MSc in International Diplomacy and the Digital State


Program Description

Recent advances in the globalisation of communications technology - particularly the Internet, direct broadcast satellites and telecommunications have mutated the world in which traditional diplomacy was conceived and developed.

Social Media including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube have a tremendous impact. US President Donald Trump utilises Twitter on a daily basis to comment on national events in the US and international events in other parts of the world. Making the situation even more complex is the phenomena of "fake news” - where false reports are tweeted and retweeted globally to the extent that many find it difficult to distinguish what is factual from what is totally false.

While globalisation had provided an ethos and the context, it is the tragic events of 9/11, the subsequent fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen and the proliferation of violent non-state actors, as well as the proliferation of immigrants which together have prompted the vital need to identify a new form of diplomacy.

GCU London’s International Diplomacy Programmes are designed to address the growing global market needs in the areas of diplomacy, international business, international security and international communication. The development of appropriate understanding and acquisition of relevant skills in these areas have become essential for the effective management of international interaction at public and private levels alike.


Pixabay / Pexels

What you will study

The MSc International Diplomacy and the Digital State will give students the background, create discussion, and lead participants to formulate a plan to work in the world as it exists today.

Course structure

Diplomacy, Practice, Procedures and Dynamics I

Introductory module into the sphere of diplomacy. Students will explore the evolution of the international system and the relevance of diplomats and diplomatic services for the 21st-century agenda. Students will also understand the essentials of modern diplomatic needs and practice, and the skills and knowledge required for the formation of the international diplomat.

Diplomacy, Practice, Procedures and Dynamics II

Building on the Diplomacy: Practice, Procedures and Dynamics I module, Diplomacy: Practice, Procedures and Dynamics II deepens the conceptual understanding of international diplomacy. Themes explored will be linked to and reflect Diplomacy: Practice, Procedures and Dynamics I content, however the focus shifts away from understanding its contexts and applied practical diplomatic skills towards frameworks and conceptual models as well as organisational roles and dynamics rather than individual responses and interactions.

Cross-Cultural Communication: Projection and Perception

Developing an understanding of cross-cultural communications and related constructs and theories, students will critically appraise appropriate perspectives and mechanisms in evaluating misunderstanding, tension, or conflict arising from misperception or misrepresentation by the contending parties or the cultures they represent.

Digital Nation-State: Strategies and Implementation

Introduction to the emerging concept of the digital state and open government and developing a critical awareness of its potential, structures and dynamics, as well as its expanding role in international politics, economics and diplomacy together with the challenges faced, the changes it is brought to society and the relationship between state and citizen and between nations.

Economic Diplomacy

Economic diplomacy, business diplomacy and commercial diplomacy are new phrases which have become essential components of the diplomatic repertoire. Students will develop an understanding of economic diplomacy, its concepts and dynamics and be able to evaluate the interaction of the business community and government, consequences and role of the UN Global Compact.

Introduction to Research Methods

An introduction to a range of research approaches to critical inquiry, relevant to students’ field of study. The module will introduce students to knowledge and skills on how to: formulate research questions, plan a research project, collect data, analyse data and write a research report. Students will learn how to compare and contrast different research paradigms, to enable them to choose appropriate methodologies and methods in order to address a particular research question. They will also consider related practical, ethical and philosophical issues when developing and conducting research.

Research Project

The final element of the programme is the Research Project, which provides you with an opportunity to design and undertake a piece of original research in a relevant area of diplomacy which could become the starting point of your career in international diplomacy.

Option Modules

Two modules from the following list will run each year based on the cohort preference.

Strategic Public Diplomacy

Students will understand the theory of aspects of public diplomacy for example in “soft power”, image projection and shaping a nation’s identity abroad, as well as develop plan strategies, develop techniques and acquire skills necessary for the promotion of effective public diplomacy. Students will also be able to evaluate the effectiveness of reputation management tools, techniques, strategies and assets for use abroad and in cultivating the domestic constituency.

International Protocol and Etiquette

This module will look at the evolution of protocol and etiquette, the reasons which have led to the central role played by this activity in the management of relations between states as well as issues of precedence and dress code in diplomacy. Students will also cover a number of subjects ranging from state visits to private visits of heads of state, formal to informal correspondence, hosting an international conference to hosting an international sports event.

