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Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy

MA/PGDip International Studies and Diplomacy

Duration: MA: One calendar year (full time). Two or three years (part time). PGDip: One academic year (full time). Two academic years (part time).

Overview

Minimum Entry Requirements: A minimum upper second class honours degree (or equivalent). We welcome applications from academically strong individuals from a wide variety of fields and backgrounds. It is not always necessary to have a first degree in a discipline directly related to the programme.

Start of programme: September intake only

Mode of Attendance: Full Time or Part Time

Who is this programme for?:

The MA/PGDip International Studies and Diplomacy (ISD) programme is designed for those engaged in, or planning to embark upon, a professional career requiring international expertise in government, not-for-profit, corporate or academic environments.

ISD aims to prepare students for a variety of roles, such as working 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); multinational corporations and international media. The programme also suits those engaged in or considering research roles within a policy think tank, risk analysis organisation or doctoral programme and seeking to deepen their academic and practical understanding of international affairs and contemporary diplomatic practice.

The programme has a multi-disciplinary structure and draws on the teaching and research strengths of CISD and of the SOAS departments of International Politics, Law, Economics and area studies (especially of Asia, Africa and the Middle East) as well as a wide range of languages.  Students choose a combination of courses to meet their specific professional needs and personal interests.

Programme Objectives
  • Excellent inter-disciplinary understanding of key concepts, theories and debates in the study of international affairs
  • Excellent knowledge of international policy debates and principle issues from perspectives of both the global North and South
  • Ability to undertake critical analysis of contemporary international policy issues and challenges
  • Development of course specific practical skills such as policy analysis and policy advocacy, negotiation, mediation, communication and media relations.

We welcome applications from academically strong individuals from a wide variety of fields and backgrounds; however, it is not necessary to have a first degree in a discipline directly related to the programme.

Each application is assessed on its individual merits and entry requirements may be modified in light of relevant professional experience and where the applicant can demonstrate a sustained practical interest in the international field.

Dr Dan Plesch, Director of CISD at SOAS, University of London talks about the masters programme

Email: cisd@soas.ac.uk

Phone: +44 (0)20 7898 4840

Structure

Learn a language as part of this programme

Degree programmes at SOAS - including this one - can include language courses in more than forty African and Asian languages. It is SOAS students’ command of an African or Asian language which sets SOAS apart from other universities.

Students take taught courses to the value of 3 full units plus 10,000 word dissertation

  1. One unit (or two half units) from A
  2. One unit (or two half units) from A or B
  3. One unit (or two half units) from A, B or C
  4. Dissertation (compulsory) on a topic related to the programme’s core themes

Postgraduate Diploma candidates take courses as the MA, excluding the dissertation. 

A). International Studies and Diplomacy Courses
B). Additional courses available within CISD
C). Electives

Please note that acceptance onto an elective course is subject to availability of places, timetabling, and the approval of the convenor of that course.

Suggested electives for International Studies and Diplomacy students
Full Unit Courses (1.0)
 Half-Unit Courses (0.5)

We cannot guarantee that all elective courses offered during the pre-registration period will be available for each academic session.

Programme Specification

Teaching & Learning

Teaching & Learning

The programme may be taken in one year (full time) or in two or three years part time (MA only), with the schedule designed to allow participation by those in full-time employment. Participants may choose a combination of courses to meet their professional needs and personal interests. The programme is convened on a multi-disciplinary basis, and teaching is through lectures, tutorials and workshops conducted by SOAS faculty and visiting specialists.

The Centre endeavours to make as many of the courses for International Studies and Diplomacy (ISD) accessible to part-time students. Where possible the majority of CISD lectures are at 18.00; however, lecture times will be rotated on a yearly basis for some courses (between evening and daytime slots) so that part-time students will have access to as many courses as possible over the duration of their degree. Associated tutorials are repeated in hourly slots with the latest taking place at 20.00. Students sign up for tutorial groups at the start of term and stay in the same group throughout the academic year. There is a minimum of two and a half hours formal teaching a week (lecture and tutorial) for each ISD course taken. Practical exercises may take place at weekends.

Teaching includes
  • Wide range of courses: Diplomatic Studies and Practice, International Relations, International Economics, International Law, and International Security
  • Wide choice of electives: Global Energy and Climate Policy, Multinational Enterprises in a Globalising World or a course offered by other SOAS departments (e.g. Development Studies, Politics, Economics, Law, Languages)
  • Interaction with diplomats, policy makers, NGO officials and other international practitioners.
  • Training in negotiation, policy analysis, policy advocacy, communication and media and other skills through practical exercises including strategy, communication and media workshops, moots courts, and negotiation and mediation workshops.
Further activities

Included in the degree programme:

  • Week long study trip to United Nations organisations in Geneva
  • Media and communication skills training by current and former BBC staff
  • Guest lectures by leading scholars and senior practitioners, and policy conferences (visit the CISD website to listen to the podcasts)
  • Opportunities to actively participate in Centre research programmes

A Student's Perspective

I chose SOAS to pursue my postgraduate studies because of the school’s outstanding reputation globally, its Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy with its pertinent programme that combines theory and practical application, taught by a faculty with exceptional backgrounds.

Alice Huang