SOAS University of London

Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy

MA Global Diplomacy: MENA (Online Learning)

2 years Minimum

2018 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. Candidates with a lower class degree but with degree-relevant work experience may be considered.

Featured events

  • Overview
  • Structure
  • Teaching and Learning
  • Fees and funding
  • Employment
  • Apply


Start of programme: April / October

Mode of Attendance: On-Line

Deepen your understanding of international affairs and contemporary diplomatic practice with a regional focus on Middle East & North Africa. This programme will give you a theoretically and historically informed understanding of the practice of international diplomacy, broadly conceived, and its applications in Middle East & North Africa.

Research is a key component of this programme upon completion will give students the skills to:

  • think critically, with reference to theoretical and empirical (historical and/or contemporary) content about international studies, diplomacy, and political economy in Middle East & North Africa.
  • develop and practice the ability to see – and to comment on – the strengths and the weaknesses of others’ ideas and arguments.

The programme is delivered by the Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy (CISD) and the University of London International Academy (UoLIA)  in association with the FCO's Diplomatic Academy, using a combination of multi-disciplinary teaching, cutting-edge research and public discussion of diplomacy and international politics in a globalised world.

This programme is available as a Masters, Postgraduate Diploma and Postgraduate Certificate level. Please see the Structure tab for more information.

Who is this course for?

This course is for those engaged in or embarking on a career in diplomatic or related fields in Middle East & North Africa requiring international expertise in government, not-for-profit, corporate or academic environments.


Phone: +44 (0)20 7898 4895




There are two core modules and a range of elective modules on offer each session. There are also four research mini modules a Masters

  • 2 x core modules (30 credits each)
  • 2 x elective modules (30 credits each)
  • 4 x research mini modules
  • 1 x dissertation on a topic related to Middle East & North Africa (60 credits)

Of the taught modules, one core module and one elective module must be from the Middle East & North Africa list, while one core module and one elective module must be from the Diplomacy list.

PG Diploma
  • 2 x core modules (30 credits each)
  • 2 x elective modules (30 credits each)
  • 4 x research mini modules

Of the taught modules, one core module and one elective module must be from the Middle East & North Africa list, while one core module and one elective module must be from the Diplomacy list.

PG Certificate
  • 1 x core module (30 credits)
  • 1 x elective module (30 credits)
  • 2 x research mini modules

Middle East & North Africa modules

Diplomacy modules

Core Modules

Economy, Politics and Society in Middle East & North Africa

Art of Negotiation

Elective Modules

Israel, The Arab World and Palestine

Diplomatic Systems

Iran: History, Culture and Politics

Global Citizenship and Advocacy

Arab Spring: The Context Causes and Consequences

Global Public Policy

Iraq since 1980

Global Media

Issues in Contemporary North Africa

International Economics

Muslim Minorities in a Global Context

Islam and Political Ideology

International Relations and International History

International Security

Strategic Studies

Religion and Politics

Trade Diplomacy

Economics, Politics and Society: Africa

Economics, Politics and Society: South Asia

Sport Diplomacy

Global Energy and Climate Policy

Global International Organisation: UN in the World 

Core modules

Economy, Politics and Society in Middle East & North Africa

You will gain an interdisciplinary, social science foundation to the study of the region of Middle East & North Africa. By engaging with a series of key debates related to economic, political and social change, you will gain an understanding of the underlying and overarching processes which are shaping societies, polities, and economies in the region.

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.

Dissertation (For MA students only)

This is an opportunity for students to produce a sustained piece of individual, academic research on a topic of their choice, related to Middle East & North Africa and diplomacy or International Relations, under the guidance of one of SOAS’s expert academics.

Elective modules

Israel, The Arab World and Palestine

This module will provide you with a clear idea of the complexity of the Israel-Palestine conflict, as well as the history of the Jewish community before and after the establishment of the Israeli nation-state in 1948. By focussing on shifts on the ground, students will be able to see the conflict from a number of perspectives and will have a clear sense of how the differing strands of Zionism have impacted Israeli policies, as well as how shifting Palestinian political centres have emerged within the context of defeat and diaspora. Lastly, students will gain a sense of the way in which this conflict has shaped Israeli and Palestinian societies through an attention to cultural artefacts that portray the many impacts of the conflict.

