SOAS University of London

Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy

MA/PGDip International Studies and Diplomacy (2021 entry)

Select year of entry: 2022 2021

  • Structure
  • Teaching and Learning


Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings

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 modules to meet their specific professional needs and personal interests.

Students on the MA ISD may have the opportunity to participate in CISD's Study Tour of Geneva, although this is in addition to the Programme of study and cannot be guaranteed.

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 module 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.

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Alexandra Abdelwahab, MA/PGDip International Studies and Diplomacy Student Profile


Phone: +44 (0)20 7898 4840

Entry requirements

  • We will consider all applications with 2:ii (or international equivalent) or higher. In addition to degree classification we take into account other elements of the application including supporting statement and references.

Featured events

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



Students take taught modules to the value of 120 credits PLUS a 15,000 word dissertation (15PFFC999) worth 60 credits. 

Credits must be taken in the following combination; 

• Dissertation (15PFFC999) (60 credits) – compulsory
• General Diplomatic Studies (15PFFH014) (15 credits) AND Diplomatic Practice (15PFFH013) (15 credits) - compulsory
• A minimum of 45 credits from List B
• A maximum of 45 credits from List C OR from Postgraduate Open Options



Module Code Credits Term
Dissertation MA International Studies and Diplomacy 15PFFC999 60 Full Year

Taught Component


Module Code Credits Term
Diplomatic Practice 15PFFH013 15
General Diplomatic Studies 15PFFH014 15 Term 1
List B - a minimum of 45 credits
Module Code Credits Term
International Economics 15PFFC004 30 Full Year
International Security 15PFFC016 30 Full Year
History and Future of the United Nations 15PFFC031 30 Term 1
International Relations 1: Foundations of World Politics 15PFFH002 15 Term 1
Global Advocacy 15PFFH012 15 Term 1
Foundations of International Law 15PLAH021 15 Term 1
Sport and Diplomacy: More than a Game 15PFFC032 30 Term 2
International Relations 2: Contemporary World Politics 15PFFH003 15 Term 2
List C – a maximum of 45 credits
Module Code Credits Term
Global Energy & Climate Policy 15PFFC017 30 Full Year
Theory, policy and practice of development 15PDSC001 30 Full Year
Global Public Policy 15PFFH004 30 Term 1
Risk and Policy Analysis 15PFFH007 15 Term 2
China and World Development 15PECH023 15 Term 2
International Political Communication 15PMSH009 15 Term 2

Or module(s) from Postgraduate Open Options to the value of 45 credits


Programme Specification

Important notice

The information on the programme page reflects the intended programme structure against the given academic session. If you are a current student you can find structure information on the previous year link at the top of the page or through your Department. Please read the important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules.

Teaching and 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 modules 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 modules 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 modules (between evening and daytime slots) so that part-time students will have access to as many modules 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 module taken. Practical exercises may take place at weekends.

Teaching includes
  • Wide range of modules: 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 module 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

Find out more