Media Concepts, Strategies and Diplomacy

Students will critically evaluate the theoretical and analytical perspectives of media relations, their impact on diplomatic practice and the conduct of international relations as well as analyse complex issues in media relations and select and implement the most applicable strategies to optimise performance and success. Students will also develop an awareness of the relationship between diplomatic missions and the media as well as the impact of social media on public diplomacy.

Global Tolerance and Peace Studies

This module will enable students to examine the concepts and context of a culture of tolerance among peoples and among nations including the global adoption of soft power policy. Throughout the world, nations state that they seek security and peace for all human beings. Despite these stated intentions and efforts to prevent international and regional disputes and conflicts, the international community has witnessed a steady increase in international and regional conflicts. As a result, there will be an examination of the process of conflict resolution and more training in the whole range of conflict resolution skills such as mediation.

Graduate success

On graduating from this programme, you will join the group of GCU London alumni, many of whom occupy a global presence, at senior level, in the private, public and third sector.

Typically, graduates of this programme will be equipped with the advanced skills and expertise in order to pursue a career as a trained specialist in diplomacy, international and communication and other associated roles within international affairs, whether working for a national foreign ministry, an international organisation, an NGO, or any other body or organisation that works globally.

Graduates will also have the opportunity to enhance their knowledge and career prospects further by undertaking a PhD programme.

Student experience

GCU London is based in one of the most vibrant and cosmopolitan cities in the world. It has the best of every culture, every interest and hobby and every art form on your doorstep. Best of all, GCU London is based in one of the most exciting and up-and-coming areas in London; Spitalfields, home of the legendary Brick Lane, Old Spitalfields, Petticoat Lane Markets and much more.

GCU London provides students with an enriching and diverse learning experience underpinned by a vibrant international, intellectual and cultural life. We attract students from over 56 countries, from a range of backgrounds from all corners of the world. The campus offers a unique range of MBA and MSc courses, high-quality teaching and links with international businesses.


Our London campus provides you with a leading-edge learning environment and offers modern teaching space for lectures, small-group study and social learning. Situated in an ultra-modern environment in the heart of Spitalfields, located in the fashion and finance capital of London, this professional postgraduate university campus draws on high-quality teaching and industry partnerships around the globe.

Cost & Fees

The tuition fees you pay are mostly determined by your fee status.

Nationality Annual tuition fees (Full-time) Average annual tuition fees (Part-time)
UK (including Scotland) and Europe £8700 For details, please make an enquiry today
International (outside Europe) £13500 For details, please make an enquiry today

Entry Requirements

All entry requirements listed here represent the requirements for entry to the programme that is normally sought. The Admissions Team may assess additional evidence to assess your eligibility, however, depending on your full academic/employment background.

Typical Entry Requirements

UK Honours degree 2:2 (or equivalent).

English Language

Academic IELTS score 6.0 (or equivalent) with no element below 5.5.

Other academic and vocational qualifications

Each application to GCU is considered on an individual basis. If you do not have the typical academic entry qualifications, but can demonstrate relevant work experience and/or credits from recognised professional bodies, you may be eligible to enter this course via the University's Recognition of Prior Learning scheme.

International pathways

International students who do not meet the academic requirements may be eligible for the Pre-Masters programme at INTO Glasgow at our Glasgow campus. Successful completion of this INTO course with the required grades means guaranteed conditional offer of a place on the degree programme at GCU London.

If you do not meet the English language requirements, you may be eligible for our pre-sessional English programme which is taught at our London campus.

Last updated Feb 2020

Keystone Scholarship

Discover the options our scholarship can give you

About the School

GCU London is a professional postgraduate university campus of Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU), located in an ultra-modern environment in the heart of London. Situated in Spitalfields, one of Lond ... Read More

GCU London is a professional postgraduate university campus of Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU), located in an ultra-modern environment in the heart of London. Situated in Spitalfields, one of London’s most attractive locations, GCU London is in proximity to the capitals globally recognised financial and fashion industries. The campus offers a range of MBA and courses, high quality teaching and links with international businesses. GCU London provides students with an enriching and diverse learning experience underpinned by a vibrant international, intellectual and cultural life. We attract students from over 56 countries, from a range of backgrounds from all corners of the world. Read less