MA International Studies and Diplomacy

SOAS University of London

Program Description

MA International Studies and Diplomacy

SOAS University of London

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).

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 modules to meet their specific professional needs and personal interests.

Students on this course will have the opportunity to participate in CISD's Study Tour of Geneva.

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.


Students take taught modules 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 modules as the MA, excluding the dissertation.

A). International Studies and Diplomacy Modules

  • General Diplomatic Studies and Practice
  • International Politics of Transitional Justice
  • International Relations 1; Foundations of World Politics
  • International Relations 2; Contemporary World Politics
  • International Law 1; Foundation
  • International Economics
  • International Security
  • Sport and Diplomacy: "More than a Game"
  • History and Future of the United Nations
  • Global Advocacy

B). Additional modules available within CISD

  • Energy Policy in the Asia-Pacific
  • Global Energy and Climate Policy
  • Multinational Enterprises in a Globalising world – Economic and Legal Perspectives

C). Electives

Please note that acceptance onto an elective module 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 modules (1.0)

  • China and International Politics
  • Chinese Commercial Law
  • Comparative Politics of the Middle East
  • Economic Development of South East Asia
  • Economic Dynamics of the Asia-Pacific Region
  • Economic Problems and Policies in Modern China
  • Government and Politics in Africa
  • Government and Politics of Modern South Asia
  • Government and Politics of Modern South East Asia
  • International Politics of East Asia
  • Modern Chinese Law and Human Rights
  • State and Society in the Chinese Political Process
  • Taiwan's Politics and Cross-Strait Relations
  • Theory, Policy and Practice of Development

Half-Unit modules (0.5)

  • Economic Development of Modern Taiwan
  • International Political Communication
  • Japanese Modernity I
  • Japanese Modernity II
  • Power in World Politics
  • The Making of the Contemporary World
  • The Transnational News Environment: Production, Representation and Use
  • Topics in the Chinese Economy

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

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

This school offers programs in:
  • English

Last updated September 2, 2016
Duration & Price
This course is Campus based
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Sept. 2016
1 - 3 years
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Full time
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Start date Sept. 2016
United Kingdom London, England
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Duration 1 - 3 years
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