- 2 years
Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy
MA Global Diplomacy (Online Learning) (2018 entry)
- 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.
- Teaching and Learning
- Fees and funding
Start of programme: April / October
Mode of Attendance: Full-time
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.
The programme is delivered by the Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy (CISD) 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.
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, students will also have the flexibility to integrate studies into working life without having to take a career break.
Phone: +44 (0)20 7898 4895
Students will study one core modules and a range of elective modules on offer each session. There are also four research mini modules.
- 1 x core modules
- 3 x elective modules
- 4 x research mini modules
- 1 x dissertation
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 required to rank three modules in preferred order from the below sample list for each study session. All modules are subject to availability and this list is not exhaustive from session to session.
Afghanistan: Strategic and Geopolitical Perspectives
You will engage with political debates about the strategic and geopolitical significance of Afghanistan and analyse the ways in which the region became a site for the Cold War through U.S. and Soviet direct and indirect interventions. You will also develop a nuanced understanding of how the ‘war on terror’ impacts upon the region in terms of the struggle to develop sustainable local governance amidst international security interests.
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 module will culminate in an assessment of the nature, extent and likely development of American global power.
This module addresses a crucial element of contemporary diplomacy and international affairs, the role of digital technologies in practices, processes and language of diplomacy. As such, it will respond to rapidly changing environments for diplomacy and international relations. The module aims to introduce students to the complexities of digital diplomacy and unpack at least some of the key issues to help them navigate their way through the digital architecture of the 21st Century.
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.
Economics, Politics and Society in MENA
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.
Economics, Politics and Society in South Asia
You will gain an interdisciplinary, social science foundation to the study of the region of South Asia. 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.
Foundations of International Law
Foundations of International Law is an introductory module suitable for those who have not previously studied either law or international law. It aims to introduce students both to the 'building blocks' of international law and to basic legal research and writing skills. Students will also be encouraged to think critically about the rule and role of international law in international affairs.
Gender, Conflict and the Middle-East
This module offers insight into key issues in the study of gender and conflict in the Middle East. The module will introduce key issues in relation to the gendered dynamics of violence, conflict, and security. While focusing on conflict, the course will explore gendered mobilization for peace and wider political participation. Although the focus is on empirical case studies, we will also cover other relevant issues such as representation, knowledge production and artistic productions. In highlighting important issues in the study of gender and conflict in the Middle East, the module aims to challenge prevailing stereotypes about women and gender in the region.
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.
In Global Media we will turn our critical attention to the ways in which media and communication technologies, operating amidst the complex dynamics of globalisation, can have a profound impact on our understanding and analysis of diplomacy and international relations. Throughout the course, you will develop analyses of the ways in which old political, cultural and social boundaries are challenged by the new networks of an emerging global civil society. By the end of the course you will have started to establish your own critique of how postnational cosmopolitan identifications coexist with local forms of social and cultural ‘belonging'.
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.
Human and Critical Security Studies
The Human and Critical Security Studies module examines the meanings, mechanisms and agents of security, acknowledging shifts from the traditional notion of national security to forms of Human Security and critiques of the state. The module investigates processes and phenomena that pose direct threats to groups of people and, in doing so, potentially destabilise or aggravate situations. Famine, the oil trade and AIDS undermine people physically, politically and psychologically, and on occasions result in further forms of insecurity as people resist, retaliate or take advantage of volatile situations. The module will examine social factors such as age, gender, class and identity and the way that these shape and are shaped by experiences of security and look at the rapidly expanding academic literature linking specific threats to processes of vulnerability, insecurity, terror and globalisation. The UN, itself heavily involved in forging the meanings of security, has produced documents relating to health, climate change and other elements covered in the course.
India's Foreign and Security Policy
Beginning with the creation of independent India and its borders in 1947, you will acquire the analytical tools you need to assess how India’s foreign and security policy has evolved over time. The module will highlight a number of contemporary issues which address both internal and external security policy in India, including the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) and India’s bi-lateral relations with its neighbours (principally Pakistan) in relation to borders, militarisation, and security. You will also evaluate India’s aspirations for global stature at the international policy level.
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.
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.
Multinational Enterprises in a Globalising World
This module is designed to provide an in-depth understanding of the nature and development of multinational corporations (MNC) and to view this as an evolving and changing process that has contemporary significance in international studies. MNCs control much of global trade and financial flows. The course will allow students to critically analyse the inter-relationships between MNC operations and their impact in international studies and diplomacy through the use of relevant theoretical and empirical literature.
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.
Pakistan: Religion, Politics and Security
This module will provide an interdisciplinary foundation in the study of Pakistan. Through the various topics, which will cover its security paradigm, politics, economy, state, society and religion, you will understand the factors that shape the state and influence its behaviour.
Political Economy of Violence, Conflict and Development
This module provides a grounding in analytical approaches to the political economy of violence, conflict and development by discussing empirical trends, difficulties of data collection and the importance of categorization and boundaries to matters of violence. Foundational theories on conflict and violence including gender perspectives, debates about the origins of human violence (anthropological, historical, psychological sources of violence) and the role of violence in historical change will considered. Against this background, the course explores how development theory has treated violence and conflict at different times before focusing on competing contemporary theories and claims about the causes and dynamics of conflict.The course ends on the links between war/violence, and knowledge production, discourses and ethics, with a focus on terrorism and the war on terror and the ethical challenges of conducting research on violence.
Political History, Culture and Diplomacy in Iran
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.
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.
This module introduces students to the key theories and issues concerning the dealings of nations with each other as well as the institutions of global governance that impact trade relations. This module introduces students to economic theories of trade as well as international political economy. This module will focus on relevant issues such as the rise of China and its influence on global trade, the rise of non-state actors as pressure groups, the inclusion of non-trade related topics in trade negotiations and finally the 'Brexit' trade negotiations.
The information on the programme page reflects the intended programme structure against the given academic session. Please read the important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules.
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.
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
|Substantive module||16 weeks|
|Reading weeks||2 weeks|
|Research mini module||8 weeks|
|Reading weeks||2 weeks|
Each module is assessed by five written online assessments (‘etivities’*) comprising of 30%, the remaining 70% is formed of a 5,000 word essay.The etivities provide formative and summative feedback to students as a means of monitoring their progress and encouraging areas in which they can improve.
* 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.)
Research Training and Dissertation
Research training is a key feature of this programme, the dissertation module is presented in four development parts, which will follow each of your module sessions. Research modules one and three are formative modules only, and are not assessed.
The dissertation is assessed by the submission of a written dissertation of no more than 15,000 words, excluding the bibliography and appendices, which will account for 85% of the mark awarded for the module (research module four). The remaining 15% of the module mark will be based on the mark obtained for a 1,500 word research proposal (research module two).
The research proposal is compulsory for students going on to do a PGDip or MA; MA students must submit a dissertation at the end of research module four.
Fees and funding
|£12,000||See below||See below|
PG Dip and PG Cert are available as exit awards and interested students should be in touch directly with the course team at firstname.lastname@example.org
Note this is a new fee structure, students will continue their programme on the same fee structure throughout.
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 pay for modules prior to enrolment (£3,000).
If you have been a resident in England for 3 years you may be eligible. For more information, please see Fees and Finance..
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.
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.
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 2018 for a 16 October 2018 start
- 31 March 2019 for a 16 April 2019 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:
Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy
SOAS University of London
Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square
London, WC1H 0XG
Find out more
- 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.
CISD distance learning applications should be made through our online application form.