Iran: History, Culture and Politics

This module will present an interdisciplinary critical overview of the long history of Iran, but with particular focus on key issues in contemporary Iranian society, politics, and culture. For this reason, it draws upon expertise in the Department of the Languages and Cultures of Near and Middle East, of History, Politics, Study of Religions, and Media. It will be available as a minor option for the MA in Near and Middle Eastern Studies, MA Islamic Studies and MA Islamic Societies and Cultures, to which it will provide a unique focus on Iran.

Arab Spring: The Context, Causes and Consequences

This module studies the Arab Spring in three stages. The first looks at the root causes of the uprising both domestic and international. The second investigates the diplomatic and social context in which these events took place. The third looks at the long term ramifications of the uprising both within the nations affected and for diplomacy in the region.

Iraq since 1980

Issues in contemporary North Africa 

Diplomatic Systems

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

You will 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.

International Economics

You will 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 module is structured thematically, allowing for an interlinked analytical and narrative account of international studies to be presented.

International Security

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.

Strategic Studies

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.

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.


Teaching and Learning

Teaching & Learning

Virtual Learning Environment (VLE)
This programme is taught 100% online through our VLE. In the VLE you will have access to learning materials and course resources anytime so you can fit your studies around your existing commitments. For each module, students will be provided with access, through both the SOAS Library and the University of London’s Online Library, to all necessary materials from a range of appropriate sources.
A key component of the student experience will be peer to peer learning, with students enrolled in discussion forums.
Study timetable
In addition to a dedicated Associate Tutor, a Study Timetable is provided for each module and for the overall programme to help you to organise your time.
The programme is broken down into two study sessions per year. Each subject module lasts 16 weeks, followed by a research mini module lasting 8 weeks.
Sample Study Timetable

Study session example
Activity Duration
Substantive module 16 weeks
Reading week 2 weeks
Research mini module 8 weeks
Reading week 2 weeks
Research training

Research training is a key feature of this programme and all students must complete a compulsory mini research module following on from each module. Research modules 1 and 3 are formative modules only, and are not assessed.

In addition to the research modules, those going on to do a PGDip or MA must submit a research proposal and MA students must submit a dissertation at the end of research module four


Each module is assessed by five written online assessments (‘etivities[1]’) comprising 30% and one 5,000 word essay comprising 70% of the module mark. The etivities provide formative and summative feedback to students as a means of monitoring their progress and encouraging areas in which they can improve.


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.

Fees and funding

MSc PGDip* PGCert*
£10,000 £9,000 £5,000

Local exam centre fees may apply.

*Only applicable to Global Diplomacy: South Asia and Global Diplomacy: Middle East & North Africa 

Pay as you Learn

Our distance learning programmes can be paid in full at the time of enrolment or on a pay as you learn basis. Pay as you learn means you only pay for the module you are enrolling on.

Postgraduate loans

If you have been a resident in England for 3 years you may be eligible. For more information, please see Fees and Finance..


For further details and information on external scholarships visit the Scholarships section


"I found it worth every working hour and every penny. What is most important for me - as a diplomat by profession and a former IR student - is that I did learn a lot. One specific area of personal gain was research methods and writing techniques. Now I feel an urge to consider a PhD sometime in the future - an idea unthinkable before - mainly because I gained confidence in my capacity for such an endeavor."

Bachir C. Azzam
Head of the Americas & the UN Section, Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Emigrants, Lebanon
MA Global Diplomacy (2016)

A Student's Perspective

I chose SOAS to study the MA International Studies and Diplomacy because the course is truly one of a kind. When searching for Masters courses, I could not find a similar one anywhere in the UK, let alone a better one!

Marta Corti


How to Apply

You can apply using our online application form

If you have any questions please use our online enquiry form.

The deadlines for applications are as follows:

  • 30 September 2017 for a 17 October 2017 start
  • 31 March 2018 for a 17 April 2018 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
  • 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.

4. References

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:

Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy
SOAS University of London
Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square
London, WC1H 0XG
United Kingdom

Find out more

  • Contact us
    By phone:
    +44 (0)20 7898 4895
    By email:
  • Got a question?

    If you still have questions about this programme or studying at SOAS get in touch.

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  • Apply

    CISD distance learning applications should be made through our online application form.

    Start your application