MSc in International Security and Diplomacy


Program Description

Delivered with an equal measure of art and science, the MSc International Security and Diplomacy is a non-violent approach to the management of international relations and global issues which seeks to resolve conflict through discussion, negotiation and partnership.

International relations increasingly practised by a wide variety of actors, ranging from government officials to opinion-leaders from universities and the media to corporate and NGO representatives. In the compressed, accelerated, information-saturated precincts of the early 21st century, it is imperative to master the tools of public relations, advocacy, lobbying and strategic communications. The diplomats' brief is unambiguous: to advance or defend their country's political and economic place in the world by the most effective means. That is the purpose and the essence of diplomacy. In the MSc International Security and Diplomacy programme, an overview will be presented of deterrence, operative security and alliances which will include discussion of nuclear weapons and proliferation. The challenges of conflict prevention, management, and resolution, as well as the complexities of peace, will also be a core focus of the course.

The aim of the MSc International Security and Diplomacy is to provide the necessary background information, develop skills and rehearse various potential scenarios so that they will be equipped to be representatives in the complex global situation today and beyond. The master's programme is designed for graduates of any discipline who want to pursue a career in international diplomacy and want to gain specialist knowledge of security – science, technology but also in defence and civil-military. This programme is equally suitable for diplomats and other government officials to increase their awareness of concepts of international security and the emerging global terrorist threats.

Glasgow Caledonian University 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.

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What you will study

Study the International Security and Diplomacy masters and develop the skills and attributes needed to pursue a career in international diplomacy. You will gain the specialist insight required to succeed in security, defence, civil-military and government. This master will increase your understanding of international security and the emerging global terrorist threats; essential for those involved in any political interaction on the global stage.

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.

International security

The module looks at the contested security agenda distinguishing between continuing, changing and emerging unforeseen security issues/problems. It is essential in security to distinguish and understand the complete range of military/ non-military factors that can contribute to the origins/ causes of violent conflicts. Emerging security issue/problem of the geopolitics cyberspace/cybersecurity and the threats posed by the interplay and conflicting ambitions of the major players (the seven sisters) will also be considered.

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.

Defence diplomacy and civil-military relationship

Students will understand defence diplomacy as an emerging paradigm in the conduct of international relations and its role as an effective tool to attain political influence without resorting to the threat or use of violence and examine the ways in which these tools can be applied in order to attain influence by contributing to prevention. Students will also be able to understand the new constellation of threats in the transformed international security environment as well as management of asymmetrical relationships and conflicts including in the context of disarmament and non-proliferation.

Science diplomacy and international policy

In the globalisation era, many of the most profound challenges which imperil the planet - climate change, public health, food security and resource scarcity, to name a few - are rooted in science and driven by technology. Moreover, underdevelopment and human insecurity, far more than religious extremism or political violence, represent fundamental threats to world order. In this context, science diplomacy, and the capability to generate, absorb and use science and technology (S&T) should play a crucial role in resolving differences, reducing inequality and improving security and development prospects.

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 security and communication and other associated roles within international security, whether working for a national foreign ministry, supranational organisations but also in NGO and private sector organisations that work 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 October 2019

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