Teaching & Learning
Fully supported student learning is intimately linked to assessment in the programme to ensure students do as well as they can. Each module, with the exception of the Dissertation, is assessed by one three-hour seen examined component comprising 70% of the module marker and by the previous submission of five written e-tivities* comprising 30%.
The Dissertation is assessed by the submission of a written dissertation of not more than 15,000 words, excluding the bibliography and appendices, which will account for 85% of the mark awarded for the module. The remaining 15% of the module mark will be based on the mark obtained for a 1,500 word research proposal.
The examined components take place immediately following the conclusion of a module in August and February on a six monthly cycle. These are held at University of London approved centres worldwide.
* An 'e-tivity' is a framework for online, active and interactive learning following a format that states clearly to the students its 'Purpose'; the 'Task' at hand; the contribution or 'Response' type; and the 'Outcome' (Salmon, G. (2002) E-tivities: The Key to Active Online Learning, New York and London: Routledge Falmer.)
The degree aims to prepare students for such roles as those within a Foreign Service or other government department, international civil service (such as the United Nations or European Union), international NGOs (working in fields such as development, humanitarian assistance and conflict resolution), as well as multinational corporations and international media.
How to Apply
You can apply using our online application form.
The deadlines for applications are as follows:
- 31 March 2016 for a 20 April 2016 start
Your completed application will be reviewed by a member of academic staff. If your application is successful, we will send you an official offer within ten working days and you will be asked to submit the relevant supporting documentation. Once in receipt of our offer, we recommend submitting your documents immediately.
Supporting documentation for applications
1. Degree certificates
We require documentation confirming the award of all qualifications listed in your application, which can either be your certificate or academic transcript. This must show: the name of the university, programme studied and the grade/classification you attained. If your university cannot issue official documents in English, we will require a certified translation in English of your degree certificate/transcript.
You can send us either original or certified copies of your documents. If you send original documents and you would like these to be returned to you, please state this in your covering letter.
If you send certified copies, please ensure that each document has been stamped and verified by one of the following:
- British Council official. (You can find the location of your nearest British Council office from www.britishcouncil.org)
- Local British Embassy, Consulate or High Commission
- Notary Public
- The issuing university (in the case of academic qualifications)
2. Copy of an identification document
This must be either your passport or birth certificate. This does not need to be certified, and may be sent to us via email.
Note: If your name as stated on your academic documents does not match that given on your identification document, we will also require documentary evidence (such as a marriage certificate) that supports your change of name.
3. Copy of English language proficiency certificate
If your degree was not taught and assessed in English, you will need to submit evidence of your English language competency. This should be either an IELTS or TOEFL certificate (you will need an IELTS overall score of 7.0 OR 7 in both reading and writing). This does not need to be certified and may be received via email.
We may also request that you provide us with references in support of your application. They should be from an individual who knows you on an academic basis. However, if you graduated more than three years ago we will accept a professional reference.
Your reference should include an opinion (in English) on your academic and personal suitability for the proposed programme of study.
Please note that, if necessary, we reserve the right to verify your qualifications with the relevant awarding body and to request further information from you about your background.
Send your supporting documents to the following address:
Distance Learning Administration
SOAS, University of London
Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square
London, WC1H 0XG
A Student's Perspective
The experience was excellent throughout. Each of the four modules was challenging and I learnt more about topics I was already interested in. The programme also led me to discover research material that I would have otherwise been unaware of.